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The (later) obstruction of panoramic view and its consequences


The dream of an unrestricted view of the Karawanks came to an end for two apartment buyers due to a building that later obstructed the view – even though the unblocked view had previously been guaranteed. A case for the Supreme Court of Justice, which has now ruled that the apartment buyers should be refunded EUR 30,000 of the purchase price.

“Unobstructable view” advertised

The seller – a property development company – sold the apartment including carport parking spaces to a couple for EUR 197,000. The absolute highlight of the apartment was the unobstructable beautiful panoramic view of the Karawanks which – according to the findings in the court proceedings – had previously been advertised by the seller in the advertising brochure and had aroused the interest of the two apartment buyers. The unobstructable panoramic view was also praised when viewing the apartment and an employee of the seller verbally assured that the panoramic view could not be blocked. Finally, the couple fulfilled their dream and purchased the property with the until then unrestricted panoramic view of the Karawanks.

Since the apartment buyers did not want to simply accept the now clearly restricted view – especially since they also made additional changes to the floor plan after purchasing the property in order to be able to enjoy the view even more – they demanded a reduction in the purchase price.

SCJ: Price reduction for unobstructed panoramic view as a warranted property

In its ruling (SCJ 20.04.2021, 5 Ob 40/21z), the Supreme Court of Justice (OGH) fully upheld the apartment buyers. In summary, the SCJ stated:

The information in the advertising brochure as well as the verbal assurance given by the seller’s employee (who also had a corresponding power of attorney) when viewing the apartment led to the (unobstructable) panoramic view becoming part of the contract; there was no need to expressly write this into the contract due to the verbal assurance. On the market, higher prices are achieved for properties with an unobstructed view, so that the panoramic view of a real estate is also a value and price-determining criterion, according to the highest court.

The apartment buyers were thus able to enforce their (price reduction) claim and received EUR 30,000 of the purchase price back.

Consequences for practice

In practice, this means that sellers of real estate can be held accountable for such commitments (possibly also made by persons attributable to them, e.g. the employees of a property developer or a broker) which determine the value and thus the purchase price for average buyers and tenants, even if these commitments are not expressly recorded in the written deed of sale. However, whether a certain property has actually been contractually assured (also for the future) is a question of the individual case and must always be clarified with regard to the specific agreement.

Our experts Daniela Huemer and Julia Wagner from the Real Estate and Construction Law team will be happy to answer any further questions you may have on this topic.

Disclaimer

This article is for general information only and does not replace legal advice. Haslinger / Nagele Rechtsanwälte GmbH assumes no liability for the content and correctness of this article.

 

3. August 2021

 
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