German rental contract
German lease (amount, deposit, increase)
How to draw up a proper rental contract?
What are the rights of tenants in Germany?
Increases: Conditions and amounts
In Germany, a rental contract regulates the rights and obligations of the tenant and the landlord, so it is important to put it in writing, even though it is still common in Germany to sign contracts by handshake. The rights of the tenant are protected by law in Germany and a lease agreement that exists between a landlord and a tenant is difficult to terminate. Lease provisions that inadmissibly interfere with the tenant's rights are invalid even after the contract has been signed. By signing the lease, the tenant assumes responsibility for the rent and the landlord assumes responsibility for maintaining the property in proper condition.
The amount of rent at the time of signing the lease agreement
When signing a new lease, the cold rent may not be more than 10% higher than the average rent set for the district (according to the rent index table). But there are always exceptions. In the case of social housing - apartments built with public funds - there is another rule: here, the statutory rent cap applies.
If the lease agreement provides for a deposit, the tenant must pay a deposit of max. 3 months' rent, which can be paid in installments (max. 3 installments and the first one must be paid before the lease begins). The landlord must deposit this money securely and return it to the tenant no later than 6 months after the end of the tenancy, unless there are legitimate claims by the landlord that are covered by the deposit.
During the term of the lease, the landlord may increase the rent to the average rent established for the district. However, the rent must be constant for the next 12 months and may not be increased by more than 20% (15% in Berlin and vulnerable districts) within three years. In addition, the landlord has the right to increase the rent after repairs with the tenant's consent. In this case, he is entitled to distribute 8% of the total cost of repairs, but not more than 3 euros per square meter, over a period of 6 years. Special rules for rent increase apply to social housing, which requires special approval by the housing administration.
If the contract does not specify who pays the utilities, the tenant is not obliged to pay them. Utilities include, for example, garbage collection, building cleaning, garden maintenance, elevator maintenance, and water, heating and hot water. Usually, this point is clearly stated in the contract and the amount of advance payment for incidental expenses is specified. The landlord or management company recalculates the costs once a year and prepares a report.
Disturbances and defects in the apartment
If disturbances or defects occur in the apartment during the tenancy, e.g. mold, insufficiently sealed windows, defective heating or water supply, etc., the tenant has the right to demand that the landlord eliminate all defects. To do so, the tenant must notify the landlord in writing of all defects and set a deadline for the landlord to remedy all defects.
The landlord may make fixed improvements to the apartment or structural measures, such as floor plan changes, only with the tenant's consent. In addition, however, the law also provides for the tenant's obligation not to oppose necessary repairs, e.g. to the heating system. If the repairs are inseparable improvements to the apartment or energy-saving measures, the landlord is entitled to allocate 8% of the total cost of the repairs to the annual rent. In this case, the tenant may terminate the contract with a shorter notice period (1 month) than in the case of a normal termination (at least 3 months)