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Where to find the billions for co-ownership? COPRO+ launches an alert message on the challenges ahead


Highlights: 30% of housing in France is subject to the co-ownership regime. The “copro hole” will be estimated in billions of euros according to COPRO+. A pressing challenge that requires immediate action. COPRO+ suggests the implementation of an external control in the form of Consistency and Plausibility Examination (ECV), similar to those practiced by Associations or Centers for VSEs. They believe this should be mandatory for public unions receiving public subsidies. Faced with these shortcomings, Cécile and Pierre proposed alternative solutions.

For more than 15 years, Cécile Barnasson and Pierre Olivier have been passionate about the issue of co-ownership. In 2009, they co-founded COPRO+, an independent co-ownership consultancy company. A subject of major importance, 30% of housing in France being subject to the...

With the adoption of new energy standards, the subject is more relevant than ever.

Bringing many buildings into compliance will result in the vote on heavy works packages.

In this context, Cécile Barnasson and Pierre Olivier are sounding the alarm on the economic implications, largely underestimated, of the co-ownership regime: the “copro hole” will be estimated in billions of euros according to COPRO+.

A pressing challenge that requires immediate action, and to which COPRO+ is already committed through various measures and initiatives.

Transposing “good business practices” to co-ownership: the vision of COPRO+

The purpose of COPRO+ is

“to give co-ownership stakeholders the keys to

improving the management of co-ownerships

,” explains Cécile. Because when Pierre and Cécile became interested in the issue of co-ownership, they quickly noticed the generalized absence of “good business practices” in which they were trained. This results in serious shortcomings in the management of co-ownership accounts, marked by anomalies and financial losses. In response, COPRO+ introduced “copro-compatibility” - an approach that the consultancy firm intends to share with all stakeholders in co-ownership. “

Originally, we aimed mainly at union councils, then we broadened our audience to communities

,” explains Pierre. He adds: “

We we intervene either upstream to guide public intervention, or by supporting its implementation, with a multidisciplinary team of 10 consultants.

“These operational activities are supported by constant research and innovation, the DNA of COPRO+.

Acting for change: COPRO+’s visionary research projects

COPRO+ is banking on its Research and Development activities to move the needle.

Because in terms of co-ownership management, there are, according to COPRO+, many aspects to review.

Their first observation?


After 40 years spent in the IT field, a sector in constant evolution, I was struck by the immobility characteristic of the world of co-ownership

,” declares Pierre, dismayed.

This strange organization, neither association nor company, has a very particular functioning


Armed with their practical experience, they use research as a lever to contribute to the evolution of legislation, in particular by undertaking research projects in collaboration with the Plan Urbanisme Construction Architecture (PUCA) and the National Housing Agency ( Anah).

Another particularity of co-ownership, according to COPRO+, and not the least: the absence of a data repository.

How can we achieve cost optimization if there is no clear vision of the accounts?

COPRO+ quickly answered this question by developing the DICOPRO framework and developing the COPROTIQUE range of tools.

This system is thus applied to Grigny II, a group bringing together 27 co-ownership associations, managed by different trustees.

We collect and harmonize all their management data then analyze them using Business Intelligence (BI) tools to feed the public management system

 ,” explains Pierre.

A real step forward towards intelligent and transparent management of co-ownerships.

“Inconsistencies”, “absurdities” and “lack of transparency”: it is time to rethink co-ownership

There are shortcomings and inconsistencies, COPRO+ tells us.

Pierre and Cécile raise other questions about accounting: its specificities and its control.

Co-ownership accounting includes general accounting that is often incomplete and an analytical dimension linked to the distribution of expenses between the co-owners, in accordance with the co-ownership regulations.

Even more surprising, co-ownership is the only sector where the law entrusts non-certified people, the union council, with the responsibility of controlling the management of a professional, even when budgets can reach several million euros and include significant public subsidies.

Their recommendation?

External control.

COPRO+ suggests the implementation of an external control in the form of a Consistency and Plausibility Examination (ECV), similar to those practiced by Associations or Approved Management Centers for VSEs, for a modest annual cost.

They believe that this control should be mandatory at least for unions receiving public subsidies.

Faced with these shortcomings, Cécile and Pierre proposed alternative solutions in their work “Save co-ownerships, what needs to be changed”, published in 2011.

Developments and lessons: a contrasting assessment since 2011

Some of the transitional measures they proposed in their book, such as the separate account, the referencing of co-ownerships, the works fund and the DTG, were integrated into the ALUR law of 2014. However, despite this progress, new difficulties persist and worsen.

The energy crisis and inflation have exacerbated the problem of unpaid charges, thus fueling the spiral of inevitable deterioration of buildings due to lack of maintenance.

Despite the efforts made by various actors such as the State, Anah, communities, trustees and operators, the fight against this scourge seems to be an increasingly difficult challenge to overcome.

According to Cécile and Pierre, the real cause of these difficulties lies in the forced joint ownership status of the co-ownership.

Indeed, the absence of a management body within the joint ownership of the common areas requires the juxtaposition of another structure, the syndicate of co-owners responsible for maintaining property which does not belong to it.

This organization meets current management needs, but it is not adapted to heavy maintenance needs.

Attempts to mitigate the consequences of this problem through legislative changes have failed to address the root cause of condominium decay.

Since then, the evolution of texts has aimed to reduce the consequences of this genetic defect, without ever treating the cause!

 », exclaims Pierre.

Joint ownership: an obstacle to meeting the challenge of energy renovation

Although condominium buildings are similar to those of social landlords, renovation projects are more complex and much longer, due to three major difficulties linked to their status.

The first difficulty lies in the process of choosing the work to undertake.

Reaching a consensus on the work program is often an arduous ordeal due to prolonged deadlines and frequent disagreements within the co-ownership.

In co-ownership, project management is unique because of its collective and plural nature.

The second difficulty concerns financing.

The co-ownership structure does not have its own assets to offer as security for a collective loan.

In co-ownership, the financing of the work remains an individual question.

As Pierre points out, "

It must resort to specific 'collective loans with individual membership' systems whose legal complexity rivals that of the practical arrangements


He also expresses the hope that the borrowing provisions envisaged in the next law will be quickly implemented.

He also appreciates the intensification of the deployment of collective subsidy and individual aid programs.

Finally, the third difficulty lies in the protests.

Each opposing or defaulting co-owner has the right to contest a decision taken during the general meeting before the judicial court, even for dilatory reasons.

Thus, a project laboriously developed over several years and approved by a large majority can be blocked by a single co-owner.

Degraded co-ownerships: can the State do better?

Cécile deplores a “spiral of degradation”: “

The resonance effect between the increase in unpaid debts and the lack of maintenance leads to the progressive degradation of the building and its population


Quickly, the structure no longer has the capacity to organize its operation and maintenance on its own, until it reaches a state of deficiency, a form of bankruptcy.

The community must then intervene to secure, expropriate and rehouse the occupants, a long and expensive program.

To avoid this fatal outcome, the public sector is forced to intervene massively in this private sphere.

The Co-ownership Initiative Plan (PIC) offers communities a range of support and financing systems adapted to the seriousness of the situations.

Unfortunately, repairing buildings is not enough, operational defects persist and relapses are numerous.

Could we do better?

We see no alternative to these public interventions without changing the status of the co-ownership

 ,” laments Cécile.

However, a glimmer of hope emerges from the bill under discussion in parliament.

The exceptional possibility of expropriation of common areas, provided for in this bill, would constitute a first step towards the dismemberment between the common part and the private part.

This measure would offer an alternative to the state of deficiency, beneficial both for the public entity and for the co-owners.

The maintenance of the expropriated common areas would be entrusted to an operator, without compromising the ownership of the private areas.

COPRO+’s message for public authorities

Our message will be threefold: raise awareness, influence,


,” intone Pierre and Cécile.

As an awareness-raiser, COPRO+ calls for the recognition of a specific right to co-ownership, distinct from the right to individual property, in order to allow collective management adapted to this collective urban object.

The 1965 law, which has become obsolete, now harms the co-owners it is supposed to protect.

As an influencer of public policies, COPRO+ encourages communities affected by these issues to innovate by experimenting with exceptional measures, such as the expropriation of common areas.

We will be willing to accompany them.

Finally, as a whistleblower, COPRO+ highlights the considerable economic issues associated with co-ownership, accentuated by current energy challenges and the proliferation of co-ownerships in difficulty.

They thus draw attention to what they call the “Copro Hole”: a recurring public charge which is and will be valued in billions of euros.

Only the creation of a status of collective structure, capable of maintaining its assets thanks to traditional depreciation mechanisms is, in our opinion, likely to limit this disaster and gradually transfer this public burden to the private co-owners, with the participation banks.

This is our answer to the initial question: Where to find the billions for co-ownership?

concludes Cécile


Diane Vanderschelden

Source: lefigaro

All business articles on 2024-02-21

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