The dream house has been found, the financing has not yet been fully clarified. So it sounds tempting to arrange an exclusive reservation with the agent. Can he ask for money for this? The Supreme Court says “No”.
Brokers are not allowed to collect a reservation fee from prospective buyers, which the customer does not get back if the purchase does not go through. Such a clause puts customers at an unreasonable disadvantage and is therefore ineffective, as the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled. This also applies if the reservation for money was not agreed in the actual brokerage contract, but later separately. The Karlsruhe judges thus supplemented an earlier judgment. (Az. I ZR 113/22)
In the case from Saxony, the plaintiffs had paid their brokerage company 4,200 euros so that the envisaged single-family home would not be sold elsewhere for a month. The sum should be offset against the commission at the time of purchase. But that never happened because the funding failed.
The district court in Dresden had awarded the agent the money because the reservation agreement had only been concluded more than a year after the agent’s contract. But that doesn’t matter to the BGH: the customer doesn’t get much out of the reservation, because it can always happen that the owner backs out or sells the property on his own, bypassing the broker, said the presiding judge Thomas Koch at the verdict . The customers therefore get back the 4200 euros plus interest.
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