Capital investments

Milieu protection areas in Berlin: considerations for the owner.


October 2013

In the Berlin district Tempelhof-Schöneberg will be two new milieu protected areas in the future: Berlin now has then about 20 residential areas, for which the district administration certifies special protection. The aim of the establishment of the milieu protection areas, based on § 172 code of building law, is to protect the local population of crowding out. On the other the urban and architectural structure of the district should remain. The communities or districts decide case by case which areas and residents structures need to be protected and also are declared as milieu protection areas.

Milieu protection areas: Berlin complicates modernization projects

For the owners of residential apartments is important that the milieu protection areas especially apply strict regulations regarding modernization and renovation. The prohibition of the so-called luxury renovations should prevent that rents reach levels that the tenants cannot afford any more and therefore have to leave the area. The community or the district can also specify which measures are involved in this prohibition. This usually includes the combination of two small into one large apartment or the extension of additional balconies. In those milieu protection areas it is also often not allowed to build in second bathroom or to install floor heating.

Modernizations are not strictly prohibited, but must get an approval by the building inspection office. Allowed are all measures that are necessary for the "establishment of the contemporary facilities state" (§ 172 building law code). This includes for example the reparation of broken water pipes, the installing of central heating or the installation of insulated glass windows instead of single-glazed windows. Energetic refurbishments based on the energy saving ordinance are usually not prohibited - they represent often the contemporary standard of the apartment.

Modernization only with a written permission

Anyone who has recently bought a condominium and wants to modernize it should check whether the apartment is in a milieu protection area and therefore needs a prior approval for the modernization. Anyone who is planning to purchase a condominium should check in advance whether and where there are milieu protection areas in the city of his choice. Hamburg has adopted a number of milieu protection areas, including Eimsbüttel-North and the south Neustadt. In the federal capital there are milieu protection areas in the following districts: Berlin’s Tempelhof-Schöneberg, Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg and Pankow.

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