CEE real estate owners: join hands for legislative changes, or compete against each other?

Real estate owners in central and Eastern Europe are reluctant in joining hands to create national and regional associations, but they should do so in order to lobby and address issues concerning the industry, says John R. Fredericksen, president of the European Property Federation.

The European Property Federation, which brings together property owners from 15 countries, has chosen Romania as a base for expansion in the region. “We are in advanced stage of negotiations with the Polish Council of Shopping Centers and with a new organization for Czech real estate,” John R. Fredericksen tells Romania-Insider.com.

However, expansion in the region is not easy, as property owners tend not to gather in associations, let alone affiliate to an international one. This forces the EPF to try to create loose groups of companies. “That, in turn, creates the challenge of persuading property companies highly focused on their day-to-day business and competing against each other to pool resources and concentrate on their regulatory environment,” Fredericksen explains.

The Federation is already present in Romania – its regional base, led by the Romanian Association of Building Owners RABO, presided by biggest Romanian offices owners, Liviu Tudor – and in Bulgaria and Hungary. “For all three, the main issue is building a culture of respectful and regular dialogue between property interests and the local and national authorities. EPF has been useful in getting the EU to encourage the national authorities to address real estate issues such as planning law reform,” says the EPF president.

He goes on: “If nobody joins a national real estate organization it is equivalent to just letting the authorities do whatever they want or whatever other organized groups like contractors or tenants might want.”

So much property-relevant power has shifted from the national level to the EU and once the EU law exists it can’t be changed at a national level, Fredericksen adds, explaining why national associations should join the EPF.

Established in 1997 and currently representing members with EUR 1.5 trillion worth of assets, the EPF brings together the Asociación de Inmobiliarias con Patrimonio en Alquiler, the British Property Federation, the Bulgarian Property Association, the Danish Property Federation, the Federation of Hungarian Real Estate Associations, the  Federazione Italiana dell’Industria Immobiliare, the Finnish Real Estate Federation, the Irish Association of Investment Managers, the Norwegian Property Federation, the Portuguese Council of Shopping Centres, the Real Estate Council of the Netherlands, the Romanian Association of Building Owners, the Scandinavian International Property Association, and the Swedish Property Federation.

In Romania, RABO includes several companies, many of which owned by Liviu Tudor: Genesis Development, Novo Park, West Gate Business District, West Facility Management Company, as well as CA Immo Romania and Iulius Group, all among some of the largest property owners in Romania.

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Corina Chirileasa, [email protected]