Usufruct (Nießbrauch)

German property law allows to split  ownership right in two so that there is

  • a usufruct (Nießbrauch); which is right to use the property and receive the income from it (see section 1030 and 1036 of the German Civil Code), and
  • the bare ownership of the property, which includes the right to dispose of it.

The person who holds the right to use and enjoy the property is known as the Nießbraucher and the person who holds the right to dispose of the property is known as the owner (Eigentümer). 

The right to use and enjoy may end after a certain time period or upon an event. The most common form is a Nießbrauch for the time of the life of the Nießbraucher. Such a Nießbrauch is similar to a life interest settlement, with the bare owners holding the property for the benefit of the usufructuary (life tenant) with remainders to themselves.


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Glossary

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