The situation is getting really critical. Since the end of 2021, condominiums that are equipped with gas collective heating or are connected to a heating network have been hit hard by the sharp rise in energy prices. Of course, the government urgently included them in the collective bargaining umbrella with social housing construction in February. This consists of a financial compensation equal to the increase suffered between November 1st, 2021 and June 30th, 2022 for properties not eligible for regulated rates. But here we are, the system is still not effective because it is very complex to implement. “Technical blockages remain because the subsidy to which each co-owner is entitled must be calculated in each co-owner. So that we can continue to pay the bills in full for the time being,” confirms Jean-Marc Torrollion, President of Fnaim, the main union of real estate professionals.
The problem is that tariff protection only affects individuals. However, many condominiums not only consist of living space, but also house companies and/or freelancers. As a result, each case is unique and the aid must be calculated according to the fees paid by the whole Kopro, but excluding the shares paid in non-residential buildings. However, there is no way to automate the calculation: the Copro trustees have to do it manually. A real gas plant!
Demands for money and premature interruption of the heating
“In order to speed up the process, we quickly proposed a way out to the government: payment of monetary compensation to all condominiums where 75% of the premises are intended for housing,” explains the President of Fnaim. Even if it means raising the threshold and working on a case-by-case basis for copros who have a lower placement rate. The Housing Department quickly validates the process, but Bercy refuses because it could distort competition if too many professionals receive the grant. Not to mention that the device is already costing the public purse a small fortune: according to estimates, between 10 and 15 billion euros.
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But time is pressing. Because in many condominiums the gas supply contract expires and the next one has to be negotiated. But since it was signed a year or two ago, prices have skyrocketed. “Most of these contracts are fixed prices and have been negotiated between 25 and 35 euros per megawatt hour. Today we are going to 90 or even 100 or 110 euros per megawatt hour! Or 3 to 4 times more,” worries Olivier Safar, the vice president of the United States, the other key representative of the co-ownership trustees. Under these conditions, some trustees are recommending that the copros they manage not commit to temporarily paying for their gas at the spot market price, i.e. the fixed price for immediate delivery (127 euros per megawatt hour this Friday, April 1), in the hope of a Lowering the costs by summer to conclude a longer-term new contract.
But there is another problem: the boxes are empty. Because the budgets passed last year did not expect such a price hike at all. This forces the trustees to call for additional funds. “I have just made a call for funds for 50,000 euros in one of my condominiums,” explains Olivier Safar. A cash advance paid by co-owners to pay fees and keep the business from going into deficit (which is prohibited by law). The syndic reimburses them once the customs protection compensation is received. To ease the pain, some condos have even asked for the heat to be cut early on April 15. “You understand why you have to go fast,” concludes the United vice-president.
A decree that was soon published to resolve the situation
In the face of the emergency, pragmatism seems to have triumphed. According to our information, following a positive opinion from the Higher Energy Council a few days ago, a draft decree to resolve the situation was sent to the Directorate General for Energy and Climate (DGEC) this Friday. In the end, the method proposed by the trustee representatives was adopted. The threshold for dwellings has even been raised, as the latest version of the text supports all buildings with a dwelling rate of more than 80%, without distinguishing between the different dwelling types. And in the copros, where this residential rate is lower, the trustees do the counting by hand.
Finally, the decree provides that the compensation will be paid in two installments. Copro trustees will direct their request to their suppliers, who can send them to the State Payment Services Agency from May 1st. The latter then has 30 days to pay the compensation to the suppliers, who then pay it back to the copros within 30 days. The first payment must therefore be made before July 1st and will cover the period from November 1st, 2021 to February 28th, 2022. The second payment is currently scheduled for November, for the period February 28 to June 30, 2022. The professional bodies want to advance this second tranche as soon as possible, if only to be able to budget the aid before accounting. The decree is to be published in the next few days.
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