May 2020

9 posts

The Ifo Institute expects a massive slump in the German economy as a result of the Corona crisis. The construction industry is also feeling the current decline. This is shown by a study specifically for the construction industry. Nevertheless, the authors also see positive aspects.

Building permits “are not share prices, so the construction industry will get away with a dark blue eye compared to other sectors,” writes Heinze Marktforschung in a current study on the construction industry. Nevertheless, the current effects, especially in the construction process, are “more painful than in the financial crisis,” according to the authors.

The market researchers designed their own scenario for their investigation. The basis was the collapse in gross domestic product (GDP) during the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009 of 5.6 percent.

However, the experts emphasize that the current development and the situation during the global economic crisis of 2008 differ significantly. In contrast to the financial crisis, there are currently considerable losses in private consumption. This is precisely why government spending will increase massively. The federal and state governments alone are currently planning aid programs with a volume of 750 billion euros.

Housing construction could recover towards the end of the year

According to the Heinze study, homebuilding permits will get away with a dent. Multi-family house construction would “normally” have increased by a good ten percentage points in 2020. This expectation was fueled by the increasing number of building permits at the turn of the year.

But according to the current status, building permits will collapse significantly in the middle of the year. However, there is also a ray of hope: the number of building applications is likely to rise again in the second half of the year. “All in all, there will be a stabilization,” the authors say optimistically. The upswing in multi-family home construction remains intact thanks to the high demand.

The study names two main factors for this:

  • The funding framework has been clarified and will be accepted by the actors.
  • There is a lack of lucrative investment opportunities.

Non-residential construction has been in crisis for some time

According to the study, the situation is different in the non-residential segment. Non-residential construction is facing a cyclical downturn in 2020 and 2021. This development started in 2019 and is expected to expire in 2022.

The open question is how the Corona crisis intensifies this development. The residential-like company buildings are likely to be affected the most. Agricultural construction, on the other hand, got away with less losses.

In industry, gravel is mainly used to manufacture concrete. But while the demand is high, the number of mining sites has been falling for years. A study warns of shortages that could get even worse in the coming years.

The supply of gravel as the most important domestic building material is becoming increasingly difficult in Germany. After bottlenecks in the Ruhr area and Hamburg for the first time in recent years , the problems spread to other regions such as Mannheim / Karlsruhe and Berlin / Potsdam as well as parts of Lower Saxony and Bavaria. This is the result of a study by the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) in Hanover.

In some cases, orders for larger construction projects are no longer accepted, regular customers are served first and quantities of gravel are allocated according to availability. “The situation will worsen across Germany because the causes persist,” said the study’s lead author, Harald Elsner. Gravel is mainly used to make concrete.

Germany is rich in gravel – but 70 percent are not accessible at all

According to the Central Association of the German Construction Industry, there is “no emergency in terms of gravel and sand” in Germany – but there is a shortage because hardly any new mining areas are approved. In addition, delivery bottlenecks from abroad are currently being observed due to the new type of corona virus, but these are being offset by domestic companies.

Germany is geologically rich in gravel, but only some of the deposits are available for mining. According to the BGR, for example, around 70 percent of the gravel deposits in Baden-Württemberg are built on or are in protected areas. For farmers, arable farming is currently more profitable than what the raw materials industry offers.

A year ago, the construction industry had already warned that the real estate boom would run out of sand in some places. In comparison to this, however, the situation with gravel is much more tense, according to the BGR: “For geological reasons, gravel is rarer than sand, but the need is much higher.”

Gravel is even more important than sand – especially with concrete

The study cites the composition of concrete as an example: sand makes up around a third of the so-called rock aggregates, while gravel and chippings made from natural stones make up almost two thirds.

The difference between sand and gravel is in size. Both can consist of a wide variety of minerals – if the grains of the sediment are 2 to 63 millimeters in size, if we are talking about gravel, if they are smaller, it is sand. In contrast to gravel and crushed stone, gravel is also rounded.

The raw material is particularly important for the ready-mixed concrete industry. It needed more than 40 million tons of gravel in 2018, making this branch the largest consumer. However, the number of places where sand and gravel are extracted in Germany has been declining since the 1990s. According to the study, there were more than 3,000 works in 1995, today there are fewer than 2,000.

The amount extracted is increasing – but too few areas are approved

However, the supply bottlenecks do not result from insufficient supply. The amount extracted has even increased by ten percent since 2012. Due to private and public building projects, however, demand has been extremely high in recent years. As a result, gravel prices have risen by five to ten percent per year.

With a view to the future, according to the study authors, another problem looms: The approval of new mining areas is only progressing slowly. In the Chemnitz region alone, twelve important gravel sand deposits ran out in the next ten years. However, replacement areas have not yet been identified by regional planning.

Those who work at home now can modernize their four walls more easily. Whether saving energy or building age-appropriate – owners benefit from many grants, cheap loans and tax breaks. FOCUS Online tells you with what funding the state is helping with house renovation.

Refurbish facades, insulate the attic, install an environmentally friendly heat pump – energetic refurbishments quickly cost several tens of thousands of euros. The advantages: With good insulation, you can cut your heating costs by up to 80 percent. In addition, the living comfort improves and your house increases in value.

Funding pot one: Eliminate energy wasters

Because many owners do not have their own funds, loans and grants from the state development bank KfW should help. All measures for more energy efficiency are supported. The state supports individual projects such as roof insulation with a maximum of 10,000 euros. There are 28,200 euros for installing a fuel cell. KfW donates a maximum of 48,000 euros per apartment. The maximum amount is only given to those who achieve the best energy standard (KfW Energy Efficiency House 55). In addition, the grant may cover a maximum of 40 percent of the eligible costs. If you want to achieve the maximum funding, you have to spend at least 120,000 euros, 72,000 euros of which out of pocket. Important: If the grant amount is less than 300 euros, there is no KfW money at all – so your investment should be at least 3000 euros.

KfW not only promotes material and craft costs, but also expenses for advice, planning, measurements and preparatory measures. If you want to replace your old heating system, you can also combine programs from KfW and the Federal Office for Economics and Export Control (Bafa). In order for the energetic renovation to be successful, KfW demands that building owners involve an energy efficiency expert in the planning. The expert confirms that the planned measures are eligible for funding under the KfW rules. You can then submit the application. Because of the higher expenses for planning and consulting, the development bank covers 50 percent of these costs up to 4,000 euros.

Funding pot two: remodel according to age

If you remove obstacles for older or disabled people with the renovation, you can also apply for support from the state development bank. KfW finances costs of up to 50,000 euros per apartment. Alternatively, you can also choose a grant that, unlike the loan, you do not have to repay. It is between 1,500 euros and 6,250 euros per apartment, but only covers part of the costs. If you remove barriers, for example, it is only 10 percent of the eligible costs up to a maximum of 5,000 euros. For the measure itself you have to spend 50,000 euros in order to receive the maximum grant.

For example:

  • Paths to buildings and living environment measures
  • Entrance area and access to the apartment
  • Overcoming stairs and steps
  • Room division and threshold removal
  • Reconstruction / measures in bathroom and sanitary rooms
  • Orientation, communication and support in everyday life
  • Common rooms, multi-generation living
  • Conversion to the “standard age-appropriate house”

Funding pot three: making the house safer

Damaged windows, ransacked cupboards, stolen jewelry – a break-in often not only leads to material damage, it can also traumatize those affected. The government has therefore launched a grant program with KfW for promotional measures that increase burglary protection.

Five areas can be distinguished here:

  • Installation of video cameras, intercoms and spies
  • Installation of alarm systems inside and outside
  • Illumination of windows and doors to eliminate dark areas
  • Securing windows, balcony and patio doors
  • Installation of burglar-resistant apartment doors or retrofitting of existing house doors

Homeowners can apply for a low-interest loan of up to EUR 50,000 from KfW for an alarm system, the installation of motion detectors or more stable windows. Alternatively, there is the possibility of opting for a direct grant of up to a maximum of 1,600 euros. However, you have to spend at least 500 euros to receive the bonus. This is also staggered, with KfW contributing 20 percent of the first 1,000 euros for burglary protection. Further eligible costs are subsidized with 10 percent. If you want to get the full funding, you have to invest 15,000 euros in home security. The subsidy also applies to tenants. Tip: Sign a modernization contract with the landlord.

Who is not supported?

Anyone who has already started or completed such a measure can no longer apply for funding to KfW. The attempt to reschedule existing loans is also hopeless. Holiday homes and apartments as well as weekend houses or commercial areas are also excluded from state aid. In addition to funding from the federal government and KfW, there are also various regional funding programs – for example in North Rhine-Westphalia, Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein.

Funding pot four: Tax deductible renovation costs

In order to create further incentives to save energy, the government has decided on new tax depreciation options. Those who live in their own property can claim this bonus for energy-efficient renovation measures since January 1, 2020. The tax rebate is granted for work on the thermal insulation of walls, roof surfaces and storey ceilings. The state also donates the funding when homeowners renew or replace windows, doors, ventilation or heating systems.

The tax office recognizes 20 percent of the renovation work of 200,000 euros as a deduction – a maximum of 40,000 euros. The support is granted as a direct deduction from the tax liability and spread over three years. In this way, taxpayers can collect the same amount of subsidy regardless of their tax rate. As a result, the bonus mainly benefits middle-income homeowners.

The place of residence does not have to be in Germany

However, the tax rebate is tied to certain conditions: the client must live in the building himself, a specialist company must carry out the work and the work must exceed the minimum technical requirements of the Energy Saving Ordinance. It is also necessary that the property is more than ten years old at the time of construction. And: The building owner must have all measures carried out between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2029 at the latest. By the way, your property does not need to be in Germany, it can also be in another EU or EEA member state.

Advice offers: clarify details with experts

In order to renovate a house energetically, many cost-benefit questions have to be clarified in advance. You can find out more about this, for example, from the North Rhine-Westphalia consumer center ( www.verbü ). You can also call in an energy advisor for advice on energy-efficient living. Information and applications for the funding programs from KfW ( ) and BAFA ( ) can be found on the Internet. Important: All applications must always be submitted before the measure. And if possible, put them in the spring: the longer you wait, the greater the risk that the funding pot will be empty for this year.

Even if tourism is slowly starting up again: Many vacation trips fall through the water because of the Corona crisis. If you can afford it, you can dress up your own garden instead. Garden furniture, hammocks or even a pool – some manufacturers are seeing increased demand right now.

However, even in this industry, not every queue means a huge turnover.

Riviera Pool in Geeste in Emsland is one of the leading German manufacturers of prefabricated swimming pools. The family business with around 200 employees has been in business for a long time, since 1964. Marketing manager Uwe Rengers has said over the past few weeks: “It’s a little crazy now.”

Orders have doubled

Riviera Pool, the public area – pools on ships and in hotels – broke away as a customer due to corona. “First of all, it’s ebb.” But the demand for it from private customers is significantly higher. This becomes particularly clear with the so-called compact pools, small swimming pools about two by four meters in a price category of 15,000 to 20,000 euros. According to Rengers, around 50 of these were last ordered in a week, almost twice as many as usual. And more of the large pools were also sold from the beginning of January to the end of April, 269 instead of 259 – although the crisis in acquisition with exhibitions and days of action pulled the plug.

For the first time, the company has to use external freight forwarders to collect the pools because its own vehicle fleet is busy. “That’s crazy,” says Rengers. “There is still enough money there. People gild their homes. “

Sales of hammocks are increasing significantly

Cornelius Grisar has something similar to report about La Siesta. The managing director says that the online business of the hammock manufacturer from Rheinhessen has tripled since the crisis broke out. This could compensate for losses from stationary retail. Compared to the same month last year, sales in April even jumped 85 percent. “In April 2020 we recorded the best sales in our 29-year company history, and we assume that we will top the new record again in June.”

The high demand also has structural effects. For example, La Siesta remodeled its warehouse at short notice and introduced night shifts. “The big challenge for us is to keep contact restrictions among employees despite the increased demand, and that is proving to be a difficult task,” says Grisar. There are also delivery bottlenecks, especially for products that are manufactured in India .

For Grisar, the longing for the hammock in times of crisis is not a new insight. “If the economy and people are not doing well, our product receives increased attention and demand,” he says. Sooner or later, however, the situation will level off again. Next year, La Siesta will probably be back at the previous year’s level.

An assessment shared by pool expert Rengers. “We can well imagine that there will be a dent at some point. Despite all the euphoria, we have to be realistic, ”he says.

Despite customer queues: DIY stores do not generate higher sales

In contrast, many customers will have to queue in front of the hardware stores this spring. The queues outside did not automatically mean that the cash register would also ring inside, emphasizes the Hagebau chain from Soltau. Sales increases compared to the previous year have not yet been determined. However: In addition to seasonal items such as plants, soil and barbecue accessories, renovation products such as paints, brushes and spatulas are currently in greater demand.

“We are currently assuming that many people will not go on vacation this year – and instead beautify their own home,” says von Hagebau. “This may result in a catch-up effect, so that at the end of the year we will probably be able to generate sales as we planned for this year last year.” If travel behavior normalizes again, demand will also increase reflect.

Every construction site is an extraordinary source of danger. The client is always responsible for safety on and in front of the property. He must limit the risk on the construction site and take measures to protect other people.

But no matter how hard you try: There is always a residual risk, especially on a construction site. Breakdowns can quickly become expensive here. In an emergency, the client’s existence is at stake – or at least the construction project. The insurers know this too: They have therefore developed special offers for building owners. The most important insurances at a glance:

Liability insurance: First of all, the builder is always liable

If a pedestrian is injured by falling components or if a child falls into an uncovered cellar shaft, this can have serious consequences not only for the victims. Because from the first groundbreaking, the building owner is liable for all damage caused by his construction site. This also applies if roof tiles fall on a parked car or a pedestrian trips over building materials on the sidewalk.

In concrete terms, this means: In such cases, the building owner is always held accountable first, even if he is not primarily responsible for the accident. Claims for damages can quickly run into the hundreds of thousands, the entire construction financing is at risk. In these cases, the builders’ liability insurance applies.

Attention : To ensure that the client does not get into financial distress, the sum insured must be high enough: “At least three, better five million euros”, recommends legal expert Christoph von Klitzing from Bausparkasse Schwäbisch Hall. The insurance is therefore valid from the start of construction until acceptance and usually for two years.

Against rioters and thieves: construction insurance        

Chaotic people smash a window, thieves dismantle freshly installed fittings: such unforeseeable damage is covered by construction insurance. “Damage caused by force majeure, design or material defects, negligence and unknown properties of the subsoil are also included,” explains von Klitzing.

Attention : Fire damage is not covered by the construction insurance, this must be insured separately (see residential building insurance).

In case of ice and heavy rain: natural hazard insurance

The natural hazard insurance helps if heavy rain floods the building or triggers a landslide. It also takes effect during floods, hail, storms and damage from snow pressure and earthquakes. “Extreme weather has caused a lot of damage to real estate nationwide in recent years,” warns Klitzing. “Builders should protect themselves against this increasing risk.”

Attention : Fire damage is not covered by the natural hazard insurance, this must be insured separately (see residential building insurance).

Residential building insurance and fire shell insurance

Damage from tap water or fire usually requires homeowner insurance. Depending on the contract, these policies cover the costs of renovation or reconstruction. “Here, clients only insure the building, not the contents,” von Klitzing emphasizes. “In addition, outbuildings and garages must be explicitly insured.”

Homeowners are often protected against fire damage in the building shell caused by fire, lightning strikes or explosions by means of residential building insurance. If they are not also insured, fire shell insurance provides additional protection.

For friends: construction workers accident insurance             

Anyone who lets friends and family help out should take out construction worker accident insurance. That goes through the professional association of the construction industry. “The builder has to register the private helpers within a week and pay the insurance contributions,” explains von Klitzing. The contributions are calculated from the hours worked and a fictitious remuneration that varies depending on the federal state. For 100 helper hours, the contribution to construction helper accident insurance is currently around 145 to 160 euros.

Do building consultants and craftsmen have liability insurance?

In the case of building consultants and craftsmen, builders should check in advance whether they already have liability insurance that covers possible damage. In the case of defects that property owners only discover later, building contractors or the responsible craftsmen are obliged to make improvements within the warranty period. This is usually five years, for repairs and minor alterations two years and begins when the service is accepted. “Anyone who notices defects during the construction phase should immediately complain in writing and document them. That makes it easier for builders to enforce their claims, ”says von Klitzing.

Safe through the financing

Builders should not only protect the construction, but also the construction financing from unforeseen events. In order for borrowers to remain solvent, they can secure their financing rate in the event of incapacity for work, unemployment, short-time work or divorce.

In the event of death, residual debt or term life insurance protects the surviving dependents from losing their home. “In order not to have too little or double coverage, builders should seek advice before building a house ,” says the expert. Many insurers already offer the most important insurances in a package.

The Corona crisis is also shaking up the residential property market. Current trend: Germans prefer their own house more than their own apartment. This is shown by the current F + B-Wohn-Index, which records the price and rent development of residential real estate for all municipalities in Germany.

Condominium prices rose in the second quarter of 2020 by 1.3 percent over the previous quarter. For single and two-family houses, the prices rose by 2.9 percent. Compared to the same quarter of the previous year (Q2 / 2019), condominiums with 5.9 percent are now well behind single and two-family houses with 9.0 percent.

“Above all, the prices for single-family houses are currently still making the greatest contributions to growth in the real estate market,” explains F + B managing director Bernd Leutner: “In view of the historically unparalleled low interest rates for loans , it appears to be more economical for many buyers than renting property that they use themselves to invest. ”Leutner cannot say whether the trend towards homes and gardens is corona-related. The need of many people during the lockdown to add a green patch to their own four walls would at least be understandable.

Rental prices in the big cities continue to decline

New contract rents rose by an average of only 0.4 percent from the first to the second quarter of 2020, and existing rents by 0.3 percent. The dynamism is also slowing in the big cities: Compared to the previous quarter, prices for new lettings have fallen in 18 of the 50 most expensive cities in Germany, such as in Berlin , Freiburg i. Br., Tübingen or Rosenheim. From the 4th quarter of 2019 to the 1st quarter of 2020 there were only 13 cities. F + B boss Leutner blames less the consequences of the Corona measures for the price drop than the “now tightened regulations of the rental price brake”.

Home ownership is highly profitable in the long run

A house also generates high returns as a retirement provision. At least for those who have already invested: Anyone who bought a single-family home in the second quarter had to pay an average of 38.0 percent more than five years ago and even 61.7 percent more than ten years ago. The price of condominiums also rose sharply: According to the F + B index, they have risen by 34.7 percent on average over the past five years and by as much as 76.1 percent in the past ten years.

The long-term development of rents is not quite as drastic: new contract rents rose by 9.5 percent in the last five years and by 19.0 percent in the past ten years. Existing rents developed somewhat more moderately at 6.2 and 10.4 percent respectively.

A few months ago it would have been hard to imagine that a virus could paralyze half the world. There is currently talk of major financial losses in almost all economic sectors. But how is the Corona crisis likely to affect the residential real estate industry and what should property owners consider now?

Due to the current exceptional Corona situation, the number of those who are now predicting a rapid and sharp decline in residential property prices is increasing from week to week. Many “experts” see the collapse of the residential property market in Germany, which they have always prophesied, inevitably coming towards us.

There is no doubt that the current Corona crisis is also having a negative impact on the residential property market. Many a potential buyer cannot or does not want to burden himself with a real estate investment due to current or expected economic uncertainties. Banks are also likely to tighten their lending requirements. And one or the other potential seller prefers to hold onto his secure property in these uncertain times.

But even if one or the other may even long for it – the so-called real estate bubble is not about to burst and residential properties will not suddenly lose value.

The opposite may be the case: As a result of the Corona crisis, new importance is being assigned to one’s own four walls. Due to state regulations to distance oneself socially and to stay at home, the home and garden are viewed as an oasis of security and security. People want to be able to retreat to a beautiful, safe and own home. The demand for residential real estate and the resulting prices will tend to pick up when the emotional factors are considered. Real estate owners can currently be relaxed and so are they.

This is shown by one of our internal surveys at HAUSGOLD. Around two-thirds of the 520 survey participants estimate the prices for residential real estate to remain stable (45.8 percent) or even rising (19.8 percent). In view of the current crisis situation, there can be no question of short-circuit actions among property owners. For 69 percent of those surveyed, the current situation has no impact on their sales plans. In contrast, only 12.9 percent of those surveyed said that the Corona crisis would influence their decision to sell the property.

39 percent of all respondents confirm that the competence of brokers is particularly valued right now. A regional real estate expert can provide competent answers to questions about sales and purchases, thus relieving customers’ uncertainties and concerns.

Conclusion: It doesn’t look as black as many media reports show us in the real estate industry. Residential property owners in particular can breathe a sigh of relief at first.

Deutsche Bahn is modernizing Hanover Central Station for a total of 222 million euros. The extensive construction work began on Monday. It is currently planned that they will last 13 years.

A train spokeswoman said that auxiliary bridges have been installed in tracks 4 to 9 one after the other since Monday. This should have happened by August 10th, during which time the trains will leave other tracks.

During this time, passengers have to expect delays in long-distance traffic: Several ICE trains are diverted and do not stop at the main station, but they also stop in Celle and in Hanover Messe / Laatzen. The departure is delayed by about ten minutes, according to the train.

13 years of construction: modernization work should last until 2033

A total of five track bridges, a platform bridge and a vault running under the tracks are to be renewed during the modernization work. The main train station was opened in 1879 and work is scheduled to be completed in 2033.

More than 260,000 people are counted in the station every day, around 750 long-distance and regional trains run to the station every day.

Almost as long as the Berlin breakdown airport BER

On this Thursday there are still 100 days until the new BER airport is to finally open. Extensions and bad planning had caused the project’s budget to rise from two billion euros to at least 6.5 billion euros since construction began in 2006. Commissioning is now scheduled for October 31.

When it comes to cosmetic repairs, there is always trouble about who pays the renovation costs. The Federal Court of Justice recently issued a Solomonic judgment on this. FOCUS-MONEY sheds light on what it means exactly. In addition, further current tenancy law judgments.

If the landlord hands over an unrenovated apartment to the tenant, the landlord and tenant must jointly bear the renovation costs. The judgment of the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) always applies if the condition of the apartment has deteriorated significantly during the rental period (Az. VIII ZR 163/18; VIII ZR 270/18).

BGH has an eye on the interests of both parties

Basically: If an apartment is handed over unrenovated, the landlord may not pass the cosmetic repairs on to the tenant. The BGH judges, however, have now passed a Solomonic judgment: If the condition of the apartment deteriorates significantly during the rental period, the landlord must undertake the renovation, but may share the costs with the tenant – in the case of a judgment, half. The reason: Even if the apartment was not renovated when you moved in, it is more shabby after a longer rental period than at the beginning of the tenancy.

Tenants’ Association expresses criticism

Criticism comes from the German Tenants’ Association: If there are no valid clauses on cosmetic repairs, the painting work is always the responsibility of the landlord.

The judgment also brings many difficult questions in practice: When is there a significant deterioration? Which cost sharing by the tenant is appropriate? Can the tenant defend himself against the costs?

On the other hand, the decision can also prevent processes: In the future, tenants will carefully consider whether they should use the landlord to repair the apartment if they have to bear part of the costs themselves.

Further current court rulings on tenancy law as well as new requirements of the Federal Minister of Finance for real estate investors and moving costs follow.

Impact sound: floor covering according to DIN standards

If an apartment owner replaces the floor covering, he has to comply with the “minimum sound insulation requirements” in order not to burden the neighbors with unreasonable footfall noise, the BGH recently decided (Az. V ZR 173/19) .

In the judgment, the owner of the attic replaced a carpet with tiles. The step noises then exceeded the volume that was permissible according to the DIN standard. The plaintiff from the lower apartment demanded that a carpet or an equivalent, sound-absorbing floor covering be laid. Rightly so, so the court. The impact sound must correspond to DIN standards.

Real estate transfer tax for buying a mobile home

If a mobile home on a campsite is sold, real estate transfer tax is due. This applies in any case if the mobile home has a permanent connection to the property and permanent use for holiday purposes is intended. Then the home is to be qualified as a building (Finanzgericht Münster, Az. 8 K 786/19 GrE, F).

Landlords are not allowed to pass on all caretaker costs

Landlords are allowed to pass on caretaker costs to tenants. However, only those expenses can be billed that are part of the typical tasks of the caretaker – such as cleaning the stairwell, operating the central heating, gardening, snow sweeping.

On the other hand, the following are not deductible: Costs for repairs in the house, administrative work or emergency duty (BGH, Az. VIII ZR 62/19).

Distance flat rate: there and back?

Anyone who commutes to their first place of work by car, train, bike or as a passenger can usually charge a flat rate of 0.30 euros per kilometer to the tax office . The tax authorities grant the deduction for a 5-day week for 230 days a year.

However, if the employee does not return home on individual days, he may only apply half the flat rate, the Federal Fiscal Court decided (BFH, Az. VI R 42/17). In the judgment, it was a flight attendant who did not return to his home airport and thus home until the following day for a total of 31 days.

Moving costs: New rules since June 1, 2020

If you move for professional reasons, you can deduct the moving costs as business expenses. However, this only applies if the employer does not reimburse the costs tax-free. In addition to documented transport costs, travel costs, double rent payments and brokerage fees for a rented apartment, the tax authorities also recognize other moving expenses.

For these, there are flat-rate relocation costs, which vary in amount depending on whether the applicant is married or single or whether there are still children in the household.

Since June 1, 2020, new values ​​and rules have been in effect here due to the “Salary Structure Modernization Act ” ( BMF letter of May 20 , 2020 , IV C 5-S 2353/20/10004). After that, the beneficiary – regardless of whether they are married or single – receives 860 euros. Each additional person belonging to the household receives 573 euros (e.g. spouse, partner, children, etc.). However, the maximum amount for extra tuition for the children was reduced to 1146 euros, and flat rates for stoves and ovens were even canceled.

Special depreciation 7b: create living space

In order to create new rental accommodation, investors receive high special depreciation for four years. The BMF has now set the exact key data of the funding requirements of the new Section 7b Income Tax Act (EStG) in a current letter ( BMF letter of July 7, 2020, Az. IV C 3 – S 2197/19/10009: 008).

Anyone who submits a building application (or a building notice) between September 1, 2018 and December 31, 2021 in order to create new living space, or who buys and rents a new property during this period, can take advantage of the increased 7b special depreciation. Builders with existing properties also benefit if, for example, they expand an attic to create new, previously non-existent living spaces.

In order to receive the bonus, the construction costs must not exceed 3000 euros per square meter of living space. If this limit is adhered to, there is the possibility of special depreciation on the assessment basis of a maximum of 2000 euros per square meter of living space. The funding can therefore be really worthwhile.