Facade Maintenance: Who Pays What?

by | May 22, 2018 |

Your responsibilities when it comes to property maintenance differ according to whether you are the owner, the co-owner or the tenant of that property. As a tenant, it’s important to be aware of the type of maintenance work that is your responsibility. Similarly, as an owner, it’s important to know where your responsibility for general maintenance of the building ends and where the tenant’s responsibility begins.

What work should the owner pay for and what work should the tenant pay for? What about maintenance of the building’s façade? And what guidelines apply to condominiums?

The property owner is responsible for major maintenance work

According to the Régie du logement du Québec, among the rights and obligations of the owner of a building is the obligation to “deliver the leased property in a good state of repair, habitable condition and clean condition (art.  1854, paragraph 1, art. 1910 and 1911 of the C.c.Q.).” In everyday language, this means that the property owner must make sure that the dwelling is in livable condition and must see to the regular maintenance of roofs, walls, doors, and windows to ensure the protection of these building elements from aggressive climate conditions such as extreme cold, snow, rain, humidity, and so on. In short, the leased property must not pose any risk to the safety of the occupants.

That means that a property owner is directly responsible for the maintenance of the common areas of the building. Among other things, the owner is responsible for, notably, roof and facade repair; heavy work related to electrical and plumbing systems; maintenance, repair, and replacement of the heating system; repair and replacement of water heaters; maintaining elevators and staircases up to code; maintenance of any multi-storey parking garages; maintenance of the fire alarm system, water cooling towers, and backflow prevention mechanisms.

The tenant is responsible for routine maintenance work

The tenant of a property is also subject to certain obligations. Again, according to the Régie du logement, among the rights and obligations of the tenant are the obligations “to use the dwelling with prudence and diligence (art. 1855 of the C.c.Q.);” to “maintain the dwelling in clean condition (art. 1911 of the C.c.Q.);” and “to respect the laws pertaining to the safety and sanitation of the dwelling (art. 1912 of the C.c.Q.).” Generally, tenant obligations can be summed up as a duty to carry out routine maintenance of the leased property. This means that tenants are responsible for any minor repair work related to their use of the premises.

Who is responsible for facade maintenance?

According to the Régie du bâtiment du Québec (RBQ), property owners must apply a thorough and consistent program of preventive building maintenance. Regarding the facades of high-rise buildings that are exposed to severe weather, the RBQ requires that they be maintained to prevent any anomaly that could compromise safety. For these reasons, Bill 122 requires the periodic verification by an architect or engineer of the facades of all buildings with 5 storeys above ground every 5 years.

As specified in this regulation, a property owner must obtain a verification report, issued by a professional after inspection of the facades, certifying that none of the building’s facades presents any dangerous condition. In particular, the report should detail:

  • name, signature, and contact information of the professional who undertook the inspection;
  • methods of observation used and extent of verification;
  • address of the building;
  • inspection dates;
  • confirmation that the facades of the building do not present any dangerous condition;
  • that the owner has been notified of corrective work to be done in the case that defects have been observed.

When the inspection professional detects dangerous conditions, they must be reported to the building’s owner, along with recommendations for rectifying the conditions. The inspection professional must also inform the RBQ without delay. It is then the owner’s responsibility to make sure the preventive and corrective work is completed in a timely manner.

Given all the responsibilities a property owner has, it is makes sense that it is the owner’s responsibility to pay for facade inspection, along with the associated professional fees, and for repair and renovation work as needed, in addition to the all the costs of regular maintenance.

Co-ownership: who pays for facade maintenance?

Acting on behalf of every co-owner in the case of a condominium building, the syndicate of co-owners – also known as the condominium corporation – is responsible for ensuring that the components of the building’s common areas comply with all regulations in force and for maintaining them properly (art. 1039 C.cQ.). This refers to elements such as the alarm system, cooling towers, elevators, multi-storey parking garage, façades, and such. In this way, the syndicate’s board of directors must take the necessary measures to bring these elements into conformity with building codes and to pay the resulting costs of upgrading.

The funds to cover these costs come from the condo fees paid by every co-owner. Since the syndicate of co-owners requires sufficient cash flow to finance its obligations in terms of maintenance, repair, or replacement of common components and areas, it must provide itself with a reserve fund representing at least 5% of contributions to common expenses.

Façade inspection by Genispec Inspections

Specialized in facade inspection, every member of the Genispec Inspections team of engineers is also a member of the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec (OIQ). Consequently, they are qualified to carry out thorough facade inspections according to the requirements of Bill 122. What’s more, thanks to our rope access inspection method, our exhaustive inspections generate lower costs than other methods. Rope access inspection is nevertheless equally effective because our engineers are always able to perform intrusive inspections as needed.

In conclusion, we invite you to contact us. It would be our pleasure to help you set up a facade maintenance program aimed to prevent putting the safety of your tenants and the safety of the public at risk.

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