Rules pertaining to co-ownership consist of a mixed regime of individual and collective proprietary rights.[1] The main characteristic of divided co-ownership is that the right of ownership is apportioned among the co-owners in fractions, each comprising a physically divided private portion and a share of the common portions.[2] Ownership of the property is therefore divided and allocated to one or several persons. Its most common manifestation takes the form of condominiums.

Co-owners must exercise their individual proprietary rights in a collective framework. One’s rights are therefore limited by the rights of another.

Each co-owner is entitled to free use and enjoyment of their private portions and of the common portions, provided they comply with the by-laws of the building and does not impair the rights of other co-owners such as rights of enjoyment and the destination of the building.[3]

I. Private portion

By virtue of their deed of sale, co-owners become proprietor of a private portion of a building which they have exclusive usage.[4]

Private portions include interior arrangements and decorations, flooring, walls and ceiling covering.[5] These private distinct portions will be assigned a relative value, a cadastral designation and a determined number of votes in proportion to the relative value of the fraction, in addition to a required contribution for the common expenses.[6]

The deed of sale may suggest a discrepancy in size from the unit advertised by the promotor of the building. A recent decision from the Superior Court of Québec outlined this discrepancy and held that co-owners have a right to pay for the actual size of the unit rather than the estimated square footage advertised.[7] Consequently, one would want to ensure that the buyer/co-owner pays the real value of the property rather than the advertised price.

II. Common portion

Common portions are fractions of the building which are for the benefit of all co-owners. These portions are the shared responsibility of all co-owners. However, a co-owner may reserve the right of exclusive usage of a common portion if provided for by the declaration of co-ownership.[8]

The structure of the building, the main foyer, halls between the walls of each private portions, balconies, elevators and certain portions of parking spaces are presumed to be part of the common portions of a building.[9]

II.I Common Expenses

Co-owners are also responsible for the common expenses which are the results of the overall charges and expenses arising from co-ownership, the operation of the building and the contingency fund established for the repairs and replacement of common portions which are shared amongst all co-owners of the building.[10]

Examples of common expenses include:[11]

  • Current expenses relating to the building;
  • Remuneration of administrators;
  • Maintenance and administration of the building; and

Co-owners may also be subject to annual increase in fees concerning their share of common expenses or special assessments that may increase co-ownership fees.

Common expenses are agreed upon at the general meeting of the co-owners through the exercise of voting rights.

A failure to contribute to the common expenses could bring about judicial sanctions.

[1] Civil Code of Québec, CQLR c CCQ-1991 (CCQ) Art. 1010.

[2] Ibid.

[3] C.C.Q. Art. 1063.

[4] C.C.Q. Art. 1042.

[5] Rehmat v. Montazami, 2013 QCCS 1745 at para 56.

[6] C.C.Q. Art. 1069.

[7] Gagné et al. v. 6983499 Canada Inc. et al., 2017 QCCS 1721.

[8] C.C.Q. Art. 1043.

[9] C.C.Q. Art. 1044.

[10] C.C.Q. Art. 1069.

[11] C.C.Q. Art. 1039; 1084.

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The above noted text should not be construed as providing legal advice or a statement of your claim. The process highlighted above are merely parameters and barometers and do not constitute any warranties and guaranties with regards to your file at hand. We strongly recommend that you seek legal advice with a licensed attorney from the Barreau du Quebec or a notary at the Chambre des Notaires. Each case must be seen and analysed on its merits as the legal process may be complex and cumbersome.

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