Scrap real estate: BGH affirms renovation obligation

Karlsruhe (dpa) – For members of a community of owners who want to renovate against resistance from other apartments or buildings, that’s good news: The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) has largely strengthened the obligations for renovation with a ruling announced on Friday and only A few exceptions are permitted.

The owners’ association Haus & Grund emphasized that owners who want to renovate would have their backs strengthened: They would not only get the green light. After the decision you were not left alone at your expense. All members of the community would have to participate. The Real Estate Association Germany (IVD) emphasized that nobody could cheat their way out because of renovation backlogs. (Ref. V ZR 225 / 20)

A lack of maintenance or obsolescence does not release owners from their renovation obligations, as do high costs, as the chairwoman of the fifth civil senate, Christina Stresemann, explained. Only destruction through isolated events could be the reason for this. She cited fires, floods and explosions as examples. In some cases, damage is not insured.

Paragraph 22 of the Condominium Act reads: “If the building has been destroyed to more than half of its value and the damage is not If it is covered by insurance or in any other way, the reconstruction cannot be decided or requested. ” Stresemann explained that in order to be able to assess the loss in value, a before-and-after comparison is required. In the event of a fire, for example, that’s not a problem. With years of decay and renovation backlog, on the other hand, there is no suitable time at which the values ​​of the “problem properties” can be measured before and after.

The Karlsruhe judgment is probably good news for most, said the Federal Managing Director of Haus & Grund, Gerold Happ, the German Press Agency. Owners could not speculate that they can let a property deteriorate and build something new on the spot. Whether the decision will lead to many renovations starting and possibly increasing rents remains to be seen and depends primarily on the financial circumstances of the owners. Tenants would have the right to have a dilapidated staircase refurbished anyway, said Happ.

How many cases across Germany are affected by the judgment is unclear. “There are many scrap real estate,” said the deputy IVD federal manager Christian Osthus. The constellation of a community of owners with different interests is special. In his estimation, such advanced decay is more likely to occur in unused buildings. The fact that an inhabited residential building is officially declared unusable is likely to be the exception. From his point of view, it is good that the BGH interpreted the concept of destruction narrowly. Otherwise, under certain circumstances, many disputes would have threatened as to whether the degree of decay equates to destruction. “It is a good thing that there is now clarity,” said Osthus.

With the decision, the highest German civil court granted a GmbH right to the three of eleven floors of a dilapidated parking garage with 550 Include parking spaces in Augsburg. She wants to rent it out to a hotel. The majority of the other owners – including two large owners – had decided to prohibit the use of the entire car park, which was more than 40 years old, due to deficiencies in fire protection, which means that visitors to a nearby congress center are unable to park. The plaintiff was allowed to remedy the defects at its own expense.

The GmbH had previously failed with a lawsuit against it. The Munich Regional Court I had recently decided that, as an exception, the renovation could be dispensed with. Their costs are estimated at 4.9 million euros. That is over a million more than the parking garage is worth. The appeal before the BGH has now been successful, a permanent ban on use by majority decision is illegal. In this way, owners could not avoid urgently necessary renovation measures.

In principle, apartment owners could decide on a ban on use that relates to communal property if it averted dangers, explained Judge Stresemann. There are narrow limits for this, however, and compelling reasons are necessary. “According to normal usage, a building is only destroyed when its usability has been partially or completely eliminated, but not because renovation results in high costs.”

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