Service charges in apartments rose by an average of 2% last year, to reach an average of €51m2 pa, but with significant variations.
Apartment owners in France are liable for the service charge that is applied to cover the costs of management, maintenance and improvement of the building.
These charges are set by the apartment owners themselves through a general meeting, on the advice on the managing agents - the syndic.
The level of the charges will depend on numerous factors - the number of apartments, the location of the property, the services provided in the property, the size of your apartment and the maintenance and improvement requirements of the building.
Last year, according to 'OSCAR' (l'Observatoire national des charges de copropriété de l'ARC), the average service charge for an apartment in a block having the full range of services was €50.09/m2, an increase of 2% over 2018.
That means for an apartment measuring 60m2, the annual service charge amounted to €3,057.
That average charge is for an apartment that had the full range of collective services, including heating, caretaking, and lift access. In such a case, as the graphic below shows, the three highest charges were for heating (€876), caretaking (€613), and repairs and maintenance (€428).
Where a collective central heating system was not provided, the average cost was €36m2; where no caretaking was provided the average charge was €45m2; where neither central heating nor caretaking were provided the average charge was €31m2. Those apartments managed by a voluntary syndic also had lower annual charges.
There were also significant differences by geographic area, ranging from €56m2 in Paris to €37m2 in the Mediterranean, and a national average of €51m2.
Another recent study by Syneval, a broker who advises apartment owners on the choice of managing agents, showed that it was not only the range of services that affected the level of the service charge, but also the size of the apartment block, with owners in smaller blocks inevitably penalised by higher fees charged by the managing agents.
They considered that the fees in les petites copropriétés had risen significantly in recent years, mainly as a result of the Loi Alur 2014, which imposed greater controls on managing agents, and required that sinking funds be established for major works where one was not already in place.