Amt für Wohnungswesen to Save Costs and Secure Evidence

Apartments and houses are not always in good shape. Whenever the landlord is in dispute with his tenant or vice versa, it can be of advantage to have evidence of the condition of the dwelling. Generally, you have to hire an expert and that is not cheap. An administrative office in some  states of Germany, the Amt für Wohnungswesen, Office for Housing Affairs, has the responsibility  that the owner of a house maintains a minimum on refurbishment and so ensure orderly use of the apartment or house. This office has also the power to fine proprietors and tenants.


Having the task of monitoring the quality of housing for persons, this office will make sure that reasonable and necessary measures are taken to assure the general safety of a resident. The municipality may order – via a Directive – that this standard be achieved or upheld. The following states have such an office:

  • NRW,
  • Hessisches Wohnungsaufsichtsgesetz (HWoAufG),
  • Gesetz zur Beseitigung von Wohnungsmissständen in Berlin (WoAufG Bln),
  • Bayern Wohnungsaufsichtsgesetz,
  • Bremen Wohnungsaufsichtsgesetz.

Requirements for a Directive

A directive requires that the use for living purposes is significantly endangered. As an example, §5 II Wohnungsaufsichtsgesetz determines a building is especially then endangered, when

  • roofs, walls, ceiling, floors, windows or doors offer no sufficient protection against exposure to weather or against moisture,
  • fireplaces, heating system or their connections to chimneys cannot be properly used,
  • stairs, or lighting systems inside generally accessible rooms cannot be ordinarily used, or
  • water connections, toilets or bathrooms cannot be ordinarily used.

The danger of a considerable impairment may especially be caused by a constant neglect of necessary repairs and maintenance. Whenever the structural condition of apartment houses, apartments, or rooms does not meet the minimum requirements forbearable living conditions, the municipality may order the owner to refurbish the dwelling. The minimum requirements have especially not met when

  • the possibility of installing an oven, heating, or electric lighting, or appliances is missing or is out of order,
  • water supply, sink, or toilet are missing or not usable as intended,
  • floor, walls, or ceilings are permanently moist.

How to use State Law to your Advantage

It goes without saying that no official will jump whenever a resident desires their help. In the case of relevant defects, a municipality is obligated to take action. Following a written report or complaint, this office will come and inspect the condition of the dwelling in dispute and report the results in an expertise-like report. There are two possible consequences of such report:

  • The report can support the tenant’s arguments. In extreme cases, they will actively support the interests of the tenant when the municipality orders the landlord through its public authorities to rectify the miserable situation.
  • The landlord can disprove the tenant’s allegations that the apartment is not in proper condition.


Additional information