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Real Estate Law

Experts in real estate & property law with specialised industry & local market knowledge

Dedicated & experienced real estate lawyers in Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe

Local knowledge means everything in real estate. Our network of experts throughout the CEE/SEE region combine this knowledge with experience in the property cycle to provide your business with advice customised for your success. From sale and purchase to planning and zoning, design, construction and development, leases, facility and asset management, finance, litigation and tax, we’ve got you covered. You can rely on our hands-on experience in local markets and track record of handling large-scale, cross-border transactions, including some of the most significant property developments in this part of the world in recent years.

“First-class offering in both real estate and construction matters. Dedicated construction team with an impressive track record, representing prominent construction companies in complex disputes and arbitration. Also assists with contracts and procurement for construction projects, primarily in the healthcare and infrastructure sectors. Advises investors as well as property companies on major real estate transactions in the retail, office and hotel arenas. Works closely with its branches across the CEE and SEE regions to assist clients with cross-border and multi-jurisdictional transactions.”

– Chambers Europe

“The sizeable team at Wolf Theiss provides ‘clear, comprehensive and commercial’ advice across a wide range of real estate-related legal services. The team brings a ‘very good knowledge of the RE marketplace’ to high-value cross-border deals.”

– The Legal 500

What makes our team the best real estate law firm for you?

Our regional, integrated firm offers distinct advantages spanning the full spectrum of legal services.

  • An established international law firm with 60+ years of experience in Austria and CEE/SEE
  • A fully integrated, single team of 340 locally-qualified lawyers in 13 countries and offices
  • Collaboration and innovation across multidisciplinary teams and offices
  • Excellent client satisfaction – responsive, client-oriented, and consistent
  • Experience with complex and cross-border matters covering the full spectrum of legal services
  • Knowledge and expertise to add value to deals across industries

Leading the legal field

Our lawyers are involved in key transactions and matters across the region, bringing their industry expertise and specialised business knowledge to add value to our clients’ work.

Handled all legal aspects of complex sale of Polish shopping centres

€1.2 billion infrastructure transaction for wireless telecommunications company

Advised on purchase of tallest tower in Austria

Assisted real estate public AIF in first Austrian market investment

Wireless infrastructure transaction

Cellnex, Europe’s leading operator of wireless telecommunications and broadcasting infrastructures, also relied on our know-how for its largest ever transaction in 2020. As part of a multi-jurisdictional deal-team, we advised Cellnex on the acquisition of about 4,500 sites across Austria; the transaction volume attributable to Austria was almost EUR 1.2 billion.

The acquisition was part of a pan-European transaction and the first of its kind in Austria: fully integrated mobile network operators outsource their passive infrastructure (cell towers/masts), sell them to infrastructure investors and lease them back for the placement of their active infrastructure (transmitters/receivers).

The seller in this transaction was CK Hutchison. The transaction marks the beginning of a trend that will enable the established mobile network operators to develop sources of finance for the upcoming and investment-intensive expansion of the 5G network.

Thanks to the experience of our real estate team working hand-in-glove with our corporate, administrative and environmental law, competition and tax experts, to name a few, we succeeded in bringing this spectacular transaction across the finish line within a few months.

Large shopping centres transaction in Poland

Tesco’s decision to retract from the Polish market involved selling a portfolio of shopping centres to Leroy Merlin. Several attractive locations in major Polish cities, like Warsaw, Łódź, Poznań and Gdynia passed hands. The plans to implement the transaction originated in pre- or early COVID times and not only the pandemic but also serious legal events affected our client’s efforts, such as the sudden expropriation of a major part of the land to allow the development of national roads and an underground metro line.

Tesco had built their malls in the late 1990’s and the new owners will completely redevelop them so that they will re-emerge as a new type of commercial facilities. We supported Tesco in all stages of the transaction and took care of every legal aspect as and when it arose.

Vienna tower purchase – tallest in Austria

Deka Immobilien decided to purchase Soravia’s Austro Tower in Vienna in a forward purchase-share deal. At the time of signing, the development of the 136 m tower, the tallest in Austria, foresaw a net usable area of some 32,000 sqm.

Two public tenants, Asfinag, Austria’s road and motorway entity, and the civil aviation authority Austro Control will occupy 85% of the space under long term lease agreements. For the transaction, it was an important element that we verify and ensure not only compliance, but also help making a clear statement as to DEKA’s willingness and commitment to invest in real estate that meets the highest ecologic standards.

The Austro Tower is pre-certified in platinum according to LEED and DGNB and the future leases will also contain specific clauses aligning them with EU Taxonomy requirements.

Real estate public AIF enters Austrian market

When ZBI, a German open ended real estate fund, took the strategic decision to expand into Austria, we advised their public AIF “UniImmo: Wohnen ZBI” on its first investment on this market, the “Wohngarten” residential project in Vienna (about 650 apartments, 35,000 sqm), in a forward purchase deal. We also worked on the optimization of the deal structure, introduced ZBI to the special features of Austrian tenancy and housing law as well as investment fund regulatory matters, preparing their asset management for the years to come. The project consists of four components that are held by separate SPVs. In this case, ZBI substituted the debt financing of the developer upon the purchase and continued to finance the construction from its own funds until completion.

Tailored advice on all matters, including commercial real estate law, residential real estate law and real estate finance

A local Austrian real estate investor, together with an international investor group, took over the former HOFER logistics centre in Loosdorf. HOFER is the Austrian brand of German ALDI.

We were responsible for the due diligence, the contract negotiations and the coverage of transaction risks through a warranty and indemnity insurance taken out by the purchaser. In the future, Quehenberger Logistics will use the 180,000 sqm property with a 50,000 sqm warehouse area as a trans-shipment point for the distribution of consumer goods in Austria and Eastern Europe.

The developer of a hotel in Kyiv relied on our specialised knowledge in the hotel and tourism sector and we assisted them in the negotiation of the management agreement for the operation of the branded hotel and on the technical services agreement that ensured the building’s compliance with the brand standards and the obligation of the manager to take it over once completed.

We have developed a digital tool that assists parties to such agreements on the demarcation of responsibilities for FF&E and OS&E during construction and for the operating term.

ENERCON, one of the world’s leading companies in the wind energy industry, sold its operational 34.5 MW wind park (15 turbines) in Romania, to Premier Energy Plc. We helped prepare the transaction by providing vendor due diligence, general legal support during the competitive sale process and, once a preferred bidder had been determined by ENERCON, drafting and negotiating the sales documents that will ensure a going concern transfer of the windmills. The transaction required merger clearance from the Romanian Competition Council, which we obtained in early January 2022.

Areas of specialisation

Real estate transactions

You can’t control risk if you don’t know how to look for it. Speed and accuracy are essential to the success of any large real estate acquisition.

For your project, we will form a team of lawyers experienced in who efficiently and thoroughly assess existing legal risks and their possible impacts as well as ways to minimise them. We present the information to you, enabling you to make a well-founded, researched decision with awareness of all perceptible risks.

Leasing

The old days of short and simple lease agreements are gone. Today, they are highly complex legal instruments, the drafting and understanding of which requires a thorough understanding of the business and the relevant sector of rental property law.

Our philosophy is simple: we want to create and negotiate successful leases for your business. This means that we take both the interests of the landlord and the tenant into account to craft a functional lease that works for all parties.

Project development

Every real estate project begins with an idea, and every idea brings with it a question or two. While you’re busy with the creative questions, let us handle the legal ones.

We will advise you on purchasing or acquiring an option to purchase real estate, environmental impact assessment proceedings, planning and zoning issues, obtaining all permits necessary under public law, partitioning and joining of real estate, dealing with construction issues, understanding commercial property law, architect contracts, general planning and financing agreements.

Real estate finance

We make it our business to understand yours. Domestic and foreign banks as well as project development companies and their sponsors regularly turn to us for advice in real estate project financing.

We can help you with financial engineering, examining the regulatory environment behind the granting or receipt of a credit or loan, as well as drafting and negotiating financing agreements and related security packages. Learn more about our Banking & Finance Practice.

Facility management & property administration

Proper facility management is not only a quality element, but also a key cost factor of any real estate development. From knowing the industry and the needs of up to date building management and administration, we can advise you on how to optimise all related agreements by establishing appropriate service levels to minimise risks in the interest of all parties involved and to maximise the building value.

Planning & construction

You can rely on our experience in all types of planning and construction agreements; from architects’ contracts to plain construction contracts, from build-and-design agreements to total contractor agreements, from FIDIC contracts to joint venture agreements. From short and condensed contracts for tasks that are simpler, to long and detailed agreements for large scale projects. We cover them all.

If necessary, we represent you in enforcing and defending claims before courts as well as before arbitral tribunals or dispute adjudication boards. Learn more about our Construction Law & Engineering Practice.

Dispute resolution

Resolving disputes in real estate matters requires a high degree of knowledge and specialisation. Legal systems regarding real estate, property law and real estate related rights vary considerably from country to country. In addition to the law, there is always the tricky question of precedent and how courts actually apply the law.

We can advise you on all types of real estate and construction claims, including claims for securing evidence, claims for compensation, defects and damages claims regarding contractual penalties, disputes regarding building ground and other risks, and claims under securities.

Real estate restructuring

Both healthy and troubled institutions sometimes struggle with their portfolios of non-performing loans and other real estate owned assets (OREO); trying to find solutions for effective NPA management and disposition.

Our Real Estate lawyers in CEE and SEE are specialised in particular in cross-border real estate restructuring, property financing restructuring and real estate work-outs, as well as in the distressed sale and acquisition of real estate. We can also help with drafting creditor stand-still agreements, assisting with the shut-down of properties as well as with the sale of real estate or leasing portfolios, and the granting and enforcement of securities.

Real estate tax planning

Tax planning plays a substantial role in many real estate transactions. With our expertise in real estate related tax structuring we can assist you in finding the most tax-efficient manner to carry out your deal. In addition, we perform tax due diligences, review agreements from a tax perspective, issue tax opinions, advise on stamp duty and real estate transfer tax issues, collaborate with your tax accountants as well as prepare requests for tax rulings.

What others say about us

“Fast direct communication; excellent knowledge in different fields; enough resources to work on different topics in parallel.”

“Open minded and very much sharing values of the client.”

– The Legal 500

“Another client adds: ‘We can always rely on their hands-on experience in local markets and their track record of handling cross-border matters. Their network in CEE is really remarkable and extremely useful when dealing with clients abroad.'”

– Chambers Europe

“Clients highlights the team’s ‘very good understanding of the commercial impacts of contract clauses’ and enthuse: ‘The quality of service is superior.’ Another client says: ‘They are very well connected in the field of construction and they have a lot of specialised knowledge that they use in practice.'”

– Chambers Europe

Get in touch

Whether you need an international team with extensive experience, Wolf Theiss can support your business goals through our profound legal practice.