They are called Bellman, Homeland, Syndic One, Hello Syndic… Young companies, which present themselves as neo-syndics, in the neo-banks model, offer computerized solutions to facilitate the management of liquidators.
The joint-ownership trustee manages the common parts and charges of a building. It can be cooperative, that is, piloted voluntarily by the co-owners, or professional, when it is entrusted to a company for payment.
One of these new companies crystallizes the oppositions: Matera. Offering assistance to volunteer managers, without being a professional liquidator herself, the start-up shared, in 2019 and 2020, an aggressive advertising campaign that derided the traditional heavyweights of the industry.
The community’s reaction was quick: two court summons addressed to the company, accused in particular of illegally exercising the profession.
In the first instance, the Commercial Court of Paris ruled in favor of Matera on this point, but ruled that he had committed unfair competition and misleading commercial practices.
Matera appealed and another subpoena, for similar complaints, is being examined in the Paris Court. “Matera cultivated an ambiguity between being an administrator or not being an administrator”ton Jean-Marc Torrollion, president of the National Real Estate Federation (Fnaim).
“To me, this is an absolutely ridiculous case”retorts the boss of Matera, Raphaël Di Meglio. “They know very well that, each time, we present ourselves as an aid to the cooperative liquidator”ensures.
Recently, an online curator comparator has again provoked the indignation of professional organizations, who accuse Matera of having created a “clickbait”or to delight “Bashing liquidator”.
“There are existing players that defend an income and that, in my opinion, are not very capable of creating innovation in their sector; and its means of defending its market share, is namely the initiation of legal proceedings”says Raphael Di Meglio.
Because behind, there is a very real economic battle. the new actors “snatch market shares from the curators, who are stolen from the co-ownership in favor of management by the co-owners themselves internally. So there is still a commercial issue behind it.”explains to AFP Me Elisa Bocianowski, a lawyer specializing in real estate (and not involved in these cases) at the firm Simmons & Simmons.
These young companies intend to automate, through applications, certain time-consuming tasks: accounting, filing administrative documents, etc. “Today, if you go to a traditional liquidator, it works a little like thirty years ago”says Antonio Pinto, founder of neotrustee Bellman.“It’s the accountant who prints things out, the assistant who will put the letters in folds and post them, we receive the invoices in paper format, we put stamps…”
“Online trusts are interesting for small condominiums that cannot be managed in a traditional way”thinks David Rodrigues, from the CLCV consumer association.
Bellman, who manages around 500 condominiums, had co-owners interviewed for a study: 45% of them rate their satisfaction with the manager between 0 and 6 out of 10. Which led her to also launch a bold advertising campaign, where co-owners who give up on leaving a dysfunctional manager are represented as leather-clad masochists.
Industry heavyweights are trying to adapt. Foncia is therefore putting the finishing touches on a trustee management smartphone app. “I think there is room for everyone, but the added value is still linked to a flesh-and-blood professional”defends Danielle Dubrac, president of the Union of Real Estate Professionals (United), when warning: “If the economic model (of the new players) is not profitable, if there is no return on investment, we move on. And there could be a very rapid obsolescence of these neo-actors. » Neither Bellman nor Matera are currently beneficiaries.