Denied ground under their feet: court error drives family into ruin

Because the competent district court made a mistake, a family suddenly no longer owns the property on which they had built a house.

Denied ground under their feet: court error drives family into ruin

Because the competent district court made a mistake, a family suddenly no longer owns the property on which they had built a house. A ruinous legal battle follows, which slowly seems to be coming to a sad end.

In April 2010, the Walter family bought a property in a village in Brandenburg. The first daughter had just been born, the family is looking for affordable land and finds it: a thousand square meters, on a hillside. The village of Rangsdorf nestles on a lake, a good 11,500 people live there, Berlin is only half an hour away. At a foreclosure auction in front of the district court of Luckenwalde, Kristin Walter bids the highest sum and gets the bid for the piece of land that four months later, according to the land register entry, also officially belongs to her.

The family begins building the house on the site that they will move into two years later. That's what the Walters say on a blog on the Internet, that's what rbb and ZDF report, that's what "Welt" writes. Of course, the Walters do not owe this prominence to their untroubled family happiness. Her luck, however, only makes everything that comes after that worse.

Three months after moving in, the previous owner of the property reported to the district court in Luckenwalde. According to rbb, it is a US manager with roots in Germany. He had inherited the property from his great-aunt, probably together with debts that were outstanding with the city of Freiburg im Breisgau. Because he initially knew nothing about his inheritance, the American neither settled the open claims from Freiburg nor took care of the inherited land.

However, because the city of Freiburg wanted their money back, the property in Rangsdorf was foreclosed upon, at the end of which the Walters felt they were the new owners. But there is a catch that the Walters don't know about: the district court did not inform the heirs about the foreclosure sale. According to rbb information, the man could not be found, probably because of his widespread name and because he had moved several times in the run-up to the auction.

Only a short time later, however, the American learned of his inheritance and lodged a complaint against the auction. In November 2013, the district court in Luckenwalde rejected the complaint - it went to the regional court in Potsdam. That will be decided in the following spring. According to their own statements, the Walters received a letter from Potsdam during their honeymoon, almost two years after moving in: The house in which they live with their two daughters, the property for which they owed money - none of this is theirs anymore Property.

The district court in Luckenwalde should have written to the heirs before the auction, says Potsdam. The auction was not legal - the auctioned property belongs to the manager from the USA, together with the house that stands on it. "If the legally binding surcharge is dropped, the buyer loses his property (...) again," ZDF quoted the regional court as saying. An agreement is being tried in court, the Walters report on their blog. But it doesn't seem to have worked:

A long legal battle begins. According to rbb, the heir is suing the family for monthly compensation. The District Court dismissed the claim. According to the report, in the years after the shock verdict, the Walters piled up 80,000 euros in legal fees, and they even turned to the Federal Constitutional Court - all without success.

Even in the summer of 2022, the Walters still live in Rangsdorf. But it is becoming increasingly clear that their time in the house on the slope is finite: According to rbb, the Brandenburg regional court decided last Thursday that the family had to move out. She was also obliged to calculate the heirs' financial benefit from the property.

For the Walters, this probably means additional costs - in addition to the 240,000 euros in outstanding debt for house construction and land purchase. The family is threatened with ruin, writes rbb. The broadcaster quotes her lawyer, who blames the state of Brandenburg for this and demands compensation. It is still unclear when and under what conditions the Walters will have to give up their home. They wanted to challenge the verdict before the Federal Court of Justice, they told rbb.