Roche & Cie

Rates, discounts: a revolution for notaries

They launched petitions, filed submissions to the Constitutional Council. But nothing worked. Notaries have failed to flinch the Minister of Economy, who hailed the release yesterday of the decree on tariffs of regulated professions. These rates set for each notarial act the “right” price, as demanded by the State Council. At first, the changes seem modest as lower prices as a whole reached only 2.5% for notaries (ditto for bailiffs and 5% for the clerks of the commercial courts). That said, even if it seems small, it is the first overall rate reduction which is facing the profession, which was used previously to tariff changes decided by the Chancellery only, which were rather favorable. Now these prices are set by the Competition Authority and will be revised every two years. To refine the calculation of some of them by 2018, the Competition Authority has also obtained a transitional provision allowing it to make the change again, with a margin of plus or minus 10% depending on the acts.

A ceiling for goods at low prices

This average decline of 2.5% hides huge disparities between acts. For purchases of “small” price (see above), rates will fall sharply as the notary fees will in such cases capped at 10% of the price of the property. One way, according to the Ministry of Economy, deliver consistency between the price of certain goods and that of the deed. However, for real estate purchases a major awards including the Paris market and the large cities, the notary’s fee should not vary much. It was also one of the points to watch for members who do not want a reform that will lower prices for affluent consumers likely to purchase such property. But it is also one of the weak points of the reform leaves intact the property pension benefit including the big Parisian notarial offices to which Bercy just wanted to address.

Among the new opportunities offered by the decrees, the strongest innovation will surely come from the introduction of discounts. The notary may, if desired, up to 10% discount for any act exceeding 150,000 euros. The only limit this discount on a particular type of act should be granted to all customers of the notary office. No way to make “the client’s head,” as denounced parliamentarians when the text was discussed in the Assembly. Again, Bercy expects much from this measure, which should push notaries to make productivity gains by going even further digitization, which is already well advanced in some, but by opting for interprofessionnalité, however highly criticized by regulated professions. Bercy done well betting that notaries will be pushed to modernize. The ball is now on their side.