REALWorld Law

Sale and purchase

Forms of real estate ownership

What are the categories of property right that can be acquired? Are there any interests in real estate other than exclusive ownership?



In addition to exclusive ownership there is also joint ownership or condominium ownership (where individual units in the same building can be owned by different people) (Wohnungseigentum), and hereditary building rights. Hereditary building rights are long-term leases (often of 99 years) which include the right to erect and maintain buildings on a property. They are registered in the land register and can be encumbered with mortgages and land charges in the same way as full ownership.

The concept of leasehold under German law is different from that in a number of other countries including the UK. In Germany, a lease is only a contractual right relating to the leased property, while ownership gives full rights over the property.

Finally, there is the possibility of becoming the holder of a right of residence in rem. This gives you the right to proceed with the property as if you were the owner, without becoming the owner. Since this is registered in the land register, it is stronger than the right from a simple tenancy.