Termination of Rental Contracts

Everything has an end but only the sausage has two. Continue reading to find about your rights and duties when your rental contract comes to an end.


Is it easy for a landlord to evict his tenants?

In Germany, tenants enjoy a very high standard of protection against the landlord. In general, the landlord needs a “legitimate interest” to give you notice (§573 I BGB). The two main legitimate reasons for the landlord to give notice are: 1.) personal need and 2.) serious violation of the renter’s contractual duties. Such serious violations are for example: non-payment of rent in full for at least two consecutive months, or irregular payments and outstanding debt equaling one month’s rent (§§543 II 1 no. 3 a, 569 III  BGB). Nevertheless, the eviction notice becomes invalid as soon as you have paid up for all months owed – even after a claim in court has been filed (§569 III  BGB).

I came to Germany as a student to continue my studies. I have lived in a dormitory. I just received a notice of termination of my rental contract. Can this be? You just said that renters are privileged.

That is correct and true. However, there are no rules without exceptions. Such an exception applies in your case (§549 III 3  BGB) because the  landlord does not have to have a “legitimate interest” to give notice of termination to persons in a dormitory.

What is my responsibility for our house as we prepare to allow the realtors to visit with prospective new tenants? The house was sparkling clean when she came to take pictures and walk through the place, and she mentioned on the phone she'd like to see it that way when she brings people over this week. Am I required to keep things spotless for them? It seems rather unreasonable that I should have to make the extra effort to make her job easier. Really, the last thing I want to do as we get ready for the movers is dust the piano and trim the rosebushes!

Your responsibility is to let the realtor through the house with the possible new tenants - no more, no less. It is a collateral duty stemming from your rental contract. If you want to show them that you are a pack rat, then don't clean up. If you are ashamed of them thinking you're sloppy, presuming you are, then clean up. When neither one nor the other is the case then just make sure that they can easily go through the whole house. If the realtor needs more negotiate a payment... Your argument would be §311 I BGB.

After giving notice, I left my apartment on time. However, after 7 months, my previous landlord has come back to me claiming damages. Can he really do this? Aren’t his claims subject to a time limitation?

Yes, indeed! Any claim must be filed within six months. The six months are counted from the day the apartment has been properly vacated, regardless of any issues the landlord might have. In other words, either landlord files a lawsuit within six months or his claims are time barred.


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