GERMANY - German REIT companies have a long list of demands on how to change the REIT legislation, according to the online information portal

Only two companies have actually formed a REIT structure and put them on the market - Alstria Office REIT AG and Fair Value REIT AG - since the law creating the investment form was signed in early 2007.

Several other real estate companies have set up pre-REITs but are waiting for markets to recover before launching them. (See earlier IPE Real Estate story: Financial crisis will affect 2008 result - IVG)

According to the poll, the two existing REIT companies do not believe there is any need for changes to the current legislation.

Other companies, however, have a large variety of demands ranging from the inclusion of all properties including flats and houses in REIT structures to more flexibility when it comes to adhering to certain rules within the legislation.

Furthermore, companies would also like to see the exit-tax, which gives tax benefits to owners selling their properties to REITs, extended beyond 2009.

All companies did agree, however, legislation is not the major cause for the stagnation in the REIT sector but the market environment.

They also agree politicians and civil servants dealing with the REIT legislation are considered to be "competent".

As a separate issue, the two existing REITs would like to see the creation of a separate REIT representative body which is independent to the real estate industry.

"There are currently too many people making statements on REIT issues and with it they are working against the interests of REITs,"  said Olivier Elamine, chief executive at Alstria.