Co-ownership has become an increasingly more popular choice of housing. Unfortunately, this fast-growing housing segment includes many co-ownership buildings that are in poor shape. Sometimes badly built and often badly maintained, they contribute to the rise in claims that insurers have noted for several years.

The result is a tighter insurance market for co-ownership (condo) syndicates, namely through more limited coverage, as well as higher premiums and deductibles.

Some co-owners must also assume substantial costs for repairs or to insure their buildings.

For the P&C insurance industry, it is essential that the regulations governing this type of housing be revised to better protect co-owners and their assets.

Getting to know how co-ownership works

Two insurance policies are needed to make sure your condo is well protected. As a co-owner, it is important that you check what the two policies cover :

  • The syndicate’s insurance policy covers damage caused to the entire building, including your unit, with the exception of improvements. It also covers the civil liability of the   syndicate and board of directors.
  • The co-owner’s policy covers damage to your personal property and any improvements you made in your unit, your civil liability and the distribution that your syndicate may impose.

Answers that speak for themselves!

- 25% of co-owners do not know who looks after the maintenance and repairs to their building.

- 50% do not know what coverage is included in the co-ownership syndicate’s insurance policy

- 33% have never read their declaration of co-ownership, which sets out their responsibilities and those of their co-ownership syndicate

* Results of an Omnibus survey (available in French only) done in 2015


Knowing each party’s obligations

The key is knowing what are your obligations and those of your syndicate. This makes everything  clearer when settling claims. To do this, check out the :

  • Declaration of co-ownership
  • Description of the private portions *
  • Contingency fund
  • Building maintenance
  • Syndicate minutes to find out about the building’s history

Co-ownership syndicate: new obligation

Since December 13, 2018, when revisions were made to the Civil Code of Québec, your co-ownership syndicate is obliged to have a description of the private portions of a “reference unit”:

  • If your co-ownership syndicate was constituted on or after June 13, 2018, this obligation is already in effect.
  • If your co-ownership syndicate was constituted before June 13, 2018, it has until June 13, 2020 to provide this description.

Everything not included in this description will be considered an improvement made to your unit.

To find out more, see our article Divided co-ownership: understanding the description of the private portions on Infoinsurance.

Co-owner: new obligation

Effective October 15, 2020, every co-owner must have civil liability insurance. The minimum insurance coverage must be $1,000,000 for divided co-ownerships with less than 13 units (including commercial units) and $2,000,000 for divided co-ownerships of 13 units and more.

To find out more about co-ownership insurance, see our article Ready to be a co-owner? on Infoinsurance.

For better co-ownership management

IBC has proposed several solutions to ensure the life of the housing stock and address problems related to the quality of construction and lack of co-ownership building maintenance.

Continue to update the legislative framework to ensure better management of co-ownership buildings

  • Better legislate the management and maintenance carried out by syndicates
  • Review the rules governing the contingency fund
  • Standardise the declaration of co-ownership

Adapt the Code of Construction and all other standards to ensure stricter standards

  • Control standards compliance through every stage of construction
  • Clarify the responsibilities and accountability of builders and contractors
  • Extend the warranty period for new housing

In the longer term, these changes will :

  • Improve the state of the housing stock
  • Protect consumers
  • Simplify claims settlement for both consumers and syndicates
  • Improve access to insurance

Adoption of Bills 141 and 41

Bill 141 and Bill 41 were adopted in 2018 and 2020, respectively. Regulations can also refer to certain sections of the Bills. The changes made to the Civil Code of Québec and the new legislative provisions in effect have helped address some of the problems related to co-ownership insurance.

For example, these changes clarify the obligations of the syndicates, co-owners and insurers regarding certain issues, including : 

  • Common expenses
  • Syndicate’s obligation to provide a description of the private portions
  • Right of subrogation
  • Assessment in case of loss

Divided co-ownership is an ever-changing issue. IBC continues to carefully follow developments as regards the governing  legislative provisions.

IBC‘s expertise at the service of all

IBC has been working for several years with its members and various stakeholders to improve and find solutions related to co-ownership and claims settlement issues.

It has tabled briefs, made representations to and met on numerous occasions with the government: IBC is doing everything it can to advance the position of P&C insurers regarding the need for better quality of construction and more responsible management of co-ownership buildings.

At the same time, IBC has shared its expertise with its members, promoting the following activities :

  • Developing tools for its members to facilitate claims settlement for co-owner
  • Revising home insurance forms to better meet the needs of both policyholders and insurers
  • Participating in meetings with various stakeholders :
    • Legislators
    • Regulatory agencies (i.e.: Régie du bâtiment du Québec)
    • Co-ownership associations
    • Managers and co-ownership syndicates
    • Insurers
    • Builders
    • Real estate brokers
    • Notaries

Through its Insurance Information Centre, IBC assists consumers in the settlement process. It offers its expertise and impartial support to both policyholders and insurers in case of a dispute.