ICREA / WorldProperties.com News OPP News ERE News
German courts rule on Internet notice constituting a contract
June 20, 2012
The Supreme Court in Germany has ruled on the question of whether a notice of commission on an Internet portal constitutes a contract. This was in response to a case where a real estate agent argued that a property portal with an indicator of a 7.14% commission on the sale of a building site (equal to amount more than €60,000) was a sufficient notice and constituted a contract with the eventual purchaser of the site, who had acquired the details of the seller from the broker. The buyer argued otherwise.
According to attorneys for the German association, IVD
, the Supreme Court has now clarified that a brokerage contract will come into effect if the advertisement on a real estate portal contains a commission notice and the interested party explicitly refers to the advertisement containing the commission notice. The explicit reference given by the interested party is determining the evidence for the broker to rely on the interested party to accept the commission notice and thereby constituting a brokerage contract.
The Supreme Court also makes clear that the mere commission notice on the Internet portal is a non-binding invitation to submit an offer and, thus, is similar to a newspaper advertisement and is not a contract offer. Explicit reference regarding an Internet listing is necessary and it is advisable to do so in writing to the customer.