Co-ownership trustees huddle with worthless start-ups-05/27/2022 at 08:42

The explosion of start-ups aimed at disrupting the management of co-ownership trustees puts real estate professionals on the defensive (AFP / Philippe HUGUEN)

Vitriol ads, legal battle … The emergence of start-ups seeking to destroy the management of co-ownership trustees puts established real estate professionals on the defensive.

They are called Bellman, Homeland, Syndic One, Hello Syndic … Young companies, presenting themselves as “neo-syndics”, in the “neo-banks” model, offer computerized solutions to facilitate the management of trustees.

The co-ownership syndic manages the common parts and charges of a building. It can be cooperative, i.e., voluntarily piloted by co-owners, or professionally, when it is entrusted to a company for a fee.

One of these new companies is crystallizing the opposition: Matera.

Offering help to volunteer managers, without him or her being a professional manager, the start-up split, in 2019 and 2020, into an aggressive advertising campaign that mocks the traditional heavyweights in the sector.

– “Ambiguity” –

The community reacted quickly: two lawsuits aimed at the company, specifically accused of illegal use of the profession.

For the first time, the Paris Commercial Court ruled in favor of Matera at this point, but ruled that it had committed unfair competition and fraudulent commercial practices.

Matera appealed, and another summons, for similar grievances, is being reviewed in Paris Court.

“Matera has cultivated ambiguity between being a trustee or not being a trustee”, thunders Jean-Marc Torrollion, president of the National Federation of Real Estate (Fnaim).

“For me, it’s an absolutely ridiculous affair,” retorted Matera boss Raphael Di Meglio. “They know very well that every time, we present ourselves as help to the cooperative syndicate”, he assured.

Recently, an online comparator of trustees once again sparked outrage among professional organizations, accusing Matera of setting up a “clickbait”, or of indulging in “syndic-bashing”.

“There are current players who are defending rent, and I don’t think they are very capable of creating change in their sector; and their way of defending their market share is specifically to initiate legal proceedings”, he said. by Raphaël Di Meglio.

– “Commercial issue” –

Because of the back, there is a real economic battle.

The explosion of start-ups seeking to disrupt the management of co-ownership trustees puts established real estate professionals on the defensive (AFP / PHILIPPE HUGUEN)

The explosion of start-ups seeking to disrupt the management of co-ownership trustees puts established real estate professionals on the defensive (AFP / PHILIPPE HUGUEN)

The new players are “biting market share from the trustees, the latter being robbed of co-ownership in favor of managing the co-owners themselves internally. So there is still a commercial issue behind it”, explanation to AFP Me Elisa Bocianowski, lawyer specializing in real estate (and not involved in these cases) at the company Simmons & Simmons.

These young companies aim to automate, using applications, certain time-consuming tasks: accounting, filing administrative documents, etc.

“Now, if you go with a traditional trustee, it works a little bit like it did thirty years ago,” said Antonio Pinto, founder of neo-trustee Bellman. “The accountant prints things, the assistant puts the letters in the folds and posts them, we accept invoices in paper format, we put stamps …”

“And when you’re managing 40 buildings, or 50, or 70, every second counts,” he said.

“Online managers are interesting for small condominiums that can’t be managed in the traditional way”, thinks David Rodrigues, of the consumer association CLCV.

Bellman, who manages about 500 condominiums, had co-owners interviewed for a study: 45% of them rated their trustee satisfaction between 0 and 6 out of 10. .

Which prompted him to also launch an outrageous advertising campaign, in which co-owners who gave up on removing a non-functional trustee were represented as masochists all wearing leather.

The heavyweights in the sector are trying to adapt. Thus, Foncia puts the ends in a trustee management smartphone application.

“I think there is room for everyone, but the added value is still linked to a professional in the flesh”, defended Danielle Dubrac, president of the Union of real estate professionals (United), while warning: “If the economic model (of new players) is not profitable, if there is no return on investment, we move on. And there might be a very rapid obsolescence of these neo-actors “.

Bellman or Matera are not currently a beneficiary.

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