What are the annual service charges an apartment owner might expect to pay in France?
If you are the owner of an apartment in France you will be liable for the service charges that are 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 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 block having the full range of services was €44.70/m2.
So for an apartment measuring 65m2 the annual charge would be €2,905.
The distribution of costs between the different types of expenditure shows that the largest single item is the heating system (€12.90), followed by caretaking/cleaning staff (€8.90), general maintenance (€7.50), management costs (€4.80), cold water (€4.40), lift maintenance (€2.70), insurance (€2.40), parking (€0.70) and taxes (€0.40).
However, there are signficant differences by geographic area, with the average charge in Paris standing last year at €49.10/m2, whilst it was €44.10/m2 in the Ile de France and €34.90/m2 in the regions.
That is a difference of around 25% between Paris and the regions, mainly because of the costs of central heating, caretaking, management costs and insurance.
The following graphic shows the change in charges since 2000, which have increased by 50% since this date, over twice the level of inflation. One of the main reasons for this increase has been due to heating charges.
Somewhat ironically, as a result of the relatively warm winter in 2014/15, charges went down last year by 5% compared to 2013/14, due mainly to reduced heating costs.