The syndicate of co-ownership

It is article 1039 of the Civil Code which has as its object to create the syndicate, a legal person, in these terms:

“1039. Upon the publication of the declaration of co-ownership, the co-owners as a body constitute a legal person, the objects of which are the preservation of the immovable, the maintenance and administration of the common portions, the protection of the rights appurtenant to the immovable or the co-ownership, as well as all business in the common interest. The legal person must, in particular, see to it that the work necessary for the preservation and maintenance of the immovable is carried out.

The legal person is called a syndicate.”

It should therefore be noted that the said legal person owes its creation to the Civil Code of Québec and is therefore not governed by the Companies Act, especially for reasons of convenience.

Obviously, as it is its role, the Syndicate has a legal personality and can sue and be sued for the community.

So, what are the obligations of the Syndicate?

Firstly, according to article 1070 of the Civil Code, it must keep a register containing the name and address of each co-owner and each tenant, the minutes of the meetings of the co-owners and of the board of directors, as well as the financial statements, at the disposal of the co-owners.

The syndicate also keeps at the disposal of the co-owners the declaration of co-ownership, copies of the contracts binding the syndicate, a copy of the cadastral plan, the plans and specifications of the immovable and all other relevant documents.

According to the new provisions, the Syndicate will have to establish a maintenance logbook for the immovable, which will have to be kept up to date.

Secondly, as mentioned above, the Law confers on the Syndicat the mandate to represent the co-owners according to the terms of article 1081 of the Civil Code:

“1081. The syndicate may institute any action on the grounds of latent defects, faulty design or construction defects of the immovable or defects in the ground. In a case where the faults or defects affect the private portions, the syndicate may not proceed until it has obtained the authorization of the co-owners of those portions.
Where the defendant sets up the failure to act with diligence against an action based on a latent defect, such diligence is appraised in respect of the syndicate or a co-owner from the day of the election of a new board of directors, after the developer loses control of the syndicate.”

In the same way, the Syndicate also has the mission of enforcing the declaration of co-ownership, as well as the rules of the building, if necessary.

Furthermore, through article 1077 of the Civil Code, the Syndicate is responsible for damages caused to co-owners by faulty design, construction defects or lack of maintenance of the common areas.

Finally, as a corollary to its obligations, the Syndicate must collect charges and dues from the co-owners. To do so, the syndicate has the power to register a legal hypothec in the event that a co-owner fails to meet his obligation to contribute.

Of course, the above summary is only suppletive and the Declaration of Co-ownership, which is the law of the parties, generally contains more details and clarifications.
For more information, do not hesitate to consult us.