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 |  Dennis Wiegard

Built without a building permit - The case of Cristiano Ronaldo

Last week, the English newspaper "The Sun" reported that footballer Cristiano Ronaldo has built part of his villa (415 m² after all) in Gerês in northern Portugal without building permission. The extension (tennis court + housekeeper's apartment) was not included in the original design of the villa and must now be demolished. In addition, the soccer star is likely to face a fine.

Comparison with the legal situation in Germany

The football star would also face all this in Germany. Before a building project is erected, it is essential to check whether it meets all the legal requirements. Under German law, these would be public building law, such as the Building Code (BauGB) and the respective state building regulations. In addition, there are further local building regulations, in particular in compliance with the respective development plan or the local conditions of the surroundings. For example, Section 74 (1) of the NRW State Building Code states "The building permit shall be granted if the project does not conflict with any regulations under public law".

The respective state building code, for the state of North Rhine-Westphalia for example the NRW State Building Code (BauO NRW), specifies which building projects are subject to approval and which are exempt from approval. According to § 61 BauO NRW, construction, alteration and change of use require planning permission. But be careful, even preparations for construction, such as excavating the building pit, may or will already require approval. The same generally applies to the demolition of existing buildings.

Constructing a building without a permit is therefore an administrative offence and can be punished with high fines (up to EUR 50,000.00 depending on the federal state). Colloquially, this is referred to as a "Schwarzbau (black building)". The competent building authority can then issue a prohibition of use or even a demolition order (as in the case of Cristiano Ronaldo) for the illegal building.

It is therefore essential that you enquire about the local regulations with the responsible authority, their specialist planners or with us before starting your building project.

Attorney at law Dennis Wiegard

Düsseldorf, November 2021, 08

Photo: Bridge of April 25 in Lisbon (Pixabay)

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