An efficient land register procedure is a fundamental precondition for the business of buying and selling real estate in Germany. The introduction of the electronic land register in the 1990ies contributed to this significantly. After establishing the legal basis for electronic transactions in land register matters in 2009, the transition to a fully electronic and mostly automated database land register constitutes the next step towards a future-proof system. The German Federal Ministry of Justice has presented a draft statute on August 3, 2012 for the introduction of the database land register.

DRAFT STATUTE

The draft of the Act for the Introduction of a Database Land Register (Gesetz zur Einführung eines Datenbankgrundbuchs, DaBaGG) authorizes state governments to introduce a database land register – a corresponding obligation does not exist. The transfer of the current content of the land register to the database land register is to be implemented through a multistage process, which ends with the complete structuring of the land register content. This new structuring is to lead to more direct and simpler research and information possibilities for users. Furthermore, the new database land register will allow for the content to be presented in new forms, while the previous form of the paperbased land register will also be preserved. The new presentation forms are supposed to make it possible to reflect land register content more clearly and understandably.

So far, it was sufficient for implementing a land register entry to determine in which section of the land register a certain entry is to be registered. With regard to the content of the registration, the guidelines are rather meager, which to some extent leads to diverging registrations for substantively identical rights. In respect to the intended user-oriented presentation forms and research options, which the database land register is to provide, it is necessary to standardize such land register entries. Therefore, land registries are to be provided with entry masks, which are subdivided into different entry fields. These entry masks as well as the related model texts are to be determined as binding by statutory regulation of the Federal Ministry of Justice.

According to the draft statute, the state governments are also to be authorized to establish competences across land registries for certain entries. Thus, it is to become possible for a single registrar to register aggregate rights, which concern real properties in different land registry districts of a state, which should e.g. lead to a noticeable acceleration when registering aggregate land charges.

OUTLOOK

The draft for the intended modernization of the land registry process is welcomed. If the DaBaGG is being implemented, a far-reaching simplification of the consummation of real estate transactions in the land register can be expected for the state concerned. However, the further course of the legislative process is not foreseeable. Furthermore, it cannot be estimated, whether and within which timeframe the states will implement the new law. It must be assumed that quite some time will pass until the aforementioned rules will actually facilitate real estate transactions.+