Last legs for get-out-of-jail-free card – Loan withdrawal possible until June 21, 2016

Published 21 July 2016 by GRP Rainer LLP

Anyone who withdraws from a real estate loan concluded between 2002 and 2010 stands to potentially benefit from low interest rates and save a lot of money. Having said that, withdrawal only remains an option until June 21, 2016.

GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London conclude: This get-out-of-jail-free card is now on its last legs. Initially, those who had not been properly informed by their bank or savings bank about their withdrawal options with respect to real estate loans taken out between 2002 and 2010 enjoyed a perpetual right of withdrawal. However, this so-called “ewiges Widerrufsrecht” (perpetual right of withdrawal) is now set to come to an end on June 21, 2016 due to a change in the law. Only those who have withdrawn from their real estate loans by then will be able to benefit from the ongoing low interest rates and save a lot of money by refinancing.

In order to withdraw from a real estate loan, it is necessary for the financial institution in question to have made use of flawed guidance regarding the right of withdrawal. If this deviates even marginally in presentation or substance from the applicable standard guidance, withdrawal is often a possibility. According to research conducted by the Verbraucherzentrale Hamburg (Hamburg Consumer Advice Centre), around 80 per cent of the guidance on the right of withdrawal accompanying real estate loans concluded between November 2, 2002 and June 10, 2010 does not comply with the relevant legal requirements. In most cases, it is possible to withdraw. One typical indication of flawed guidance on the right of withdrawal is ambiguous wording concerning the commencement of the withdrawal period, e.g. through the use of the word “frühestens” (at the earliest). Other deviations in presentation and substance from the respective standard guidance can also give rise to a situation whereby the withdrawal period never commenced and it thus remains possible even years after the loans were taken out to withdraw from them. However, it is extremely difficult for a layperson to tell whether guidance on the right of withdrawal is flawed. Lawyers who are competent in the field of banking law can establish whether the conditions for withdrawal have been met.

If that is the case then consumers should take action, as withdrawal is only possible for approximately another two months. Consumers can still save a lot of money by invoking this get-out-of-jail-free card in its last stretch.