Responsibilities of a Janitor / condo association

Écrit par Me Sébastien Fiset , LL.B., B.A.A.
Mercredi, 29 Juin 2011 16:46



Contact the author:


With the increasing number of buildings established within the context of co-ownership, making a choice is difficult. When setting one’s sites on an existing co-ownership or a new complex, a factor which will contribute to influencing a potential buyer to make a choice of one property over another will, in part, be the extent and quality of the different services offered. Yes, competition exists and the associated services have an impact on the consumer’s choice when purchasing a condo.

Various types of services may be offered in co-ownership properties, from the very minor to the most impressive. The syndicate of co-ownership, in exercising its obligation to preserve the immovable, the maintenance, the administration and the safeguarding of the interests of the collectivity of co-owners[1] may have recourse, if necessary, to the services of a manager and/or a superintendent to carry out these obligations and to best address the needs of the co-owners.

The manager[2] may act as the right arm of the syndicate, provide back-up support or simply function in a consulting role, depending on the needs and the size of the co-ownership. He will be entrusted with the « management tasks » and « simple administration ».[3]

As for the superintendent, he will be given the responsibility of seeing to the maintenance of the building, both the exterior and the interior, and could be a valuable aid in the event of an emergency breakage, blackout, etc.). The superintendent is the eyes and ears of the co-ownership. Furthermore, he is often the immediate resource whom co-owners will call upon, providing relief to the board of directors through back-up support.

Some small co-ownerships, because of their low number of units, have been successful in dispensing with the services of a superintendent by sharing the responsibilities among the administrators. Others may require the services of a superintendent for the exterior work only, on an occasional basis, by contract or by the hour, as additional support for a job which would often include simple housekeeping chores and small jobs for minor repairs and maintenance.

In contrast, for a large scale co-ownership, the duties of a superintendent are much more diversified and complex. The list of responsibilities of the superintendent will therefore be determined in detail in a work or service contract. Having this type of contract drawn up by a professional should be considered. Consult your management company or a legal professional.

Even though some of the duties of the resident superintendent may be entrusted to an independent workforce (snow removal, landscaping, professional painting, etc.), the following are generally considered to be functions of the superintendent:

– Surveillance and security of the premises;

– Receipt of goods (light bulbs, salt for removal of ice, products used for maintenance, etc.);

– Maintenance of the common portions (windows, doors, floors, ceilings, walls, corridors, elevators, entrance area, stairways, etc.);

– Garbage removal according to the rules in effect in the municipality;

– Lawn mowing and maintenance of the ground and the recreational areas (such as pools, tennis, terrace, etc.) ;

– Adjustment of the heating, central air conditioning and ventilation systems;

– Minor repairs and painting;

– Maintenance of the interior and exterior plants ;

– Snow removal of the entrances and emergency exits ;

– Supervision of other employees or professions hired by the syndicate.

An important point; the superintendent works for the syndicate of co-ownership. He must not perform work for co-owners during his work hours (moving, car washing, maintenance of private portions, etc.). He may accept a contract, to be paid by a specific co-owner. However, this must be outside of the hours paid for by the syndicate.

A good superintendent sets himself apart from the others through his resourcefulness, dedication, social skills, knowledge of his craft and his good physical condition.

Beware! One must not risk the well being of the superintendent, nor the common good. In the event that he is unable to accomplish work, which necessitates a knowledge that he does not possess, in construction, electricity, plumbing or heating for example, the syndicate should without discussion call upon the required building professionals.

The superintendent contributes significantly to ensure that life in a co-ownership is agreeable and that the burden of the syndicate is lightened. Do not treat him as an expense, but rather consider him an investment. You would be wise to ensure a devoted superintendent is well remunerated. This will result in his dedication, honesty and loyalty.

* * * * * * *

Legal provisions and work conditions intended for superintendents may be found in part in the Civil Code of Québec and in greater detail in the Law on labour standards[4]. Meanwhile, because of exceptions and unique circumstances related to the work of a superintendent, his work schedule and his salary, the assistance of a professional specializing in the rights of co-ownership or labour law is often an important help. Do not hesitate to seek their help.

The information provided on this page is general in nature and cannot compensate for the need to obtain legal advice specific to a particular situation.

[1] Article 1039 of the Civil Code of Québec

[2] The « manager » as stated in article 1085 of the Civil Code of Québec

[3] See also our text « How to choose a good manager »

[4] Commission des normes du travail :

Mise à jour le Vendredi, 15 Août 2014 16:00

Me Sébastien Fiset
Me Sébastien Fiset