The recent decision of the German Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof) of 15 September 2023 (in case V ZR 77/22) on the pre-contractual duty of sellers to disclose information in real estate transactions is making waves not only in Germany, but also across the border in Austria.
In practice, the economic benefits of a transaction often outweigh the environmental impacts. In doing so, the environmental liability of one of the contracting parties can have a very negative impact on the economic benefits of the transaction.
Directive 2010/31/EU on the energy performance of buildings (the "Directive") obliges Member States to review the energy performance standards for buildings at intervals of no more than five years and, if necessary, update them to reflect the technical progress made in the building sector. Bulgaria is lagging behind its obligation to meet the energy goals set out in the Directive. To remedy this, a new Ordinance on the technical requirements for the energy performance of buildings (the "Ordinance") entered into force in November 2022, prescribing higher energy standards for buildings.
Buildings with a total useful area of more than 5,000 sqm and apartment buildings located on a single building plot with at least six apartments and a total useful area of more than 1,500 sqm will not receive a preliminary or final building permit in procedures started after 16 August 2022 if the National Architectural Planning Council has not recommended that permission be granted on the basis of the relevant architectural and technical documentation.
On 5 August 2022, an amendment to the Bulgarian Public Procurement Act (“PPA”) came into force, allowing for price indexation of public procurement contracts in the event of inflation. The amendment aims to address the effects of industrial inflation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and amplified by the war in Ukraine. Although the new provision applies to public procurement contracts in all industries, the need for price indexation is most pressing in relation to construction contracts.
In the decision G 279/2021-15, the Austrian Constitutional Court ("VfGH") had to deal with the question whether lessees of enterprises as well as tenants of business premises would have to pay only a reduced rent for the period of limited usability of the business premises due to Covid-19 lockdowns.
The European Green Deal plan was adopted by the European Commission in December 2019 as an ambitious package of measures, ranging from reducing greenhouse gas emissions to investing in cutting-edge research and innovation, and conserving Europe's natural environment. Based on this, the European Commission has adopted three regulations that form the framework for the implementation of environmental, social and governance criteria, one of which is Regulation (EU) 2020/852 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 June 2020 on the establishment of a framework to facilitate sustainable investment, and amending Regulation (EU) 2019/2088 (the "Taxonomy Regulation"), which provides that only those economic activities that significantly contribute to the achievement of environmental objectives are "green".
The Document Filing Act (Urkundenhinterlegungsgesetz), Federal Law Gazette 1974/326 as amended by Federal Law Gazette I No. 86/2021, contains regulations applicable to real estate, buildings and structures not recorded in the Austrian Land Register. Up until now, it has only been possible to obtain documents relating to such real estate by consulting the respective document collection at court in question; it was not possible to make an online query. This will now change.
A recently published amendment to Government Decree 707/2021 (XII.15.) regulating the use of the “Glass Gateway” provides more detailed definitions of the construction activities for which the use of the system is mandatory.
In its fourth decision to date on claims for a reduction in rent in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic (Supreme Court decision of 25/01/2022 in case 8 Ob 131/21d), the Supreme Court has now addressed the question of whether (potentially) offering a takeaway and delivery service from the premises of a catering business during the "second lockdown" (17 November to 6 December 2020) constitutes partial usability of the leased property and therefore whether this also gives rise to an obligation on the part of the tenant to pay (part of) the rent.