Leasehold & building rights

Leasehold and building rights are both so-called limited property rights. These rights are always based on or related to immovable property. Clients in GMW lawyers’ real estate practice are regularly confronted with these rights.


The leasehold gives the leaseholder a right of use of a property. In principle, according to the law, this is the same use that an owner of a property would have. However, in the deed with which the rights of the leaseholder are vested, these rights are often limited. Therefore the leaseholder rarely seems to avail of the same rights as the owner.

Discussions about the nature and extent of the use of the leaseholder and the legal nature of the terms agreed in the framework of the lease are often typical in property disputes. If long term lease of property exists, both pending and new, we can inform you of the rights and obligations of the leaseholder, the limitation of the use and the meaning and impact of stipulations in the deed with which the lease is vested.

In particular, GMW lawyers has extensive experience in consulting with and litigation against municipalities, including concerning unreasonable proposals for re-issuance and redemption of leaseholds but also as to termination by municipalities of such leasehold agreements.

Building rights

An important principle in ownership of immovable property is that the owner of the land is also the owner of the buildings and works that are (permanently) connected to that land. An exception to this rule is the building right, where the recipient owns or acquires the property of buildings / works on or above another’s immovable property.

When the leaseholder has a right of use of the entire property, the superficiary in principle only has a title to the buildings and works. There may be practical reasons to establish a right to build, for example with multi-level buildings where the rooms and floors are used in different ways.

GMW lawyers can advise you on the pros and cons of acquiring a building right. Even in cases where a building right already exists we can advise you either as superficiary or as the owner of the underlying property, as to your rights and obligations.

Further information

Do you have questions about leasehold or building rights? Please contact us to discuss your situation.

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