4

Long story short: I am interested in buying a piece of land beneath ours.

According to the "ground register" (Grundbuch), it belongs to two people, let's call them G and S.

Facts known about these people:

  • G: definitely dead (died some time in the 1990s)
    • had a husband (who died as well, after her) and four children, one of them was S
  • S:
    • has moved to Spain years ago
    • might have died there
    • was married when she moved to Spain
    • her husband ("H") might be dead or alive, and if both are dead, he might have died before or after her.

Everything very complicated.

Despite of the land being covered with junk and essentially being worthless, I plan to buy that land because it would enhance out piece of land and, besides, in order to prevent that soemone else buys it. If it wouldn't be covered with junk, it would be worth about 1000 €, but cleaning up the junk will probably cost more than that.

But how can I find out whom to contact? What can I do to find out if S is still alive and where she lives?

Or better: How can I find out about the fourth, the heirs of the fourth, or evidence that the fourth share has passed to the three other owners?

I see the following options:

  • Contact the "inhabitants registry" (Einwohnermeldeamt) to find out what happened to S
  • Contact the inheritance court (Nachlassgericht)
    • to find out who inherited what when (if I even am entitled to get information about that)
    • maybe to get a "inheritance administrator" (Nachlassverwalter)?
  • hire a private investigator – this will probably too expensive. There is another issue about that land: because of the high trees on it (which we plan to remove as soon as we have the land), it poses a potential danger to our house we live in: if the trees fall in the wrong direction, our house might be in danger. So in any case, we might want (and need) to know who is responsible for this piece of land.

Update:

  • I have asked at the town's tax office. They are not allowed to give me that information, and are likely as well not allowed to do so if I put in a request by mail.
  • I also have asked at the "inhabitants registry", but only online. The system could not give me the requested information. But maybe I could do the request again in person.

The whole stuff in German, because whoever is able to help me probably reads better German then English:

Ich habe Interesse, ein Grundstück neben unserem Grundstück zu kaufen.

Gemäß dem Grundbuch gehört es zwei Personen, die ich nun G und S nenne.

Was ich über diese weiß:

  • G: starb in den 1990ern an einem Autounfall
    • hatte einen Ehemann (Ende der 1990er ebenfalls verstorben) und vier Kinder, eine davon S
  • S:
    • verzog vor Jahren nach Spanien
    • könnte dort verstorben sein
    • war zum Zeitpunkt des Umzugs verheiratet
    • ihr Ehemann ("H") könnte noch leben oder ebenfalls verstorben sein, und falls beide verstorben sind, ist die Reihenfolge des Todes für die Frage evtl. auch relevant, jedoch unbekannt.

Alles sehr kompliziert.

Obwohl das Grundstück total zugemüllt und daher "netto wertlos" ist, habe ich vor, es zu kaufen, da es gut zu unserem Stück passen würde, und um zu verhindern, dass evtl. jemand anders kauft. Wäre es nicht zugemüllt, wäre es wohl etwa 1000 € wert, aber es zu entmüllen wäre sicherlich teurer als das.

Aber wie finde ich heraus, wen ich diesbezüglich kontaktieren muss? Was kann ich tun, um mehr über S herauszufinden?

Oder besser: Wie kann ich S finden, ihre Erben oder Gewissheit darüber, dass ihr Anteil an die anderen drei Eigentümer übergegangen ist?

Ich sehe die folgenden Optionen:

  • Über das Einwohnermeldeamt herausfinden, was mit S geschehen ist
  • Das Nachlassgericht kontaktieren, um
  • herauszufinden, wer was wann von wem geerbt hat (falls ich überhapt berechtigt bin, diese Information zu erhalten)
  • möglicherweise einen Nachlassverwalter einsetzen zu lassen, der einen eventuellen Verkauf regeln könnte
  • einen Privatdetektiv anheuern – das wird aber vermutlich zu teuer.

Es gibt einen weiteren Punkt: aufgrund des Baumbewuchses (den wir beseitigen werden, sobald wir dürfen) stellt es eine potentielle Gefahr für unser Haus dar: die Bäume sind so groß, dass sie auf unser Haus fallen könnten. Dies wäre daher ein weiterer Grund, weshalb wir herausfinden wollen und müssen, wer für das Grundstück verantwortlich ist.

Update:

  • Ich habe bei der Stadtkasse nachgefragt, wer die Grundsteuer für das Grundstück bezahle. Leider durfte man mir diese Information nicht geben, und stellten mir in Aussicht, dass auch eine schriftliche Anfrage daran nichts ändern werde.
  • Ich habe auch eine Melderegisteranfrage getätigt, jedoch nur online. Das System konnte mir die erbetenen Informationen nicht bereitstellen. Möglicherweise könnte ich die Anfrage jedoch persönlich (vor Ort) wiederholen.
  • 2
    What about S's three siblings? – phoog Aug 20 '18 at 16:21
  • @phoog They have been in a bad mood with S since beforeshe disappeared/emigrated. My next steps would be to get in touch with all of them (with one of them I already got in contact). But as far as I know, none of them knows anything about S. – glglgl Aug 20 '18 at 16:28
  • 3
    So it seems that three out of four owners of the land are willing to sell it to you, and you're trying to find the fourth, the heirs of the fourth, or evidence that the fourth share has passed to the three other owners; is that correct? – phoog Aug 20 '18 at 16:35
  • @phoog Essentially, that is correct. – glglgl Aug 21 '18 at 7:17
  • 2
    I was puzzled by your use of the word "beneath", but the German version cleared that up. You chose the wrong preposition. "near" or "beside" or "next to" would be better. dict.leo.org/german-english/beneath – Michael Hardy Aug 22 '18 at 17:26
2

Finding S seems to be hard and I have not much hope, if her siblings cannot provide any information. I think the "inhabitants registry" (Einwohnermeldeamt) is not allowed to give you her first address in Spain ("Zuzugsanschrift im Ausland") (§§ 44 and 45 Bundesmeldegesetz (BMG)).

The best option I see is a court auction (Zwangsversteigerung), more precise a "Teilungsversteigerung". If one of S's siblings want money for the land, he can ask for a court auction at the local court (Amtsgericht). The court will get S's first address in Spain (§ 34 BMG) and if it cannot deliver its letter to S, there will be a "public delivery" (öffentliche Zustellung) through a posting in court. It would take a while, but in the end the land could be yours.

Be prepared that the cost for the court auction will be much higher than the 1000€. If you plan to take this way, ask a lawyer for detailed advice. Also you need one of S's siblings to participate in the process.

If the trees are really a danger for your house, the heirs could also have an obligation to remove them. Maybe this could help you too.

  • Thank you for your answer. So far, I have been able to follow that person via the means of chained queries to the respective Einwohnermeldeämter of some municipalities she has been living in (so far, I have sent the third query in the hope the chain will eventually end). The idea with the auction might be a good approach; I'll have to see if the person I have contact with would agree to that. – glglgl Aug 31 '18 at 14:41
  • The problem is, however, that the Grundbuch still contains the names of the mother of the four siblings. I don't know if (and how) it has to be corrected first. Maybe I really should ask a lawyer. – glglgl Aug 31 '18 at 14:45
  • Correction of the Grundbuch is not required at least for the Teilungsversteigerung (§§ 17 III and 181 Gesetz über die Zwangsversteigerung und die Zwangsverwaltung). – K-HB Aug 31 '18 at 14:50
1

To buy the land, you need agreement from the current owners and the burden is on you to find them. There is no way to know in advance exactly what that might require. You suggest a couple of possibilities, which may or may not work, but there could be other steps that need to be taken.

If there are no heirs for some reason (e.g. all surviving heirs were specifically disinherited or failed to survive and had no heirs themselves), the property would escheat to the government (i.e. become government property). But, there has been no determination that this has happened yet, because the Grundbuch would reflect that fact if it had. Still, if you do your search and there are no heirs, it means you lose, not you win.

You might need a private investigator, although there is a sub-speciality of investigator, "heir finders" who might be cheaper or offer terms to pay only if they get results.

If the property has not been sold for failure to pay a municipal real property tax (if it is subject to one) then somebody must be paying that tax. Figuring out who is getting the real property tax bills and paying them may be the most practical clue to finding the owner.

  • Thank you for your answer. If there are no heirs, and the land belongs to the government, I might be able to buy it from them, so it doesn't mean necessarily I lose. The last point about the municipal tax might be a valid approach (but it is considered farmland, so it might be that there are no taxes due, but I will have to investigate again). Thank you for the hint in that direction! – glglgl Aug 21 '18 at 7:20
  • I have asked at the town's tax office. They are not allowed to give me that information, and are likely as well not allowed to do so if I put in a request by mail. – glglgl Aug 21 '18 at 13:55
  • Unfortunate. In the U.S. that is routinely available. But, I guess German views of issues like privacy are different. – ohwilleke Aug 21 '18 at 14:00
  • 1
    @ohwilleke they are indeed. Have you ever tried to use Google's Street View in Germany? Similarly, I recently found that Lufthansa will not give out tracking information about misdirected checked luggage, apparently in contrast to US airlines. – phoog Aug 21 '18 at 17:04

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.