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Surveyor – expert for the evaluation of developed and undeveloped real property

It was the beginning of the nineties of the last century, that I was about to a hair`s breadth to buy some land, the outcome of which contract would have been very unfavourable for me. Although I was lucky because there was no contract at the end, I felt tremendously bothered by the idea that I was totally inexperienced the field of land evaluation and only for this reason had believed in the vendor`s "fine words".

I pondered the matter for a while and then decided to "learn evaluation of property". So I trained myself in this field. First I bought the relevant specialized literature and started to get to grips with the legislation and other regulations existing in the Federal Republic of Germany in the field of land evaluation. For practice I also worked together with a renowned firm of experts (surveyors) in the field of assessment and evaluation of real property in Germany`s 5 new "Länder" or states on the territory of the former German Democratic Republic – GDR. Such evaluations were needed at that time for purposes of the privatisation of the economy of the GDR after Germany`s reunification on October 3rd, 1990. Under the former communist regime the GDR-economy belonged to the state. It had to be privatised in order to bring up free market economy in "Germany`s Wild East" (= nick-name for the territory of the former GDR in the early nineties) as well as in the rest of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Doing so I very soon noticed that the legal systems and the legislation of the former GDR relating to land in the 5 new states of Germany were fundamentally different from what was known in the "old" Federal Republic of Germany. Under the communist regime in the GDR from 1945 to 1990 this respective law had developed naturally according to communist ideals and philosophies, taking over quite a lot of systems and principles, that had been normal and common in the former Soviet Union in this field.

This expanded the range of my learning on the property sector considerably. For me it meant nothing less than to try to work myself into the GDR-systems relating to land and to learn about their respective legislation and other rulings. In addition I had to work myself through the Treaty between the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic on the unification of Germany. This Treaty rules the specifications and conditions under which the reunification of Germany took place later.

Although the Treaty follows the basic principle, that the law of the Federal Republic of Germany applies to the territory of the former GDR as well from October 3rd, 1990 on, it contains quite a lot of reservations and exemptions. So I needed to understand, which parts of the GDR-legislation and rulings were abolished on October 3rd, 1990 according to that Treaty and which other parts of that GDR-law were kept in force provisionally after October 3rd, 1990 until legislation of a newly elected German Parliament (elections including the 5 new states on the territory of the former GDR) would bring up final solutions.

This so-called reconciliation legislation of the newly elected German Parliament came later from the year 1994 onwards, first with the Federal Act on Cleaning up Property Rights (SachenRBerG). It was followed almost simultaneously by the Federal Act on Adjustments to the Law of Obligations (SchuldRAnpG) and later by a variety of collateral Federal Acts relating to real property.

Out of all this resulted in 1991 not only the topic for my doctoral thesis for the doctorate conferred upon me by the University of Cologne in 1992, but also the possibility of a great variety of publications relating to real property evaluation and real property law as well as construction law. Very soon I was acting as an expert in the field of evaluation of real property and also trained aspirants, who wanted to become surveyors, not only in a very great variety of seminars, but also as a lecturer at the University of Anhalt at Bernburg.

For my work as a lawyer, it has proved to be extremely beneficial that I know something about the evaluation of land. This allows me, for example, to check the technical accuracy of an expert opinion submitted in a case without the immediate need to involve other experts. Similarly, it is naturally much easier for me to estimate whether and when the involvement of experts is appropriate in a case handled by me and what results can be expected. This saves my clients unnecessary costs in the field of fees for experts.