The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA) proposes that the Market Court impose penalty payments in total of approximately EUR 22 million on six companies operating in the real estate management sector and on the Finnish Real Estate Management Federation. In 2014–2017, these companies and the Finnish Real Estate Management Federation fixed prices of the real estate management services, aiming to increase the national price level in the real estate management sector.
According to the FCCA’s investigations, in 2014 the Finnish Real Estate Management Federation and certain companies that were members of its Board agreed to harmonise the pricing of real estate management services and to increase prices. Furthermore, it was agreed that the new tasks set for real estate management companies as a result of legislative reforms would be charged to customers in the form of additional services outside real estate management contracts. Discussions on price increases and harmonisation mainly took place at Board meetings and seminars.
Information on price increases and harmonisation was communicated actively to the member companies and the entire real estate management sector in 2014–2017. Price recommendations were issued, for example, by means of press releases, at events and on the website of the Finnish Real Estate Management Federation. The goal to increase the share of additional, separately chargeable services in the pricing of the real estate management sector was also included in the strategy of the Finnish Real Estate Management Federation.
Agreeing on prices between competitors and making price recommendations constitute very serious restrictions of competition, the sole purpose of which is to artificially increase prices to the detriment of consumers. Such activities were liable to affect the price level in the real estate management sector in the whole of Finland, as most of the companies involved in the cartel were operating nationwide. In addition, the price recommendations issued by the Finnish Real Estate Management Federation have specifically aimed to increase the price level in the entire Finnish real estate management sector.
“According to our proposal, the cartel activity was long-lasting and systematic,” says Kirsi Leivo, Director General of the FCCA. ”The companies referred to in the proposal have cooperated systematically to increase their prices and to influence the price level in the entire sector. In the real estate management sector, higher prices are ultimately paid by residents of housing companies.“
The FCCA started investigaton into the matter in 2017, carrying out inspections at the premises of the real estate management companies and the Finnish Real Estate Management Federation The evidence of the price cartel is partly based on documentary evidence collected through these inspections and partly on the public communications by the Finnish Real Estate Management Federation.
The FCCA proposes that penalty payments be imposed on the real estate management companies and on their parent companies, as well as on the Finnish Real Estate Management Federation in accordance with the following table. The total of the penalty payments amounts approximately to EUR 22 million.
|Proposed penalty payment|
|Realia Services Oy (for Arenna Oy's involvement (previously Colliers Isännöinti Finland Oy and Ovenia Isännöinti Oy)) and Colliers International Finland Group Oy (previously Ovenia Group Oy)||4 500,387 euros|
|Isännöinti Ilkka Saarinen Oy||220,371 euros|
|OP Koti Kainuu Oy (previously OP Kiinteistökeskus Kainuu Oy)||302,075 euros|
|Oulun kiinteistötieto Oy and Suomen Kiinteistöhallinta Oy (real estate management services are offered through regional companies under the name Kiinteistö-Tahkola)||1 693,950 euros|
|Realia Services Oy (previously Realia Isännöinti Oy), Realia Group Oy ja Realia Holding Oy||13 887,627 euros|
|REIM Group Oy Ltd and REIM Hämeenlinna Oy||1 300,285 euros|
|Finnish Real Estate Management Federation||73,106 euros|