Moving? Changes to Quebec co-ownership rules

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Posted on 
June 28, 2021
Written by 
Barbara McClintock (About the author) , MA, C. Tr.

Are you moving into a condo for the first time? July 1 is Quebec’s official moving day. The main advantages are that July 1 is a statutory holiday and that the kids are out of school. The main disadvantage is that you have to book a moving van way in advance! Further to my last post on condo terminology, a reader sent the Our Languages blog some questions about the translation of a few condo-related terms, which you’ll find in a table at the end of this post. To answer these questions, I need to explain some legal concepts.

Review

Before we jump in, here’s a little refresher. In Quebec, the legal term for “condo” is “co-ownership” (in French, copropriété). The owner of a condo unit is therefore referred to as a “co-owner” (copropriétaire). And the condo association or homeowners’ association is known as a syndicate (syndicat).

Insurance of common and private portions

Co-ownerships are governed by the Civil Code of Québec (CCQ), but the rules were recently changed by Bill 141, which amended the syndicate’s insurance obligations, among other things. A syndicate of co-ownership is required to take out insurance for ordinary risks for an amount equal to the building’s replacement cost, which used to be referred to as the “replacement cost of the immovable.” However, on April 15, 2021, article 1073 CCQ was changed to read “The amount insured must cover the reconstruction of the immovable.” In French, valeur à neuf de l’immeuble was replaced with pourvoir à la reconstruction de l’immeuble.

All syndicates must set up a self-insurance fund (fonds d’auto assurance) to cover insurance costs by April 2022 under CCQ 1071.1, but several insurance policies (polices d’assurance) are needed. Co-owners need insurance for their private portions (parties privatives), which are the portions of the building and land that are owned by a co-owner and are for their exclusive use. The syndicate’s board of directors must take out third party liability insurance (assurance de responsabilité civile) for the common portions (parties communes), which are the portions of the building and land that are owned by all the co-owners and are in common use.

Insurance for water damage and other claims

Under article 1070 CCQ, co-ownership syndicates must keep a record of the descriptions of the co-owners’ private portions in the co-ownership register (registre de la copropriété). This record must be sufficiently detailed to identify any improvements made by past or present co-owners. The description covers the reference unit (unité de référence), which is the term for a standard unit in a co-ownership. The description also covers modifications and additions made by the developer or the co-owners. It’s up to every co-owner to inform their insurance company of any improvements or changes to their property. The most significant change is that, if there’s a claim made for water damage involving a condo or part of the building, the syndicate’s insurance is the primary insurance (assurance en première ligne).

Funds to cover general costs, insurance and contingencies

The syndicate establishes a contingency fund (fonds de prévoyance), according to the estimated cost of major repairs and the cost of replacement of common portions, to be used exclusively for such repairs and replacements. In addition to setting up a contingency fund and a general fund (fonds d’administration) for general costs, the syndicate must now set up a self-insurance fund. The “liquid” self-insurance fund (available in cash) will soon be mandatory for all co-ownerships in Quebec. It is to be used to pay the deductibles (franchises) provided for by the insurance taken out by the syndicate in the event of a loss. The legislative changes are intended to make sure that all condo owners are protected by insurance and that condo buildings are properly maintained.

Terminology used in this post
English terms French equivalents
common portion partie commune
contingency fund fonds de prévoyance; fonds pour éventualité
co-owner copropriétaire
co-ownership copropriété
co-ownership register registre de la copropriété
deductible franchise
general fund fonds d’administration
insurance policy police d’assurance
primary insurance assurance en première ligne
private portion partie privative
reference unit unité de référence
reconstruction of the immovable reconstruction de l’immeuble
self-insurance fund fonds d’auto assurance
syndicate (in Quebec); condo association, owners’ association or condominium homeowners’ association (in the rest of Canada) syndicat
third party liability insurance assurance de responsabilité civile

For more information, see these posts on condo terminology on the Our Languages blog: “Condo Terminology for Those Who Dream of Buying a Condo” (October 9, 2018) and “Condo Dreaming in Quebec” (April 15, 2019).

Happy moving day!

Disclaimer

The opinions expressed in posts and comments published on the Our Languages blog are solely those of the authors and commenters and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Language Portal of Canada.

About the author

Barbara McClintock

Barbara, who holds a master’s degree in translation, has been a certified translator from French to English in the public and private sectors for over 15 years. Barbara currently works for the Translation Bureau and is a frequent contributor to Circuit, the magazine of the Ordre des traducteurs, terminologues et interprètes agréés du Québec.

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