Collective trustee: a promising concept for co-ownership in distress


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TRIBUNE – For Henry Buzy-Cazaux, founding president of the Real Estate Services Management Institute, the creation of a collective interest manager is a real revolution. Many questions raised by this news remain to be answered.


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The law of April 9, aimed at speeding up and simplifying the renovation of degraded apartments and large development operations, reveals a unique concept, the “administrator of collective interests”. While the Prime Minister in his general political speech to Parliament announces the “unblocking of administrators” and worries the entire profession, this legislative innovation has the opposite effect: it reclassifies the profession by writing a version that is somehow institutional. Future implementing texts will define precisely what a manager of collective interests is.

We certainly see that the glass is half empty: if the legislator has seen fit to invent administrators of the collective interest, it is because he considers them spontaneously attached to a special interest and without the ability to rise to the occasion. We must not neglect this reading and associate it with the promise of unlocking, which smacks of trivializing it. On the one hand, does the government intend to reduce the barriers to entering the profession and at the same time identify a profession within the profession for which a specific qualification will be required? The question will be resolved when the executive is clear about its reform intention…

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In the meantime, it is convenient I wonder what that particular administrator is. Parliamentary debates enlighten us: the administrator of collective interests must prove the skills necessary to restore co-ownership trapped in a spiral of economic and technical degradation, master the systems of public warning, support and recovery, know all the actors of the ecosystem, their role and know how to use them, from the associative universe – such as Soliha – to local authorities through public operators, with Anah at the helm. The draft law and the deputies who followed it up were considered competent by HLM organizations from the beginning. Ultimately, it is up to the prefect to approve these commissioners. At this stage the prefect would be very embarrassed to name the right actors…

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The need for public funding of this new type of manager

Although the law introduces a new concept, it puts it in the shadow of an old profession included in the value chain of dealing with distressed co-ownerships, the interim administrator. We know that this expert intervenes in an advanced disease, otherwise clinical death has already been pronounced. A public interest administrator is more like an emergency physician than a lawyer, and is not intended to be his assistant either. We clearly feel that this function deserves ad hoc training and recognition of the skills acquired: the certification created a few years ago by the Quali SR association (as a recovery administrator) heralded this system: fifty professionals, administrators, but also HLM organizations that wanted specialized who adopted this logic, they are of course entitled to the approval of the prefecture. They will be inspired pioneers and give birth to stewards of collective interests.

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We also know that in the face of this professional commitment, a stabilized economic model will be needed: difficult co-ownership requires two to three times more time than others, without being able to pay more. Public contribution to the remuneration of this administrator is necessary and there are happy experiences: Anah knows how to grant compensatory subsidies that complement the professional’s remuneration and allow him to make his management profitable.

All administrators soon common interest?

Finally, and this is not the least contribution of this concept, which has not yet been defined, the manager of the collective interest is much more than a doctor of advanced pathologies. He is there to prevent evil. In this regard, in a difficult economic period for households, all households, the risk of co-ownership flipping due to two or three co-owners paying their dues is significant. Which building can be said to be safe? None or almost none. We are tempted to quote Doctor Knock: “Every healthy person is an unconscious patient.” The administrator of the collective interest must appear capable of prophylaxis and not just post-processing. We can clearly see its market expanding…

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And then, on top of that, there are indications that the general interest manager will be seen as reassuring, almost official. In the hierarchy of obligations, the collective is above the individual. Some local authorities, more affected by the co-ownership phenomenon in distress, even want to have general interest managers: the tendering process says a lot. Since the collective image of the administrator profession is not spontaneously linked to efficiency and civic and moral authority, it is a safe bet that the administrator of the collective interest will become a reference. Ordinary co-ownerships without major economic concerns might well prefer a cockade trustee over a traditional trustee.

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We are even justified in asking whether all trustees will not one day have a common interest… To meditate, especially by a task force, on the desirable development of the profession of trustee just created by the president of the National Housing Board. Perhaps there is even hope that the guardian of the collective interest will succeed where the guardian failed: to be loved by the French.

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