Co-ownership law

For the great happiness of most people, the summer season is finally present! Thus, this seasonal arrival brings with it several elements which we had almost forgotten the existence: the sun, holidays and the joy of spending time outside. This sudden impression of freedom brings with it a lot of inconveniences, especially when people live in condominiums. Although people live in a divided condominium are usually conscientious about their environment, either by the habit of living in a community or simply because of the provisions laid down in the Declaration of Condominiums, however, there are still problems that may arise, forcing the union’s directors to intervene to ensure collective harmony.

The respect of the rules

First, it must be remembered that the duty to comply with all the provisions of the declaration of co-ownership and the various regulations that have been adopted over the years by the co-ownership must be followed by everyone. Thus, it is as much the co-owners as their tenants who are held to respect all the regulations of the building. The co-owner always receives a copy of the declaration when he carries out his real estate transaction before the notary, while the other by-laws remain accessible at all times in the register of the co-ownership.

For tenants or other occupants, the Quebec Civil Code provides that the by-laws are binding on them as soon as a copy of the by-laws is given to them, either by the co-owner or, failing that, the Syndicate.

As well, all other people with access to the condo unit (family, guests, customer or others) are equally required to follow the regulations in force and to do nothing that could disturb the tranquility of the building property and other occupants. Failing this, the co-owner can be held responsible for their actions if the actions have damaging consequences.

Summer Nuisances

Among the troubles that we often find during the summer, we allow ourselves to submit the following nuisances:

  • the work undertaken by a co-owner;
  • the use of balconies; as well as
  • people moving in or out.

Work Undertaken by a Co-owner

The mere act of doing exterior work for a co-owner does not necessarily imply anything major. Thus, this work can vary between the construction of a shed, the extension of the deck or even the installation of an air conditioner on an outside wall.

Regardless of the qualification or the duration of the work, it must always be remembered that work with implications for the common elements is governed by the declaration of co-ownership and, failing having obtained the authorizations required by the syndicate or co-owners the co-owner may be required to restore the affected part to its original condition.

It should be known that this precaution is also valid for the work in the privative part. The co-owner must therefore act with caution before signing any contract with a contractor for the execution of work.

Use of the Balconies

The use of balconies is another source of trouble that is often found during the summer. This use, usually forgotten during the winter, can quickly cause problems for neighbors as well as co-ownership.

It must first be remembered that the balcony is mostly a common part for limited use and that, therefore, the conditions related to its use are found in the declaration of co-ownership. In particular, there is usually a list of objects that are not allowed on the balcony. It is important to strictly follow the prohibitions as well as any other regulations subsequently adopted.

Items that are often banned include an awning and/or screen, a clothesline, a clothes rack, patio furniture and a barbecue. If a ban exists regarding one of these objects, it is important for the Syndicate to enforce the rules diligently because, failing that, the co-ownership risks that a training effect causes the multiplication of the objects being banned among the co-owners

People moving in and Out

Finally, moving is also a major cause of stress when the summer season arrives, especially during the national day of moving: July 1st. To control this coming and going, we strongly encourage administrators to adopt regulations for moving out and moving in in order to prevent any form of damage to the traffic associated with the entry and exit of new occupants.

Thus, the regulation will usually affect the following points: the schedule (day and time slot), the presence on the spot of a responsible person (administrator or safety officer) who will oversee the progress of the move and the use of the elevator, the delivery of a deposit to prevent any form of damage and to pay the costs for the supervisor, as well as the permitted location where the moving truck can park.

As we explained earlier, when directors have an obligation to personally or through a hired person to ensure the smooth completion of a move, they must assume the entire management to ensure that everything is in order. If the administrators are used to follow-up themselves, but their vacations prevent them from being on the spot, they will have to hire a person to do the required work, who can check that everything is going according to the rules. .


The responsibility related to the application to the declaration of co-ownership and the regulations in force is therefore a common responsibility which all the occupants of the building have their role to play.

The co-owners are primarily responsible for complying with the regulations in force because this choice of community life implies an exemplary obedience to the regulations to avoid any problems.

By the same token, the co-owner must certainly notify all persons that he allows access to his private portion and to the common areas that failing to comply with the rules in place; he will no longer allow them access to his premises and building.

Lastly, the directors are also required to take all the necessary steps to stop any failure to comply with the provisions of the declaration of co-ownership.

If everyone acts according to the law and the regulations, we will be able to appreciate the summer as it should be.