Apartment Ownership Law Team
The members of the apartment ownership law team are:
For further information about the areas of responsibility of the team, please click here:
Advising associations of apartment owners and managers of owned apartments
Parliament has significantly improved the options available to apartment owners’ associations for enforcing their claims to payments arising from budget plans, special apportionment and annual statements of accounts. If these options are made use of, it is possible to avoid long-term service charge arrears. The pre-condition is that owners’ associations take court action at an early stage against owners who are in arrears with their service charge payments.
For many years our law firm has had an established team that deals with securing the legal enforceability of service charge claims and with the compulsory enforcement of these claims against the parties that owe service charge payments. Our standard repertoire includes the compulsory auction of apartments and the enforcement of claims for service charge payments in cases where the owner becomes insolvent.
Advice on deeds of partition
The most frequent questions that arise in the management of owned apartments are:
- What parts of the complex are individually owned and what parts are communally owned?
- Who is responsible for the repair of a particular part of the building, the owner of the flat or the owners’ association?
- Who bears the costs of this repair work?
These questions can only be answered following an inspection of the deed of partition. The reason for this is that every deed of partition contains numerous individual provisions. Unfortunately, deeds of partition are not always worded clearly and unambiguously. Where provisions are unclear or contradictory or where there are gaps in provisions, a legally methodical interpretation is required. Legal advice is necessary at this point. The task of dealing with these problems can only be managed by someone who is familiar with current case law, in particular that of the district court that is local to the given residential complex.
The interpretation of deeds of partition is one of the most difficult tasks for a lawyer specializing in apartment ownership law. Ideally, the lawyer should answer the question as to how the competent court for the residential complex would interpret the deed of partition. In spite of considerable trial experience, we cannot always give a reliable answer with regard to each and every clause. However, we do claim to know the typical clauses in deeds of partition in Berlin and to know whether the courts have dealt with these clauses and what view of these clauses they took.
Providing advice regarding damage to communally owned property caused by structural changes (e.g. attic conversion)
If apartment owners carry out structural changes in the residential complex, damage to communal property is often a consequence of such work. A typical case in practice is the subsequent conversion of the attic floor by the owner of the attic space, where this work leads to damage from water ingress, for example in the area of the terrace, or deficiencies in the insulation and the vapour seal. Another typical case is the subsequent installation of lifts and the addition of balconies by individual owners and the damage caused by such work to the facade or the stairwell. In these cases, the owners’ association is entitled to claim damages from the owner who carried out this building work. In individual cases these claims can be made for up to 10 years after the attic conversion. There is specific case law on apartment ownership to help with the content and enforcement of such claims. Because of our specialist knowledge in both apartment ownership law and building law, we are frequently asked to help in this area.