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Law & Finance: These are the tips in June
Law & Finance: These are the tips in June

Video: Law & Finance: These are the tips in June

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Rents are rising, building land is expensive in many places and is there actually a tax reduction for residents' contributions to road construction? Read what you should know in June here.

Rents rise faster

Affordable housing is scarce in major German cities. No relaxation on the rental market is in sight. On the contrary: rental costs are increasing with accelerated dynamism.

Whether Hamburg or Frankfurt, Munich or Berlin - anyone looking for a rental apartment in a German city needs good nerves. The supply of affordable housing is scarce, and the demand is huge. For city dwellers who do not own a home, there is a worrying development: Rents in cities are increasing more and more, reports the research institute F + B. In 2017, the comparative rents customary in the respective region climbed by 2.1 percent. In the previous year it was an average of 1.8 percent across Germany.

Above all, apartments are missing in large cities

The metropolises are particularly affected. Between 2012 and 2017, asking rents increased by 18 percent in Hamburg, 26 percent in Leipzig and 35 percent in Munich. In Berlin, tenants have to pay 51 percent more rent than when they signed a new contract five years ago. This is the result of a data analysis by the real estate portal Immowelt. One reason for the sharp rise in prices in the capital is the large population influx. Mathematically, according to experts, there are currently around 77, 000 apartments missing in Berlin.

Besichtigung einer Mietwohnung
Besichtigung einer Mietwohnung

The competition is huge: crowds of people visiting a rental apartment.

Photo: Bettina Less

Leasehold can be an option

Building land is expensive in many places. The acquisition of property under leasehold can often offer a financially viable solution.

If you want to build, you need a plot of land. However, the costs for this represent a high hurdle on the way to owning a home, especially in metropolitan areas. Building land has become significantly more expensive in many places. In southern Germany there have even been price increases of up to 45 percent in the past five years. If the budget for building a house is tight, heritable building rights offered by churches and municipalities often promise a solution. Instead of buying a piece of land, builders acquire the right to use and develop land over a certain period of time (usually 60 to 99 years).

Do business like owners

An annual ground rent is paid for the inheritance right: approximately three to four percent of the property value. For this, the users of the heritable building rights operate on the property like real owners. They can lend to their house for modernizations. You can rent it out, for example to finance your own accommodation in a retirement home in old age. Real estate including heritable building rights can also be sold or inherited. The contract is often extended at the end of the term. Otherwise the tenant receives adequate compensation for his building.

Pay safely with Paydirekt

New retailers, more service - a lot is happening with the online payment service made in Germany: Paydirekt is on a growth path. Around 1.8 million users are registered for the joint online payment process of German banks and savings banks. You can use it to pay in more than 1, 800 online shops (plus 7, 000 shops that sell “Rakuten” in the marketplace). The drugstore chain Rossmann, the Weltbild group and the mail order company Bader recently introduced the Paydirekt service.

In addition to the circle of customers and dealers, Paydirekt is also expanding its service, for example with the mobile-to-mobile payment function. More and more users can then send money to friends in the Paydirekt app. Instead of entering the IBAN and TAN, you only have to select the recipient's phone number or email address from the contact list. Another new feature is the "one-click" function: this enables purchases made within an app to be paid directly via Paydirekt.

The payment service offers a high level of security, as confirmed by the Brandenburg Consumer Center in a study. For example, a special “Content Security Policy” protects against cyber attacks, which is intended to prevent data from being infiltrated into the website. The payment process runs entirely via the tried-and-tested checking account, without an external third party being involved. Sensitive data such as the account number remain in the secure banking environment. In addition, Paydirekt does not use data for advertising purposes or to create individual behavior profiles.

Paydirekt
Paydirekt

Paydirekt continues to establish itself: the number of retailers tripled in 2017 and continues to grow.

Photo: Paydirekt GmbH

Voice banking is coming: Sparkassen are the pioneers

The Sparkassen are the first financial service providers in Germany to offer account access by voice. In the smart home, residents operate the lights, heating and electrical devices by voice command. Soon, many will be able to ask their digital assistants for additional account balances and sales: Because the savings banks are bringing voice banking to Germany with the "Sparkasse Banking Action" (a kind of app). Sparkasse Stade-Altes Land is a pioneer.

Okay Google, what is my account balance?

In order to access their account by voice, customers need access to online banking, a Google account and a smartphone or a smart speaker with Google Assistant (e.g. Google Home). With the title "Okay, Google", users activate the digital assistant; the command “Ask Sparkasse Banking for my account balance!” brings up the information you want. Additional functions are to be added in the course of the year, such as signature-free transfers.

More details

Interested parties can find precise information on functions, installation and security on the website of their own Sparkasse - if this already offers voice banking. After the pioneers in the north (Stade-Altes Land followed by the Sparkasse Bad Pyrmont), more and more are doing that. "For us, language is the preferred medium if it should be quick and easy, " says Andreas Schelling from Finanz Informatik, IT service provider of the Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe. Therefore, access to the account by voice will be normal in the future.

Voice-Banking
Voice-Banking

Customers can access their account information using the Google Assistant voice assistant.

Photo: DPA Picture Alliance / B. Pedersen

Welcome to the hotspot: liability for interference abolished

After a change in the law, landlords can now offer a web connection without any legal risk.

Many also want to surf the Internet on vacation. Three quarters of all people in Germany (73 percent) take care when choosing their accommodation that wireless Internet access is available. So far, many private landlords have been reluctant to give their guests web access: they fear expensive warnings if their guests illegally download music or films from the Internet. With the abolition of so-called interference liability, the legislator has now created legal security for private hotspot providers too: Anyone who offers others Internet access is no longer liable if a user does something illegal online.

Internet-Hotspot
Internet-Hotspot

Internet access enhances the holiday property, because many take their notebook with them on vacation.

/ Olhastock

Four judgments you should know

Tenant must pay compensation immediately

The landlord can immediately demand compensation for damage to the rented property without having given the tenant a deadline to rectify the damage. The Federal Court of Justice recently ruled. After the tenancy ended, a landlord had claimed damages of a good 5, 000 euros. Among other things, his tenant was responsible for mold infestation in several rooms, the removal of which also led to a five-month loss of rent. The Federal Court of Justice found the landlord right. If the damage to the rental property is based on the fact that the tenant does not treat the apartment with care and care, the landlord has the choice: he can either repair the damage or claim damages. The landlord only has to give a deadline for repairing the damage if it concerns contractually agreed cosmetic repairs.

Case number VII ZR 157/17

There is no tax reduction for residents' contributions to road construction

The owner of a property in the district of Cochem-Zell on the Moselle had to pay around 8, 700 euros for the expansion of sidewalks and street lighting. In her tax return, she claimed the estimated wage share of around 5, 300 euros as a household-related artisan benefit. The tax office refused the requested tax reduction, whereupon the owner went to court. Without success. The Rhineland-Palatinate Finance Court dismissed the complaint on the following grounds: Household handicraft benefits under Section 35a III of the Income Tax Act require a spatial and functional relationship between the measure and the taxpayer's household. The present case concerned sidewalks and street lamps, and these serve the general public, regardless of the applicant's household.

Case number 1 K 1650/17

Straßenbau
Straßenbau

Household craftsman services according to § 35a III income tax law require a spatial-functional connection.

Photo: Fotolia

Real estate purchase: Reservation agreement without a notarial deed ineffective

Attractive objects are sold quickly. A Munich resident interested in an apartment in Berlin (141, 000 euros) signed a reservation agreement and paid a reservation fee of 3, 000 euros. Since the parties were unable to agree on the final price, the seller broke off the negotiations. Although the purchase failed, the seller wanted to keep the reservation fee. The Munich Financial Court declared the reservation agreement null and void due to formal errors. In any case, a notarial certification must take place if the reservation fee, as in the present case, exceeds 10 to 15 percent of the brokerage commission due.

Case number 191 C 28518/15

Are the chickens cackling? That is reasonable in the village

Chicken and rooster are part of country life. In the village area, house owners have to tolerate that the neighbor keeps chickens, the administrative court in Neustadt decided. A property owner from the 125-person community of Sion sued the district of Donnersberg, who had approved the construction of a chicken coop for up to ten chickens and a rooster on the neighboring property. The plaintiff felt disturbed by the cackling and crowing. In addition, an unreasonable odor nuisance would come from the poultry. Because of the stench that penetrates the basement through the windows, it is no longer possible to store food here. The judges dismissed the lawsuit, but made the following recommendation: In order to reduce the noise and smell, the plaintiff should close the windows to the neighboring property.

Case number 4 K 419/17

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