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

Since 2016, politics has been increasing the pressure on sellers and buyers of apartment buildings in Berlin. We flank your transaction with profound knowledge and expertise and lead you to the best result despite the protection of the environment.

  • 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
Peter Guthmann

Since 2016, the Berlin districts have been making vigorous use of the right of pre-emption in milieu protection areas. Almost every sale undergoes a review. This poses new challenges for sellers and buyers alike. The buyer can only avert the preemption if he enters into an averting agreement with the district. For the seller, questions of time arise primarily. We show you what scope for action there is for both sides and how these can be exploited.

Peter 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 to introduce a milieu protection area here. We regularly review all relevant minutes of district assemblies for applications or resolutions for the review of areas. Please contact us if you require further information.

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 building 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 action 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 (Abwendungsvereinbarung)

The position of sellers and buyers is often stronger than assumed. We analyse your case and give you an assessment with proposals for action.

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 buildings 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.

FAQ

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?

Pre-emption right:  Districts are increasingly exercising the pre-emption according to § 24 building act in favour of third parties (communal housing companies, cooperative societies, sometimes private persons). When selling an apartment building, a purchase contract is certified with the buyer. The contract is sent to the district office (by notary). The district has a two-month period to check whether pre-emption will be exercised or not.

  • Price: In theory, the districts have the right to reduce the purchase price through an own assessment, if the purchase price is significantly higher than the market value (23% – 25%). We know how to avoid price reductions.
  • Buyers: After notarization the district submits a so-called “averting agreement" (German: Abwendungsvereinbarung) to the buyer. In this averting agreement, the buyer is confronted with a number of claims. These range from conversion stop for 20 years to far-reaching bans on modernization and high penalties for non-compliance.
How do conservation 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

Blücherstraße 22
Aufgang 1
10961 Berlin
Germany

Telephone: +49 30 69004240
E-Mail: info@guthmann.estate