All you need to know about the declaration of co-ownership
Becoming a homeowner is never a decision to be taken lightly, especially if you decide to live in a condominium. To make an informed decision, a declaration of co-ownership is essential.
Co-owners are also responsible for the building they live in. With several co-owners, the risk of potential conflicts increases dramatically if one or more of these residents fails to live up to their responsibilities.
To avoid these neighbourhood disputes, it is important to review all available documents before closing a real estate transaction. The declaration of co-ownership is one of those crucial documents. It helps potential buyers understand their future responsibilities and ensure that the property they are interested in meets their expectations.
This article will focus on the characteristics of the declaration of co-ownership: the information it contains, the people who must comply with it, the consequences of non-compliance, etc. This document will no longer be a mystery to you!
What is the purpose of a declaration of co-ownership?
The declaration of co-ownership is a notarized document that serves as a contract between the various co-owners of a building. It is published in the land registry and establishes the rules for the management and common life of the property. In particular, it establishes:
- The rules governing the operation and management of the building;
- The rights, duties and restrictions of the residents.
This document promotes good understanding between the multiple owners of the building, since all the residents, as well as the syndicate (condo association), must respect the clauses written in the co-ownership contract. Failure to comply with any of these obligations may have consequences (more or less severe, depending on the case).
Once the declaration of co-ownership has been drawn up, it can be modified by the general assembly of the condominium. Depending on the desired modification, the law provides for several possible scenarios.
What information does this document contain?
As provided by the Civil Code since 1994, a declaration of co-ownership must be divided into three distinct sections: the constituting act of co-ownership, the by-laws of the building and the description of the fractions.
1. Constituting act of co-ownership
This first section explains all the important elements you need to know to understand co-ownership. It includes the following elements:
- The purpose of the building, the private units and the common areas (residential, commercial or mixed-use);
- The number of votes at the meeting of co-owners;
- The relative value of the shares and the method used to determine it;
- The shares expenses for the property;
- The distribution of powers and duties between the condo board and the general meeting of co-owners (in accordance with the law);
- The decisions relating to building insurance.
2. By-laws of the building
This second part contains information on the rules to be observed daily by the various owners and occupants. It mainly concerns the conditions of use and maintenance of the common areas, but also of the private areas.
The use of private areas is also regulated. Even if you own your apartment, you can't do as you please. For example, it may be forbidden to do certain types of work, to have animals, to have a barbecue on the balcony, and so on.
This section also includes the rules governing the appointment of directors, the holding of meetings of the board of directors and the general meeting of the unit owners.
3. Description of the fractions
This third section of the declaration of co-ownership identifies each private and common lot by its cadastral number.
It also contains a description of any encumbrances affecting the building, such as the existence of easements.
Who must enforce the declaration of co-ownership?
The rules contained in the declaration of co-ownership must be respected by each of the owners and tenants of the building, as well as by the members of the syndicate of the condo that protects the collective interests of the co-owners. The condo board is responsible for ensuring that all members and co-owners comply with the rules.
In the event of non-compliance with the declaration, the board can take various measures to try to rectify the situation.
What are the consequences of non-compliance?
In the event of non-compliance with the co-ownership agreement, the board may take various measures, depending on the seriousness of the situation. It can:
- Issue notices;
- Request mediation or arbitration;
- Prepare a formal notice through the syndicate's lawyer;
- Impose penalties;
- Take legal action if other means fail.
Note that most declarations of co-ownership include a penalty clause to punish those who fail to comply with the declaration. In the most serious cases, the managing agents can terminate a tenant's lease or apply to the court for an injunction.
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