Declaration of Division Explained: What Is Teilungserklärung and Why It Is Important?
Whether you are buying or selling a residential unit in a multi-family house, you need a Teilungserklärung document. Thus, it is vital to understand what it is and how you can get it.
What is a Teilungserklärung document?
Teilungserklärung (Declaration of Division) is a document containing information about the property's ownership structure.
The ownership structure is divided into three broad categories.
Sondereigentum (Separate Property)
Gemeinschaftseigentum (Join Property)
Sondernutzungsrecht (Exclusive Usage Right)
Parts that come under it
Building facade, roof, foundation, load-bearing interior walls, entrance doors, windows, central heating system, supply lines (water, electricity, gas) - but only up to the individual apartment, stairway, hallway, elevator, bicycle cellar, laundry room, etc.
Everything inside the property, i.e., all the rooms in a residential unit, non-load-bearing interior walls, ceiling, floor, supply lines (water, electricity, gas) - but only inside the apartment, interior doors, etc.
Garden, balcony, parking, terrace, etc. Normally, these areas are mentioned under Sondernutzungsrechts, but not always.
Areas that you own and are responsible for maintaining come under Songereigentum.
Common areas that all homeowners have access to come under Gemeinschaftseigentum.
Areas you do not own but have a special right to use come under Sondernutzungrechts.
One needs a Certificate of Completeness (Abgeschlossenheitsbescheinigung) to sell apartments in Germany.
Semi-detached and Terraced houses in Germany also have a Teilungserklärung document.
The information in Teilungserklärung may not match the data in other property documents. Hence, you should check different documents to verify the information.
Clarify the mismatch in the information (if any) in Teilungserklärung and other property documents before buying an apartment in Germany.
You can change the entry in the Teilungserklärung. But, you need the agreement of other homeowners to make the change.
House Union uses Miteigentumsanteil (MEA) to distribute renovation and maintenance costs among homeowners.
You can contact the housemaster, Notar, or the Land register office to get the Teilungserklärung document.
Table of Contents
What does Sondereigentum (Separate Property) mean?
Sondereigentum represents the parts of the building you own.
Only you have access to the parts that come under Sondereigentum. As these portions do not belong to the common property, you are responsible for maintaining them.
So check what comes under the Sondereigentum of the property you want to buy.
Generally, the following components come under Sondereigentum.
All the rooms of the apartment or house
Sanitary installations inside the property, etc.
Garden, parking, if any (Sometimes you do not own the parking or the garden, but have rights to use it. We will learn more about it later in this article.)
As you may observe, you own and are responsible for the things inside your property. Anything that is outside your apartment belongs to the House Union. Hence, the House Union will take care of it.
What does Gemeinschaftseigentum (Joint Property) mean?
Gemeinschaftseigentum represents the parts of the building that belongs to all apartment owners.
It includes the common areas that everyone in the building shares and uses—for example, stairs, garden, pipes, central heating, etc.
Usually, House Union is responsible for maintaining the area under Gemeinschaftseigentum. And all apartment owners share the maintenance cost.
The House Union uses Miteigentumsanteil (MEA) to divide the maintenance costs among the apartment owners.
What does Sondernutzungsrecht (Special Usage Right) mean?
Sondernutzungsrecht means that you do not own that part of the building but have an exclusive right to use it.
For example, suppose there is a garden you do not own but only you can use. In this situation, you will find the garden entry under Sondernutzungsrecht.
House union maintains the areas that come under Sondernutzungsrecht. Thus, all apartment owners contribute to the maintenance cost.
There are also situations where the House union and you share the responsibility to maintain an area.
For example, only you can use the balcony of your apartment, but you and the house union share the responsibility to renovate it.
So, you can renovate the floor and the inner walls of the balcony. However, House Union maintains the parapet, ceiling, and outer walls.
To conclude, ensure that the Teilungserklärung document contains things the seller is selling.
Why property's in Germany, have an ownership structure?
Certain areas of the property are essential for the structural integrity and security of the building. Changes in these parts affect everyone living in the building.
Hence, an individual cannot own such parts. They should be managed by all the owners together. It resulted in the creation of Gemeinschaftseigentum.
At the same time, some areas are private. These parts do not affect others living in the building. Thus, they can be owned by individuals. Hence, giving birth to Sonderneigentum.
Lastly, private areas that affect the overall aesthetics of the building come under Sondernutzungrechts.
Areas like gardens, balconies, and parking require a deeper look. The maintenance and renovation responsibilities are not always very clear for these areas.
Usually, House Union takes care of the outer and structural parts. In contrast, an owner is responsible for everything inside.
3 components of the Teilungserklärung document
1. Allocation Plan (Aufteilungsplan) of the property
Aufteilungsplan is a building drawing showing the common and private portions of the property in Germany.
By studying a property's Allocation Plan (Aufteilungsplan), you can learn the following about a property.
Division of apartments in the building.
Every apartment in the building has a number to identify it. Many property documents use it to identify the apartment. Hence, it is essential to know it.
It includes the basic floor plan of the apartment.
Lastly, it shows the Miteigentumsanteil (MEA) of the property.
2. Certificate of Completeness (Abgeschlossenheitsbescheinigung) of the property
To sell a residential unit in a multi-family house, you need an Abgescholssenheitsbescheinigung.
This document certifies that the residential units in a building/area are separate from each other. Every unit has a separate lockable entrance, bathroom, and kitchen.
3. Community order (Gemeinschaftsordnung)
Gemeinschaftsordnung regulates the relationship between the residential unit owners.
Gemeinschaftsordnung is not mandatory. So, if it does not exist, Home Ownership Act (Wohnungseigentumsgesetz (WEG)) applies.
WEG came into existence in 1951. It contains regulations relating to homeownership in a multi-family house.
Teilungserklärung document for houses, semi-detached houses, and terraced houses
When you hear about the "Declaration of Division (Teilungserklärung)," apartments are the first thing that comes to mind. But, houses in Germany also have a Teilungserklärung document.
Of course, not every house in Germany requires a Teilungserklärung document. For example, the homes that are independent and do not share a wall or an area with other houses do not need it.
But, if a house shares a portion of the property with other houses, it is vital to have a clear division of the property.
Due to limited space, a new type of house construction came into existence in cities.
1. Houses that share a common area
Here we have a housing complex where homeowners constructed several houses. These houses share the complex's entrance, the path to their homes, and supply lines like water, sewage, etc.
Thus, defining who owns and maintains different parts of the residential complex is essential. Hence, Teilungserklärung comes into the picture.
2. Semi-detached and terraced houses
Thus, to expand the attic of a semi-detached house, the homeowner needs the consent of the other owners of the semi-detached house.
The same applies to all other elements that guarantee the existence and security of the property. For example, the house's front door, facade, or load-bearing interior walls.
Traps and pitfalls that you can find in the Teilungserklärung document
1. The new apartment owner has to settle the past unpaid dues
There could be some unpaid expenses for the apartment before you bought it. The previous owner must pay such dues.
Hence, I recommend doing two things to ensure that the previous owner pays such expenses.
Ask the previous owner or seller to get a letter from the house union that no dues are pending.
I will add a clause in the purchase contract that the seller settles the expenses incurred before the property purchase.
2. Change in the distribution of renovation or maintenance costs
As I mentioned earlier, the House Union divides the renovation costs per the MEA of each apartment owner. However, the cost distribution may change in individual cases.
For example, the apartment owners may decide not to share the maintenance cost of the garden that only you have the right to use.
Hence, check the Teilungserklärung document for such decisions or changes.
3. Teilungserklärung is the single source of truth
You can use or have access to things mentioned in the Teilungserklärung document. So, cross-check the Teilungserklärung document to ensure it contains everything that the seller is selling.
For example, the previous owner uses a storage room not mentioned in the Teilungserklärung document. In this case, the previous apartment owner has no legal right to use it.
Thus, even if other apartment owners are allowing such use, this may change in the future.
4. The Teilungserklärung document does not specify who maintains the areas that come under Sondernutzungsrecht (Special usage right)
Unclarity on who maintains and renovates an area leads to conflicts among homeowners. Thus, homeowners need to define such things clearly in the Teilungserklärung document.
By default, every homeowner shares the maintenance and renovation costs of the areas under Sondernutzungsrecht, even if they have the exclusive right to use that area.
5. The Teilungserklärung document does not correspond to the entries in the land register (Grundbuch) or the Allocation plan (Aufteilungsplan)
Sometimes you may find discrepancies between the entries in Teilungserklärung and Grundbuch documents.
One of the reasons it could happen is the homeowners remodeled the building without updating the Teilungserklärung document.
For example, House Union constructs new parking spaces and assigns them to apartment owners. But, the seller has an old Teilungserklärung document.
In the old Teilungserklärung document, there is no mention of a parking space. But, the Grundbuch is new and has an entry of a parking space.
Thus, you should check different documents to cross-check the information. If you find a mismatch, contact the seller.
What is the Miteingentumsanteil (MEA) of the property you are considering buying in Germany?
In Teilungserklärung, you can find the MEA of the apartment you are considering buying. MEA represents what percentage of the entire apartment building you own.
For example, it could be 126 out of 10,000 or 1.26% ownership of the entire building.
So, why does it matter to you as an apartment buyer in Germany? There are several scenarios where House Union uses MEA. Here are a few:
1. Calculating the weightage of an owner's vote during the annual owner's meeting
As there are several apartments in a building, all the owners make decisions about the building's maintenance and renovation together.
All the homeowners cast a vote for every open point. Like any other voting, the majority wins.
But, every vote is not equal. Some votes have more weightage than others.
The House Union uses the Miteigentumsanteil of the apartment to calculate the owner's vote weightage. For example, if MEA is 126 out of 10,000 or 1.26% ownership of the entire building. Then, the apartment owner's vote weightage will be 1.26% of the total votes.
2. Distribution of the renovation and maintenance costs among the owners
The House Union also uses the Miteingentumsanteil to divide the maintenance and renovation costs of the building. The larger your share, the more you will pay.
Continuing with the above example, if the renovation of the building's roof costs 10.000 €, then the owner has to pay 1.26% of the total cost, i.e., 126 €.
Can I make changes to the Teilungserklärung document?
Yes, you can change the Teilungserklärung document. But, to make a change, the change must be agreed upon by all or the majority of the apartment owners.
Once the homeowners accept the proposed change, the next step is to get it Notarized by a Notary.
Depending on the change, the Notary fees may vary.
From where can I get the latest Teilungserklärung document?
There are three ways to get a Teilungerklärung document.
Contact the House Union or property manager for the Teilungserklärung document. It is the easiest and fastest way to get it.
If the House Union does not have it, you can contact the Notary who made your entry as an owner in the Land Register Office (Grundbuchamt). The Notar may charge you a small fee to issue this document.
The final option is to contact the Land Register Office responsible for the property's address.
Under Sondereigentum comes the things that you own.
Under Gemeinschaftseigentum come the common areas that belong to all the apartment owners.
Lastly, under Sondernutzungrechts comes the things you do not own but have an exclusive right to use.
Who pays for the maintenance costs?
You pay the renovation costs for the things that come under Sondereigentum.
House Union distributes the renovation and maintenance expenses of areas under Gemeinschaftseigentum among all apartment owners.
For things that come under Sondernutzungrechts, the expense distribution depends on the regulations defined in the Teilungserklärung document.