Usufruct – What you should know

You will come across the term "usufruct" mainly in connection with inheritance or gift real estate. Wondering what usufruct means and what types there are? We explain it to you and also shed light on your rights and obligations.

What is usufruct?

According to Section 1030 of the German Civil Code (BGB), usufruct is the right to use an object such as real estate. As a usufructuary, you have the right to use the house, apartment or land and earn the income from it, such as rent, without being registered as the owner in the land register.

Forms of usufruct

As a rule, a distinction is made between three types of usufruct. In the case of a gratuitous usufruct, the owner transfers a usufructuary right to another person without surrendering the property. This is the case, for example, when a property owner decides that his son may dispose of the rental income.

If the owner gives the house as a gift, but retains the right to live in the property or benefit from the income, this is called a reserved usufruct. This is applied, for example, if parents donate the property to their children during their lifetime.

In the case of a subordinate usufruct, a third person is specified to whom the usufruct passes after the death of the current usufructuary, for example, the children or the partner.

Rights and obligations of the usufructuary and owner

As a beneficiary, you earn profits such as rental income. However, they are responsible for the insurance as well as the maintenance of the property and take over renovations or repairs. You may not encumber the property yourself with a usufructuary right and you may not sell it.

As the owner, on the other hand, you have the right to sell the property at any time even without the consent of the usufructuary. You can also limit the right of use, either in terms of time or by excluding certain rooms from the usufruct, for example. This must be stipulated in the contract. Your obligations include paying for extraordinary maintenance costs such as heating upgrades. In addition, you are responsible for the local authority’s contributions to the local community and development.

We advise you comprehensively

The subject of usufruct requires a great deal of specialist knowledge. We will be happy to support you with a comprehensive and non-binding consultation in which we will answer all your open questions. Feel free to write us a message or give us a call. We are here for you.

Related articles

Financial tips

Real estate as inflation protection for your capital

Anyone who wanted to invest their capital had a hard time in recent years. The low interest rate policy of the European Central Bank (ECB) ensured that interest rates for savings deposits were at a low point. This made investments in real estate all the more attractive, with prices rising and rising. But is real estate a safe investment for your money even in the face of rising inflation?

Read more  
Financial tips

New property tax reform

A recalculated property tax is to apply in Germany from 2025. For this purpose, owners* must file a property tax return between July 1 and October 31, 2022.

Read more  

Our services for you


You would like to



You would like to



You wish

an evaluation...