Property sales in "milieu protection" areas

Exploiting margins and developing strategies when selling apartment buildings within
milieu protection areas. 

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The experts team in Berlin for all aspects of milieu protection

The good news for owners of apartment blocks in milieu protection areas: The pre-emption practice in Berlin has been stopped by the Federal Administrative Court. Nevertheless, there are a number of implications when selling, especially in terms of time. In addition, apartment blocks are being examined in detail with regard to the feasible options. Thanks to our advice, sellers and buyers receive a precise idea of specifications and possibilities in milieu protection areas.

  • Recognising scopes for action
    Identify and use rights
  • Timing as a crucial parameter
    We tighten processes
  • Advising seller and buyer
    Strategies for purchase contract design and avoidance agreements
  • Finger on the pulse
    The best milieu protection map in Berlin

Since 2021, Berlin's districts have no longer been allowed to apply their pre-purchase practices in milieu protection areas. 

Dipl.-Ing. Almut Guthmann, Managing Director

The most up-to-date milieu protection map for Berlin

Check here whether your apartment building in Berlin is located in a milieu protection area, or whether there are plans for  a milieu protection area.

What we can do for you

New challenges arise for foreign sellers in Berlin. With us you achieve the best results under all conditions. 

Is your Berlin apartment block concerned?

Take a look at the most comprehensive milieu protection map in Berlin. We research where milieu protection areas are defined: In politics. You can't be more up-to-date.

Identifying your scope

The structure of buildings, buyers or sellers sometimes gives room for manoeuvre for dealing with paragraphs §24 to §28 of the Building Code and the right of first refusal of the districts.

Interface for all parties

When selling in an environment, detailed knowledge is the top priority. We advise you on the entire sales process and are the interface between sellers, buyers and renowned law firms.

Sales strategy and planning

Legal processes and deadlines are intertwined and can result in delays or loss of value in case of inexpert preparation and marketing. We significantly reduce the risk of friction losses.

Avoidance agreement

The avoidance agreement ist gone! Nevertheless there are implications on your timing. We give you full advice.

Contract design

A sales contract in milieu protected areas only appears to be standard, but is not. We explain what needs to be taken into account in order to protect buyers and sellers. If needed, we will be happy to refer you to specialised notaries and law firms.

Our knowledge. Your safety. 

The changing political environment in Berlin creates new challenges for sellers and buyers of apartment blocks in milieu protection areas. We have been specializing in this topic for years and offer a variety of solutions. Our experience is based both on various sales in milieu protection and on the intensive thematic examination of the legal background and routines at district level. We support you in designing your contract. We know most of the details and the positions of the district offices. Where compromises do not stand in the way of the result, we find them too. We also pass on our knowledge to international buyers, which is of great value to you.


What exactly is "milieu protection"?

Milieuschutz is the common-language term for the legal instrument of the conservation statute according to § 172 of the Building Code, which the legislation gives to the municipalities. In Berlin, the municipalities correspond to the districts.

There are three types of conservation objectives:

  • The preservation of the urban character of the area due to its urban design.
  • Preservation of the composition of the resident population.
  • Urban restructuring.

In Berlin, the second point is "milieu protection". If a Berlin district wants to protect an area under environmental protection, a resolution is usually passed at the level of the BVV (District Assembly).

What does milieu protection mean for me as owner (building)?

The restrictions in the milieu protection apply to almost each kind of building measure, no matter whether modernization, reconstruction, change of use, energetic modernization or conversion into apartments. Even works that would actually not have to be approved according to the building code are now subject to approval. In general only a so-called contemporary standard can be produced. "Luxury" modernizations are excluded. What is considered to be a luxury modernization is defined in the statutes (“Erhaltungssatzung”) and varies from district to district.

Typically refused works and measures:

  • changes in floor plans resulting in a change in the number of rooms
  • elevators are decided on a case-by-case basis
  • balconies are only permitted up to a size of 4m² without cost allocation to tenants
  • conversion (into condo) by old owner is only permitted when owners commits to sell only to tenants for 7 years
  • conversion by new owner is prohibited for a period of 20 years
Pre-emption: What does milieu protection mean for sellers and buyers?

Hypothetically, the right of first refusal still exists, but in practice it can only be exercised to a very limited extent. Nevertheless, districts delay the settlement by exhausting the legally stipulated three-month period for assessment.

How do milieu protection areas emerge?

Any citizen or member of a party represented in the District Assembly can submit an application for the examination of a particular area. It is irrelevant whether there are actually indications for so-called displacement tendencies. The District Assembly must decide whether a preliminary investigation is to take place. If this first examination confirms a "suspected area", the District Assembly will decide on the further investigation of the area and issue a resolution on the establishment of the area. From this date, and thus before a final decision is taken, the administration can already postpone (12 months) or prohibit applications. This includes structural changes, changes of use and division according to §8 WEG. Subsequently, an environment survey is carried out, for which external companies are normally commissioned to prepare the expert opinions. Upon receipt of the expert opinion, Bezirksverordnetenversammlung issues the conservation ordinance.

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Guthmann Estate GmbH

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Aufgang 1
10961 Berlin

Telefon: +49 30 69004240

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