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The Hamburg state government has pushed for new regulation to govern fees paid to brokers. The coalition there wants to ensure that the agent receives only a single payment, namely from the body that requested its service. Details of the proposed new rules have not yet been released.
German media outlets have run with the topic and according to commentators writing in the “Frankfurter Rundschau” newspaper, a sizeable majority of Germany’s federal legislative wing, the Bundesrat, would support new regulation. The states of Berlin, Brandenburg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Bremen, Schleswig-Holstein und Baden-Württemberg have also signalled their backing for the proposal.
According to the “Hamburger Abendblatt” newspaper, buyers there pay the third highest commission prices in all of Germany. Axel Kloth, chairman of the Hamburg Real Estate Association (IVD) told the paper that “historical reasons” were responsible for the high cost.
At present there is no prospect of any change on a national level. Germany’s coalition of the conservative CSU and the pro-business FDP parties is dead set against the plan. An attempt made by the socialist SPD party and the Greens last year to tackle the issue of brokers’ fees failed.
Since 2010, fees paid to brokers by tenants in Germany have been limited to two months’ rent and includes sales tax. Conventions on payments to brokers vary throughout the rest of Europe. In Britain, The Netherlands and Belgium tenants do not pay a commission charge and buyers only do if they have themselves employed the broker. However in Austria, Finland, France and Italy tenants still pay commission.