The Housing Ownership Act (WEG) was passed in 1951 to strengthen the urgently needed housing construction and to enable broad sections of the population to acquire property. The understanding of property was the familiar one: the owner can do what he wants with his thing as long as it does not affect others. Nobody can talk him into it.
In the area of community ownership, this resulted in the buildings "petrifying": only rarely could all owners agree on a certain modernization or renovation, with the result that nothing happened because it was not legally possible.
After more than 50 years, the legislature decided to change this moderately and at the same time to adapt it to the meanwhile developed case law. In 2007, the legal capacity of the “WEG” association was recognized by law and majority principles were introduced in things that were previously only possible unanimously, such as the decision to carry out modernizations. Submitting ownership to democratic majorities felt so strange that high hurdles were placed on the necessary quorum of votes.
However, the WEG is still not optimal. There are discrepancies with tenancy law, which sometimes pose unsolvable hurdles for renting apartment owners. The social framework, the environmental challenges and the technical possibilities have also changed since the law was created. Because of the demographic change, the need to expand and convert apartments to reduce barriers is increasing. In order to achieve the climate goals, the energetic renovation of existing buildings is desired. The establishment of charging facilities to promote electromobility requires interventions in the building fabric, which owners do not always want. The law currently protects the owners against external alterations, because structural measures often require the consent of all or a large proportion of the apartment owners.
A federal-state working group developed its proposals for a comprehensive reform of the WEG. The draft aims to remedy the deficits identified. The WEG is fundamentally reformed.
The complete draft of the speakers can be found here.
Content of the planned innovations
The focus of the reform is on the following aspects:
- In principle, every apartment owner should have the right to be entitled to the installation of a charging facility for an electric vehicle, the barrier-free removal and conversion as well as measures to protect against burglary at his or her own expense.
- Every tenant should also be entitled to such a claim. In addition, unnecessary friction between residential property and tenancy law is to be reduced, in particular by harmonizing the requirements for operating cost accounting.
- The decision on structural changes to the residential complex is to be simplified, in particular for measures that lead to sustainable cost savings or bring the residential complex into a state of the art.
- The rights of homeowners are to be expanded, in particular by laying down the right to inspect the administrative documents in the law and by introducing an annual asset report by the manager, which provides information about the economic situation of the community. The possibility of separating from an administrator in whom the homeowners have lost trust should also be made easier.
- The apartment owners' meeting should be upgraded as a central place for decision-making by extending the charge period and removing obstacles to quorum. At the same time, apartment owners should be able to take advantage of the opportunities of digitization, in particular by allowing online participation in meetings and electronic decision-making.
- The administrative advisory board is to be strengthened by making its composition more flexible and limiting the liability of its members.
- The management of common property should be made more efficient by clearly conceiving the role of the legally competent community of homeowners and by simplifying their participation in legal transactions.
- The potential for disputes in the community is to be reduced by clarifying controversial regulations. This applies in particular to the regulations on business plans and annual accounts, structural changes and the emergence and position of the legal community of apartment owners.
- If a dispute cannot be avoided, a change in the procedural rules should promote efficient dispute resolution. Among other things, the association “WEG” will be the defendant in future in the event of actions for annulment, not the other owners.
I will discuss this in detail in the near future.
Wings for Sophie
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