Introduction

The German real estate market is one of the most interesting and vibrant
markets in Europe. However, tax, financing and public building law
considerations mean investors must be familiar with the structures
available, which will be of decisive importance for larger investments.

This guide outlines the main legal factors involved in real property
investments in Germany and provides an introduction to the real estate
business. It does not replace the detailed advice of qualified legal counsel on
specific cases or transactions. The legal topics covered here are very complex
and dealing with them in depth would go well beyond the scope of this
guide. Investors interested in real estate in Germany should always obtain
the advice of a lawyer experienced in German property law, which is based
on a civil law system, but also includes case law as an important part.

The guide begins with an overview of the aspects of corporate law relevant
to real estate transactions, together with a description of the relevant types
of companies and associations possible in Germany. This is followed by a
description of the various rights and titles to real estate that one can acquire
in Germany. There is also a section on freehold (Eigentum) and its
acquisition, and some important features of German legislation governing
commercial rental and property leasing. We give a brief explanation of
public building legislation (building permit, public planning/zoning law etc)
– which plays an extremely important role in Germany – and the key
features of this legislation from the investor’s point of view. The final
section covers the key elements of financing and taxation of real estate
investments in Germany.

To read the rest of this article please see  http://www.freshfields.com/publications/pdfs/2008/jan23/21337.pdf