In the middle of 2019, a new Bill 16 was introduced by the Quebec Government and subsequently came into effect as law in January of this year. This new law relates to the sale of residential properties and most notably, to divided co-ownership. Its aim is to provide for an improved framework for condo owners by amending several articles to the Civil Code of Quebec. The new law in Quebec impacts condo owners in a significant way in the province. We break those down in this post.
The new law accomplishes many things relating to condos and has widely been seen as a positive development. The most notable are as follows:
- Establishes a framework to improve communication and transparency between the board of directors and owners.
- Require owners to create a contingency fund and conduct a study every five years in order to ensure the health of the fund.
- Greater protection for the purchase amounts paid by owners to condo developers.
The improvements in communication/transparency along with more sophisticated financial plans have been set in place to protect condo owners as the province acknowledges the boom in condos in the province.
Communication and Transparency
The new law places the burden on condo boards to maintain a more structured communication with all of its owners. This new communication framework will require improved record-keeping and access to documents. Here are some of the highlights:
- Register of owners' information: The syndicate will be required to maintain a register containing the names and mailing addresses of all owners, lessee and borrowers. In turn, the owners will have access to consult such register upon request.
- Register of official documents: Official documents pertaining to the syndicate must also be maintained and accessible. This includes minutes of meetings of the owners' and board meetings, resolutions, by-laws and financial statements. Other documents that are subject to this requirement are declaration of co-ownership, contracts with vendors, cadastral plan, maintenance logs, contingency fund studies and others.
- Notification to owners of decisions: The board of directors are now required to within 30 days of a meeting to notify owners of meetings held by the board and resolutions passed. If there is a decision that an owner wants to contest, they have the right to do so by applying to the court.
Much like in other provinces, the new law has made it mandatory for syndicates to maintain a contingency fund in order to have a float for unplanned and unforeseen expenses. These expenses include such things as building repairs and work on common areas or emergencies.
There are some conditions for the contingency in order for it to be liquid and be accessible in a short period of time.
Another important aspect of the fund is that every five years, a study be undertaken in order to verify and ensure that the fund is in a healthy position. The studies are conducted by a member of a professional governing body.
Owners will in theory, no longer stay out of the loop. From now on, the board of directors are required to take measures to increase the transparency with owners of the condo's finances. Not only are important information about the syndicate to be communicated in due time to owners, the documentation and records must be maintained and accessible for owners.
Technological Requirements Under the New Law
While the law does not explicitly require syndicates to use technology to adhere to all of the changes, using software to comply would be the obvious thing to do. To communicate, notify and maintain registers without the use of software would be an impossible task in today's world.
Whether it is maintaining an accessible register or storing meeting minutes, by-laws and financial statements, Condo Manager happens to have been offering these features for many years to thousands of condos. We would be more than happy to discuss with you on how to comply with the Government's new law. Feel free to contact us anytime!