Ownership relationship

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The relationship between at least two people in relation to actual control over a thing is referred to as the property brokerage relationship in German property law in Section 868 BGB . A brokerage relationship exists when someone wants to own an item for someone else while recognizing his or her better right of possession and is entitled or obliged to possess it for a period of time based on an actual or alleged ownership relationship, provided that the legal relationship shows the conditions under which surrender is required can.

Those involved are - in the simplest two-person relationship - the immediate owner who, figuratively speaking, holds the thing in his hands and the indirect owner , who does not have any real control over the thing, but who holds the property from the immediate owner for as long and to the extent that it is mediated when the immediate owner is entitled or obliged to own the thing to him and when the direct owner does not, contrary to the agreement, become the owner of the property .

While only the immediate owner, who is also called the intermediary , has real possession in the sense of an actual possibility of access, the possession of the indirect owner is a fictitious possession for reasons of public interest, because the indirect owner does not actually have control over the thing.

There can always be only one level of actual direct ownership, but almost any number of levels of indirect ownership.


  • The tenant who received the rented property is the immediate third-party owner of this property. Because he is entitled to possession towards the landlord, but is also obliged to return, he mediates this indirect possession. The landlord is an indirect owner.
  • The custodian is the immediate third-party owner of the thing given in custody. Because the depositor is obliged to keep it, i.e. to own it, but also to return it, the depositor is an indirect owner.
  • Three-person relationship : The tenant of a shop in a shopping center is the direct third-party owner of the place and gives his landlord indirect ownership. The landlord, in turn, has leased the entire shopping center from the owner, thus arranging indirect third-party ownership for the owner himself, who is the indirect owner.