It is becoming ever rarer for households to comprise more than three people. The traditional family constellation of father-mother-child is increasingly giving way to single-person and two-person households. This trend has existed for some time and has a major impact on the housing market. One the one hand, households are growing ever smaller; on the other, the overall number of households is growing ever bigger. Does it currently make sense for owners and landlords to alter the layout of their multi-room apartments?
Finding the right tenant or buyer for an apartment is not easy in the current deluge in demand. It also makes sense to adapt apartments in line with the developments in demand. Here, one should take account of changing demographics and age structures. Given the strong growth in smaller households, one- to three-room apartments are easier to sell and let. Some landlords and owners are therefore happy to alter the layout of their apartments.
Conflict with existing tenants
If the apartment is currently still tenanted, one must take account of tenants’ possible reactions. Construction work has a big impact, especially if tenants are forced to use an interim apartment during the construction period. In addition, rents often go up after such work has been completed. Disputes may have to be resolved in court. In a worst-case scenario, landlords may incur huge costs and the apartment may need to be restored to its original condition in line with the court’s ruling. Protracted legal disputes can also needlessly draw out the time the project takes to complete.
Taking account of regulations
Changes to an apartment’s layout should always be considered carefully. Under certain conditions, tenants must tolerate such changes. However, the benefits to the tenant arising from the alterations must outweigh the drawbacks. For example, if a bathroom is to be made bigger or smaller, tenants are less able to enforce their objection in law. One should therefore check whether a specific alteration is in line with construction law. An estate agent will be able to advise owners on the current situation and the challenges they face with a proposed alteration.
Rental apartments vs owner-occupied apartments
Interventions such as rent caps and rent freezes make life difficult for landlords. Is it then currently worth letting your apartment? For some property owners, selling their owner-occupied apartment sometimes seems to be the better solution. However, the Building Land Mobilisation Act was passed in May, with the intention of limiting the conversion of rental accommodation into owner-occupied apartments. A good local estate agent will be able to individually advise you on whether it is better to let or sell. They will also be able to support and advise you when converting owner-occupied apartments, as well as assist you in finding the right buyer.
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Legal note: This article does not constitute tax or legal advice in individual cases. Please have the facts of your specific individual case clarified by a lawyer and/or tax advisor.
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