Requirement to charge fees
§ 17 (1) first sentence of the German Federal Regulation for Notaries (BNotO) requires notaries to charge the fees and expenses specified by law – no more and no less. Under German Court and Notary Costs Act (GNotKG) § 126 (1), fee agreements are only permitted for arbitrations, mediations, and activities not subject to statutory fee requirements. Regular audits by the presiding judge of the regional court verify that fees and costs have been charged properly, where necessary.
Socially responsible fee system
The fee system laid out in the GNotKG (Gerichts- und Notarkostengesetz) is carefully balanced. However, it also requires notaries to provide many services at a loss. This ensures that anyone can retain a notary for consultations or to draft a contract regardless of their assets or the transaction amount. The Cost Regulation establishes a socially responsible fee system, based on the value in controversy, that gives everyone access to notarial services.
Notarial fee laws offer an additional advantage for citisens: the recording fee covers our counsel and contract drafting services, regardless of the difficulty, cost or number of appointments.
A Harvard study from 2007 on the costs, quality and efficiency of typical property transactions in Germany, France, the UK, Sweden, Estonia and the US made one thing clear: German notaries not only provide excellent legal certainty, but are also very cost-effective compared to other countries.