Real estate – which activities are currently still possible?

On 23 March, legal regulations came into force in numerous federal states, which essentially provide for a ban on contact. They do not contain any explicit regulations for brokers, administrators and experts, so that the exercise of the profession is still permitted. However, there are problems in dealing with customers.

Notes for real estate agents

Brokers are still permitted to carry out their activities at changing locations. Therefore, inspections can also be carried out in principle. However, it is generally problematic on the side of the interested parties. Here there is no uniform regulation. The use of the broker’s services is not explicitly stated. The legal regulations privilege procurements of personal needs in sales outlets and the use of services with the exception of certain services which require personal contact (e.g. hairdressers, beauty salons, massage practices).

Provided that a certain necessity and urgency can be demonstrated, this should include inspection. This is the case if the appointment cannot be postponed because, for example

apartment has been cancelled/sold and there is no replacement apartment available yet.
Change of job to another city.
In the area of properties for sale, an urgency could also arise if financing has already been granted and a delay would lead to provision interest or other costs.
It is important that each viewing is only carried out as an individual viewing. If, for example, married couples/life partners want to view the apartment together, this seems possible.

Rented out apartment

If the apartment is still rented, the legitimate interests of the tenant must be taken into account. Although the landlord has a claim to tolerate the inspection. However, this is not the case if the tenant’s legitimate interests outweigh. The fear of infection can be such an interest. The landlord, administrator and estate agent can counteract this by having those wishing to enter the apartment (including estate agents) make a declaration that they have no symptoms of illness or have not been in a risk area in the last two weeks and have had no contact with a person tested positive. In principle, the claim for toleration can be sued. However, this is not advisable due to the current uncertain situation.

If an inspection is carried out, the necessary hygiene measures should be taken to protect everyone.

Notary appointments

Notary appointments should be permitted in all federal states. They belong to important matters which, in principle, do not allow any postponement, as this can lead to a loss of rights. In Berlin they are even expressly privileged. According to the Notarkammer in NRW, they should also be permissible there.

Removals

The execution of removals is also not regulated. According to a FAQ of the Bavarian State Government, these are generally permissible.

Notes for administrators

Implementation of condominium owners’ meetings

At present, condominium owners’ meetings may not be held. The restrictions apply – for the time being – until April 4, 2020. If an invitation has already been issued, the meeting must be cancelled if it falls within the relevant period. If the meeting is cancelled or postponed, the reason (corona pandemic/unclear risk assessment) should be stated.

Apartment inspections

If a rental agreement ends at the end of 31 March 2020, the question arises whether the manager or an employee is allowed to enter the respective apartment to take possession of it. As long as the contact rules are observed, i.e. the necessary minimum distance of 1.5 metres is maintained, acceptance is permitted. This is also due to the fact that neither the landlord nor the tenant can be expected to extend the lease by at least another month due to a discontinued handover.

Craftsmen

Basically, craftsmen are allowed to enter the apartment. The exercise of the professional activity is also permitted in the case of the exit restriction. If there is an emergency at home, e.g. water damage, heating failure, a broken toilet, then a craftsman may come. However, all work that is not necessary should be postponed to a later date. Where possible, a minimum distance of 1.5 m and the general hygiene rules for handling the corona virus must be observed.