The Impact of Marital Status When Purchasing a Secondary Property or Rental Property by One Spouse in Quebec

Pour détenir un actif important au cours de sa vie, une personne doit notamment posséder une résidence principale. L’accès à la propriété est bien connu du public; l’État en a d’ailleurs fait une priorité dès les années 50.

The purchase of a secondary property or rental property can be a significant decision in a couple's life. However, when only one spouse makes this purchase, it is essential to understand the impact of marital status on this transaction. Even if the other spouse will not be the owner, they will still need to sign the documents, which have significant legal implications. In this article, we will examine why the signature of the other spouse is required, the legal consequences in case of separation, and the relevant articles of the Civil Code of Quebec.

Why is the signature of the other spouse required?

In Quebec, the legal matrimonial regime is the "société d'acquêts," which means that property acquired during marriage belongs to both spouses, regardless of the name on the property title. Thus, even if one spouse buys a secondary property or rental property, the law recognizes that assets acquired during the marriage are common property and requires the other spouse to sign the documents related to this transaction. This measure aims to protect the rights of the non-owning spouse and prevent any abusive financial manipulation.

By requiring the other spouse's signature, the law aims to ensure that the non-owning spouse is fully informed about the purchase and has given their informed consent. This reduces the risks of asset concealment or inappropriate financial transactions. For example, if one spouse decides to buy a secondary property without the other spouse being informed, it could impact the couple's financial situation and compromise the financial security of the non-owning spouse. The documents they must sign vary depending on the nature of the transaction, but they may include documents such as the deed of sale, mortgage, loan agreement, etc.

Legal Implications for the Non-Owning Spouse

The signature of the other spouse on the purchase documents implies their consent to the transaction and a waiver of any ownership rights to the acquired property. However, this does not mean that they waive all their legal rights. In case of separation, the non-owning spouse is entitled to an equitable share of the property's value, in accordance with the provisions of the Civil Code of Quebec.

What happens if there is a separation?

In case of separation, the secondary property will be considered a family asset, even if only one spouse is its legal owner. Therefore, the non-owning spouse is entitled to a share of the net value of this asset, typically calculated based on the duration of the marriage and financial contributions made to the property.

Important Laws and Regulations of the Civil Code of Quebec

Several provisions of the Civil Code of Quebec are relevant in this situation. Article 415 of the Civil Code states that property acquired during the marriage is part of the family patrimony and is subject to division in case of separation. Additionally, Article 401 specifies that family patrimony includes immovables, even if they are for personal or professional use. Finally, Article 413 establishes the rules for dividing the family patrimony upon marriage dissolution.

The documents the other spouse must sign will depend on the specificities of the transaction, but they are essential to establish the legal validity of the purchase and clarify the rights and responsibilities of the spouse in this situation. Therefore, it is essential to consult a specialized notary for advice and make informed decisions when buying a secondary property or rental property.

The Cooperative of Notaries in Quebec can significantly help you establish the rights of spouses, whether legally, financially, or tax-wise. They can answer all your questions, and you can reach them via the website or a