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Money Matters and Legal / Your Money

How to reduce the cost of co-ownership charges in Paris

Apartment buildings are subject to shared co-ownership expenses (charges de copropriété). Co-owners in Paris pay on average 48.9 euros/m2 per year for a building with all of the amenities below. For a 50m2, this adds up to 2,445 euros per year. But it’s worth noting that many buildings do not have the full range of facilities. Moreover, there are many ways of keeping these costs under control.

According to l’Association des responsables de copropriétiés (ARC) , charges increased by 15% 2010-12. The Consumer Prices Index rose by around 6% over the same period. Recent increases are mainly due to harsh winter weather, rising energy tariffs and higher insurance premiums.

Co-owners can take the following steps to reduce these costs.

Heating and hot water

This main item of expenditure represents about 30% of total charges. For a 65m2, the average tab is 949 euros per year, ARC calculates, including 130 euros for maintenance of appliances.

Where the building has shared heating, ensure the boiler is regularly serviced, saving up to 10% of energy costs. Agree a date for switching on the heating and maintain it at a lower temperature.

  • Improve insulation in the common parts of the building.
  • Think about moving from oil to gas, which is cheaper.

Employee costs

Not all co-owners are affected but where they employ a concierge or gardien (building superintendent), the costs can be up to 18% of co-owner expenses.

Co-owners’ associations for smaller buildings could consider using an external service provider instead.

Maintenance costs

Depending on the age and condition of the building, maintenance represents around 18% of expenditure.

Annual or biennial renegotiation of contracts for cleaning, maintenance of heating appliances etc. can achieve significant savings.

Management company fees

Management companies’ (syndics) fees increased by 5% during 2012, mainly because of charging for services not covered by the contract, such as calling an extraordinary meeting or monitoring certain building works.

A new law (loi Duflot) proposes to restrict the range of services for which syndics can charge extra. Co-owners should also thoroughly scrutinize the syndic’s charges at their annual meeting.

Water charges

In most buildings, water is billed pro rata to each apartment’s surface area. This does not reflect real consumption or encourage efficient water usage.

Consider installing individual water meters to address these issues.

Elevator maintenance

The difference in charges between elevator maintenance companies can be more than 1,000 euros per year. ARC says this service should not cost more than 2,000 per year. They suggest renegotiating contracts regularly.

Insurance

Insurance premiums have risen by 6.3% over the past year due to greater incidence of water damage. To reduce premiums:

Regularly maintain buildings so they are watertight.

  • Change insurer if premiums increase excessively. Contracts are renewable yearly.

Source: capital.fr

 

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