Rigid Periods for Compulsory Interior Redecoration are Illegal

The Bundesgerichtshof made a much-noticed judgment on June 23, 2004, concerning compulsory interior redecoration for rented apartments. You are probably wondering what all the fuss is about. Landlords and tenants easily and eagerly discuss which repairs are still owed and which are not when it comes to returning the partment.


Often you can find a clause in a standard rental contract form stipulating that redecoration must be done starting when you rent the apartment. The tested rule is that “kitchen and bathrooms must be repainted at least every three years; living, bedrooms, staircases, and hallways must be repainted every five years”. This kind of clause has been declared null and void as it violates the regulations of stipulations for standard terms (§307 I 1 BGB).

This judgment now gives you the convenient option of returning the apartment as is. You can really return the apartment without redecorating at all – so far your contract has such invalid clause. The Civil Code usually places the duty for redecoration on the landlord (§535 BGB). On the other hand, landlords consider it annoying and costly to renovate apartments, only to find out later that the tenant wanted it done differently. That is why almost all of them write in a contract that the tenant bears the responsibility for redecoration.

In the meantime, the Federal Supreme Court has ruled that the same applies to commercial rental contracts.

Published on the old CMS: 2007/3/5
Read on the old CMS till November 2008: 276 reads

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