Real Estate updates

Austria

Contributed by Graf & Pitkowitz Rechtsanwälte GmbH
Demolition crackdown: Vienna protects its buildings
  • Austria
  • 31 August 2018

The City of Vienna recently announced its intention to reform the building code. Some building owners consider it unfair that strict maintenance obligations and rent limits apply only to old buildings, whereas buildings constructed after 8 May 1945 can be let at market rent. As a result, many building owners have chosen to tear down historic buildings and erect new concrete and steel structures in their place. Therefore, one of the aims of the reform is to protect the city's historic buildings.

Supreme Court manages shopping centre management costs
  • Austria
  • 08 June 2018

Service charge provisions in shopping centre lease agreements frequently give rise to disputes between landlords and shop operators. In a recent decision on such costs, the Supreme Court offered some insights into shopping centre lease agreements which go beyond service charge provisions.

Supreme Court: no change of control despite departure of majority shareholder
  • Austria
  • 09 March 2018

The Supreme Court recently considered whether a landlord can increase the rent if the majority shareholder of a partnership dies and his or her shares are distributed equally among the remaining partners, none of whom holds a majority in the partnership. In the decision, the Supreme Court offered an insight into how to assess the change of control in a company that is not a corporation.

Parliament stomps on stamp duty for residential leases
  • Austria
  • 24 November 2017

In the run up to the recent snap elections, Parliament passed a bill exempting rent agreements for residential leases from stamp duty. The stamp duty on non-residential leases – in particular, commercial and retail leases – remains unchanged. However, these leases are being re-evaluated due to recent case law from the tax authorities.

Another brick in the wall: Constitutional Court reviews statutory rent regulations
  • Austria
  • 18 August 2017

In 2015 Austria introduced an act which allows individuals, under certain conditions, to challenge laws before the Constitutional Court as unconstitutional. This gave hope to many landlords, which saw this as a tool to challenge the existing rent control regulations. The Constitutional Court recently handed down two new decisions on the same matter with surprising results.


Cyprus

Pitfalls to avoid when buying property in Cyprus
  • Cyprus
  • 16 February 2018

Purchasing property in Cyprus can involve a number of pitfalls. Potential purchasers are advised to exercise extreme caution when buying property, especially if the title deed is not readily available, which is a common scenario when purchasing new property in Cyprus. Above all, it is paramount to obtain independent legal advice from a competent lawyer. A good lawyer should ensure that purchasers are protected from these potential problems.


Georgia

Constitutional Court sets out new standard for purchase of real estate in Georgia
  • Georgia
  • 09 February 2018

The Constitutional Court recently considered issues raised in the decision of a lower court in which the legal presumption of accuracy and completeness of entries in the Public Register in relation to real estate was declared in part unconstitutional. The decision may have a significant, adverse impact on the real estate market in Georgia and will be relevant to any real estate transaction, including taking mortgage security.


Germany

Contributed by Noerr LLP
New RETT rules for share deals
  • Germany
  • 06 July 2018

The Ministers of Finance of the Federal States recently agreed on new real estate transfer tax (RETT) rules for share deals. According to official press releases, a fundamental RETT reform that had been previously discussed was not agreed. Rather, the agreement consists of new RETT rules regarding share deals with a lower threshold, longer holding periods and aligning the rules that are applicable to corporations with those that already apply to partnerships.

Sale of real estate by special purpose vehicles
  • Germany
  • 20 April 2018

Transaction structures involving special purpose vehicles, whose main assets after completion of the purchase process consist only of the purchased real estate, are often chosen in Germany. Such structures are used in particular to shield from liability, so that third-party access to the special purpose vehicle's assets is limited. They are also used to facilitate a sale without incurring real property transfer tax for the exit.

Impending terminability of land use agreements for energy plants
  • Germany
  • 08 December 2017

The operation of energy plants usually means securing the required land long term by way of a use agreement. Prematurely ending a use agreement can substantially reduce the profitability of investments in energy plants. Defects in the written form of use agreements therefore constitute a risk for such investments. However, the Federal Court of Justice has decided that written form remedy clauses are invalid and do not prevent a contracting party from terminating a use agreement by invoking a written form defect.

Rental agreement termination for landlord's own use – new case law
  • Germany
  • 16 June 2017

A landlord can terminate a rental agreement for residential premises if he or she has a justified interest in ending the lease. Two recent Federal Court of Justice decisions provide clarification regarding a landlord's needs as grounds for termination. While the change in case law regarding the legal consequences of a breach of the duty to offer is welcome, the judgments also show that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of whether termination due to a landlord's needs can be declared valid.

Benchmark for determination of compensation value for use of residential property
  • Germany
  • 17 March 2017

A residential landlord's right to compensation for use against a tenant who has been given notice of termination but not vacated the property in time is often of concern if the landlord demands compensation to the value of the rent customarily paid in the area. Until now, how to calculate this compensation precisely has been unclear. A recent Federal Court of Justice case has created legal certainty for those applying the law and has strengthened the interests of landlords.


Mexico

Contributed by Santamarina y Steta SC
Prior consultation with indigenous communities: key requirement for real estate developers
  • Mexico
  • 31 August 2018

Convention 169 – Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention establishes that indigenous peoples or communities must be consulted on any legislative or administrative act that may directly affect them. Companies that intend to develop or invest in real estate projects in Mexico should therefore consider community consultation as part of their feasibility criteria.

How to acquire real estate in Mexico: alternate investment vehicles
  • Mexico
  • 20 July 2018

Acquiring real estate in Mexico can be cumbersome and time consuming, particularly for foreign investors. The Constitution forbids foreign individuals and entities from holding direct ownership of land or waters in the geographic area known as the 'restricted zone'. However, Mexican law allows foreign individuals and entities to use a foreign trust to acquire beneficial interests in real estate that is located in the restricted zone where it is intended to be used for residential or commercial purposes.

How to make sure that your real estate project succeeds
  • Mexico
  • 15 June 2018

In determining the feasibility of a real estate project, an evaluation of the relevant financial and statistical analyses is not enough. Due to the complex and extensive legislative scope that developers now face, they must also consider the legal factors that will affect a project's implementation and operation, including with regard to the authorised use of a property, environmental zoning and ownership requirements, as well as the rights of indigenous communities.