Dr. Thomas Schröer
LL.M. (Illinois)
Lawyer / Partner
  • Specialist Lawyer for Administrative Law
Eschersheimer Landstraße 25-27
60322 Frankfurt am Main

Dr Thomas Schröer was admitted to practise law in Germany in 1992, has been qualified as a specialist lawyer for administrative law since 1998 and has been a partner at FPS since 1999. For many years, he has been well known as a consultant for various large-scale construction projects and planning projects and advises major project developers, well-known building contractors and numerous municipalities on complex construction projects, e.g. high-rise buildings, administrative centres and shopping centres, as well as on building land development. Dr Schröer’s work in this context includes process structuring as well as all the coordination and negotiation with owners, investors, authorities, neighbours and other stakeholders. Dr Schröer is not only the author of various publications on topics relevant to public construction and planning law, such as in his position as a regular contributor of guest articles in the real estate and features sections of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, but is also co-editor of the Neue Zeitschrift für Verwaltungsrecht (NVwZ). In addition, he is a lecturer at the Institute for Urban Design in Berlin. Dr Schröer appeared as an expert in the television programmes ‘Murks in Germany’ and ‘Baustelle Bürokratie’ on the channels 3sat and ZDFinfo in 2020.

  • Expertise
    • Contaminated sites

      After purchasing a property or in the course of carrying out construction work, property owners often receive an unwelcome and unexpected surprise in the form of contaminated sites, harmful soil pollution and fly-tipping. The financial implications are usually considerable, not least because the authorities almost always turn to the property owner in the first instance. Furthermore, pursuant to case law, the owner is liable to pay the costs for the removal of the contamination at least up to the market value of the land. We find economically viable solutions for plant operators, housing associations and individuals who own or manage real estate. Even though it is not always possible to avoid recourse to legal protection in (summary) proceedings, we endeavour to negotiate swift, permanent solutions in the interest of our clients. 

    • Listed building preservation

      Conferring listed status on a building has far-reaching and restrictive implications for the owner. That’s because once this status has been granted, all construction work carried out on and within the building – and in some federal states even mere changes of use – require a special permit from the relevant authority that deals with listed buildings (known in Germany as the Denkmalschutzbehörde). We advise and assist clients when liaising with the listed building authorities and other competent authorities and go through their options for dealing with any restrictions imposed under listed building law.

    • Neighbour law

      The high value placed on property ownership in Germany necessitates a considerable number of neighbour regulations that govern the legal relationships between landowners. In both public and private law, there are a whole range of regulations that attempt to strike this balancing act and play a major role when it comes to approving or revising construction projects in particular. Since neighbour law is notorious for its high potential for conflict, it is often a good idea to come to an arrangement where a satisfactory settlement is reached in the interests of both parties. We have built up considerable experience over a number of decades in the negotiation and conclusion of such neighbourhood agreements. This can particularly be seen in the neighbourhood agreements covering many of the high-rise buildings in Frankfurt am Main, for example.

    • Refurbishment and renovation of existing properties

      With sustainability in mind, there is a trend in the construction industry towards preserving and repositioning existing properties. Existing buildings are gutted and modernised. When a building is refurbished, part of the existing structure is usually preserved, but in contrast to renovation works, much of the interior architecture is removed. As a result, the technology, room height or insulation can be updated. Such processes require careful technical, professional and legal coordination with all parties and particularly with the licensing authorities. We have successfully been involved in countless such refurbishments of all sizes throughout Germany and have outstanding expertise in this area.

    • Parking spaces

      In accordance with all state building regulations, evidence of car and bicycle parking spaces must be provided when undertaking new construction projects or modifying existing buildings. To this end, almost every municipality in Germany has passed its own parking space by-laws, which specify precisely what this obligation to create parking spaces requires. In densely developed city centres where there is a desire to ease the traffic by reducing private transport use, this issue often involves a great deal of work when liaising with the relevant authorities, and we are happy to draw on our expertise to help our clients.

    • Species protection

      The protection of biodiversity is a matter of the utmost priority within the legal system. International species protection agreements exist alongside federal and state regulations to ensure that protected species of fauna and flora are not compromised or even endangered. The provisions under species protection law are of huge importance when drawing up plans and making planning decisions, since non-compliance with these provisions almost always results in the failure of a project. We have extensive experience and expertise in dealing with this specific matter – with its high degree of practical relevance – and advise our clients on all planning and project approvals where species protection provisions must be observed.

    • Nature conservation law

      The conservation of natural resources is a matter of the utmost priority within the legal system and is governed by many different regulatory provisions. Impact mitigation and offsetting regulations, compensation planning and what are known as eco-accounts have considerable practical relevance alongside species protection standards when drawing up plans and working on construction projects, but at the same time the use of these instruments is highly prone to errors. Due to the high value placed on these standards, the infringement of nature conservation regulations can often lead to the failure or legal contestability of projects. We possess extensive experience and expertise in dealing with this matter – with its high degree of practical relevance – and advise our clients on all planning and project approvals where nature conservation provisions play a role.

    • Emissions control

      Practically all major projects are now subject to complex environmental standards and requirements. Compliance with them is mandatory, which sometimes makes it difficult to realise such projects. The corresponding permits satisfy both the legally standardised environmental concerns and the economic interests of the investor. We have considerable expertise in managing this ever-changing legal matter and dealing with the regulations in the course of the necessary official procedures. In addition, we advise plant operators in the field of emissions trading. We work with associations to actively shape emissions trading law and help to provide feedback on the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Act (TEHG). Our influence on the normative area of this legal field enables us to find efficient solutions that can be quickly put into practice.

    • Conversion

      The conversion of areas formerly used for public purposes – generally old barracks or railway sites – into building land gives municipalities the opportunity to create new residential or commercial areas and even entire districts. The issues that need to be considered and dealt with here are usually highly complex. We have worked on numerous such projects throughout Germany and have a considerable degree of expertise in this area.

    • Regional planning

      Regional planning is the lower level of state planning at the point where state development planning and municipal land-use planning intersect. Regional planning resolves conflicts involving use of space, sets the regional spatial development targets for the municipalities and integrates municipal development ideas. For the municipalities, the spatial planning targets are binding when drawing up their development plans. Regional planning therefore has to contend with a high potential for conflict. Since any amendment to the regional plan is a time-consuming and lengthy procedure, many projects can only be realised with certain deviations from the set spatial planning targets. We are very familiar with these highly specialised procedural steps and have often worked on such projects and development plan procedures at the point of intersection with regional planning.

    Language skills

    German English French
  • Education
    since 1999Partner at FPS 
    1998Certified Specialist Lawyer for Administrative Law
     LLM (Illinois, USA)
    since 1995Lawyer at FPS 
    1992Admission to practise law in Germany 
    1992Second state law exam
    1991Doctorate (Dr. iur.)
    1988First state law exam
  • Memberships
  • Publications
    Dr. Thomas Schröer
    Bau-Turbo oder Blame Game?
    NVwZ - Neue Zeitschrift für Verwaltungsrecht, Heft 7/2024,
    Dr. Thomas Schröer
    Warum der Bau-Turbo verpufft Das Städtebaurecht braucht keine Reform
    FAZ Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Nr. 58, , S. 21
  • Events

Awards

Best Lawyers | Handelsblatt Leading Expert for Public Finance Law
since 2016
Best Lawyers | Handelsblatt Leading Expert for Real Estate Law
since 2015
Best Lawyers | Handelsblatt Leading Expert for Public Law
2023 | 2022 | 2021
Best Lawyers | Handelsblatt Leading Expert for Environmental Law
2023 | 2022 | 2021 | 2020 | 2019
Best Lawyers | Handelsblatt Lawyer of the Year for Environmental Law (Hessen, DE)
2020
WirtschaftsWoche Top Lawyer for Environmental and Public Planning Law
2023 | 2022 | 2021 | 2020