During the Corona pandemic, was it permitted to only hold a representative meeting of apartment owners in writing? The Frankfurt am Main regional court has declared resolutions invalid in one case because the individual right of every apartment owner to personally participate in an owners' meeting was violated. Today the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) in Karlsruhe is dealing with the matter. It is unclear whether a verdict has already been made.
Members of an owners' association from southern Hesse have sued. According to the information, its manager had invited people to a written owners' meeting on November 24, 2020 and requested that she be given a power of attorney and instructions for voting. 5 of 24 owners complied with this, but the plaintiffs did not grant any power of attorney. According to the BGH, only the administrator was present at the owners' meeting and then sent minutes with the resolutions she had passed. The fifth civil senate at the Federal Court of Justice must now decide whether these resolutions are void - i.e. ineffective from the outset - or whether they can only be challenged. (Af. V ZR 80/23)
The special challenges during the pandemic, such as distance requirements, have posed challenges for homeowners' associations, such as Lothar Blaschke from the Association of German Apartment Owners and Julia Wagner from the House Owners' Association
Legal reform should enable virtual meetings
It is unclear how often a similar approach to the BGH case was taken. “Where there were no problems, there are no arguments,” said Wagner. According to Blaschke's assessments, only a few administrators would have handled things as radically as in the example from Hesse.
The legislature has also reacted: In November, the Bundestag dealt with a change in the law for the first time, which stipulates that homeowners' meetings can take place purely virtually - i.e. via a video link. The prerequisite is that at least 75 percent of the owners agree to this. The approval should be limited to three years so that home buyers are not tied to it for an indefinite period of time.