Final Beauty Repairs When Leaving Apartment Standard?

When it comes to beauty repairs in apartments in Germany, the structure of law is very close to Common Law because case law is the name of the game. A landlord wants to pass the costs for redecoration to his tenant through a special clause in his standard form contract. This clause was disputed and BGH ended the argument per judgment on September 12, 2007 VIII ZR 316/06).


Plaintiff is a tenant suing his landlord that the court might rule that the landlord’s final renovation clause used in his case was invalid. The contract states that the apartment was to be handed over faultlessly renovated. The tested clause read “Upon leaving, the apartment is to be returned expertly renovated”. In legalese, this is considered as a final renovation clause.

The court held this clause for null and void because it unreasonably disadvantages the tenant (§307 I 1 BGB). The contract does not show that beauty repairs (“Schönheitsreparaturen”) are only imposed in accordance to the grade of wear and tear, normal use of the apartment. The average tenant will consider the above stipulation as that, in all cases, the apartment must be returned freshly renovated. This decision follows other ruling case law that it is an unreasonable burden for the tenant to always renovate the apartment irrespective of its condition. A “standard contract form” is any kind of contract that is intended to be used for numerous occasions to govern the same situation. Such contracts are subject to the rules on standard terms and conditions. Standard terms and conditions must be generally fair for the end customer and especially not unreasonably burden them.


So the clause is invalid and what does this tell you? The statutory rule is applicable that the landlord is responsible for beauty repairs (§535 I 2 BGB). However, reality shows that the proprietor almost always imposes this duty on the tenant. Such passing of responsibility is generally legal – as the general rule of free contracts exists in Germany.

Published on the old CMS: 2008/4/29
Read on the old CMS till November 2008: 2.586 reads

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