While Germany is generally considered renter-friendly, there are instances where renting in Germany can become extremely challenging due to landlords who can be a major source of frustration. These landlords may terminate your rental contract, withhold your deposit, and even demand payment for additional costs, making the renting experience in Germany a significant hassle.
Rental Apartments in Germany: What are your rights?
Contract Termination in Rental Apartments in Germany
If certain conditions are met, landlords can end your rental contract In Germany. They can cancel your contract without giving notice as part of a special termination. Thankfully they cannot do this via email or SMS. Your Landlord has to do this in writing. The letter also needs to be signed by the landlord and must clearly state the reason for ending the tenancy and how much notice the tenant needs to move out.
Notice Period in Germany
The amount of notice required depends on how long the tenant has been living there. If you have lived in the rental for less than five years, the notice period is three months. If you have rented for a period between five and eight years, the notice period is six months. And if you have lived in the rental for more than eight years, the notice period is nine months.
Why your German Landlord can terminate your contract
Reasons for ending the tenancy can include: the tenant breaking the rental agreement or the landlord needing the property for personal use. Termination without notice can happen if the tenant sublets the property without permission, intentionally damages or neglects the property, or repeatedly doesn’t pay rent.
Deposit Payments (Kaution) for Renting in Germany
Your landlord has a legal right to demand a deposit payment from you as a tenant. This rental deposit can be up to three times the monthly rent but not more than that. This amount is refunded when you leave as a tenant. But this amount might not be refunded to you as soon as you leave.
How long does it take to get your Kaution back?
Since the nebenkosten or the additional costs are billed annually , your landlord may withhold a reasonable part or even the whole deposit amount for up to 12 months.
This gives time to the landlord to find any damage when the apartment is handed over and to determine whether they have received the last rent and operating cost payments on time. Only after this period has expired, do you, the tenant have the opportunity to file a lawsuit against your Landlord if they do not return the deposit.
Ultimately, the rental deposit does not need to be paid until you have vacated the unit, any outstanding repairs have been completed, and any outstanding costs have been settled.
Increase of Rent in German Rental housing
Your landlord, has the option of raising the rent to the usual local rate in accordance with Section 558 of the German Civil Code, based on the net rent.
According to section 558, the rent increase must be sent in text form – as a letter or by e-mail. Landlords can increase the rent if they have a reason, such as the rent index for the area going up. They can only increase the rent 15 months after the tenant moves in. If the property is in an area with rent control, the landlord needs to be careful when increasing the rent for new tenants.
Operating Expenses for Renters in Germany
Your landlord in Germany can even charge you for the operating costs. Some extra costs that landlords can charge for include sewage, property tax, Elevator, Street Cleaning, Building cleaning, Lighting, Property and Liability insurance, TV or cable fees and many others. These costs need to be explained in detail when the landlord sends the bill for utilities.
That said Landlords can only charge tenants for extra costs if they agreed to them in the rental agreement.
Renting in Germany: Lost Key
The landlord is obliged to give the tenant all the keys to the apartment. This includes not only house and apartment keys, but also the keys for the basement, for the underground car park or the garage and the mailbox key. If tenants voluntarily provide the landlord with a second key , this does not entitle the landlord to enter the apartment without the tenant’s consent.
Who pays for Lost Key as a Renter in Germany?
If a key is lost , you as a tenant must notify the landlord immediately and and bear the replacement costs. This can be very expensive. But here Liability Insurance can save you a lot of money. Thankfully Adam Riese offers Liability insurance that covers expenses for Lost Key.
Laws on Keeping Pets in Germany
A general ban on keeping pets in the rental agreement is not permitted. Small animals may also be kept without the landlord’s permission. Examples of small animals are fish, hamsters, guinea pigs, parakeets, and rabbits. The keeping of ferrets and ornamental birds may be prohibited due to loud animal noise or pollution. As far as keeping dogs and cats in a rental property in Germany, Your landlord can decide on a case-by-case basis whether to grant permission or not.
Landlord’s right of inspection in Germany
Landlords have the right to inspect the property if they have a specific reason. Possible reasons are the detection of defects or damage when repairs are necessary.
Landlords have the right to show the property to potential tenants or buyers, even if it’s being rented out or sold. But they can’t do long or frequent viewings. They need to give notice ahead of time, usually a few days. If they need to read the heat cost, they need to give 10-14 days’ notice. If there’s urgent work that needs to be done, like repairs, they only need to give 24 hours’ notice.
Landlords cannot enter without permission
Thankfully There is no general inspection right for landlords. That is why it is essential to know what your Landlord absolutely cannot do. Learn more about them in my article on the 9 Rights as a Renter in Germany that you must know
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Disclaimer: None of the content in this article is meant to be considered as investment advice, as I am not a financial expert and am only sharing my experience with stock investing. The information is based on my own research and is only accurate at the time of posting this article but may not be accurate at the time you are reading it.