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Rental agreements: Everything you need to know before signing with your pets

A Mietvertrag should have the following information:

  • Contract period
  • rental price
  • Price of additional costs (heating, water, refuse collection, etc.)
  • Period of notice (usually 3 months)
  • Amount of the security deposit (and any interest it generates)
  • An agreement on re-decoration, when you arrive or when you leave, only decorations once
  • Conditions for rent increase
  • In the case of furnished rooms, an inventory of everything they contain (check in the presence of the owner that everything is in good condition. If not, make sure that the document is recorded so you do not have to pay for the damages when you go)
  • The rules of the house (which also establishes which repairs are the responsibility of the owner and which you have to pay).

Once signed the contract both parties are legally bound by it. Despite being long and complicated, before signing, make sure you have read and understood the contract. Keep in mind that the German owners expect the contract to be followed exactly (which applies to any contract signed in Germany). However, there is legal protection that limits the validity of certain clauses of the rental agreement (generally in your favor).

If you do not understand a clause in the lease or you feel that an unusual condition is being stipulated, ask for advice from a friend, colleague or teacher who is German. You can also join the local Mieterschutz-Vereine (tenant association) for immediate advice and professional help. If a dispute arises between the tenant and the landlord the Mieterschutz-Verein can represent the interests of the tenant. When you have been a member of the Mieterschutz-Vereine  for a few weeks, you will be protected by a legal expenses insurance policy that will cover all the problems that may arise in the area of ​​leasing.

There are Mieterschutz-Vereine offices in most cities and towns. In addition to direct legal advice they also offer information brochures on rental contracts. You can find your local association in the directory under the titleMieterverein or you can contact the

Deutscher Mieterbund – DMB (National Association of Tenants):
Tel. 0221 / 94077-0
Internet: .


Most owners require a deposit ( Kaution ) as a guarantee, which is refunded when you leave the apartment, along with the interest you have generated. However, if there has been damage to the premises of the property, the owner has the right to withhold the amount necessary for the repairs.

By law, the deposit can be the equivalent of up to three months of rent ( Kaltmiete ) plus a 16% VAT. However, many homeowners only require the equivalent of 1 or 2 months of rent. The landlord must ensure that you receive the full amount of interest for the entire period. The deposit should therefore not be paid to the owner but must be entered into a joint bank account with interest. In this way you prevent the owner from keeping the money against what was agreed upon and you will also earn interest. Your bank will give you detailed information.

Rent and community expenses

The rent ( Miete ), is the amount paid to the owner every month. This is the Kaltmiete (cold rent) plus additional expenses such as garbage collection, cleaning of the house and street, heating and water. All these expenses together are denominated Warmmiete (hot rent).

The additional costs depend on the apartment and its location and are detailed one by one in the contract. Additional costs like heating, gas, water and electricity usually depend on personal consumption and are paid monthly based on a predetermined fixed rate. The counters are measured annually and you are reimbursed or you are charged the difference depending on how much you have consumed.

Other additional costs, such as the collection of garbage, and the cleaning of the street and house; Depend on the size of the floor. In some cases, especially on old floors, this also applies to some of the individual expenses mentioned above. For example, if a house lacks an independent gas meter for each apartment then the total cost is divided among all apartments proportionally to their size.

Many owners require that the rent be paid by automatic bank transfer or direct debit, usually specified in the contract. Some landlords require you to have insurance to compensate them for damage to your property or the property of the neighbors. These policies cover personal effects ( Hausratsversicherung ) and liability to third parties ( Haftpflichtversicherung ).

Rules and regulations (Hausordnung)

A lease also contains general rules that apply to you as a resident tenant. In large apartment buildings with numerous tenants these standards can be set separately in a Hausordnung (house rules). Among other things, these usually stipulate that between 10 pm and 7 am, and between one and three in the afternoon, excessive noise is prohibited. In some cases they also regulate End of lease cleaning Melbourne who are responsible for cleaning common areas such as stairs, porch and basements, on specific days.

Consider these rules as part of your contract; Failure to do so gives your landlord the legal right to kick you off the floor. Although surprising for foreigners coming from less-regulated countries, do not be surprised if your opening party prompts claims from your new (and very enraged) neighbors. Depending on the character of your neighbors this can come A Frenchman told us that his landlord sent him a letter threatening to evict him because two of his neighbors had complained that he did not recycle the garbage.

In charge of the house: In houses with a certain number of tenants, there is often a Hausmeister (manager) and a Hausverwaltung (manager). The manager and the manager are responsible for everything working properly and dealing with repairs.

Winter and street sweeping services: If there is no manager or manager, residents are legally obliged to remove ice and snow from the front of their home during the winter. This is usually indicated in the lease. As it is an obligation of the tenants to remove snow and ice, they will be responsible for all damages that occur in case of breach of said obligation. In some areas the streets have to be swept once a week.

Pets: those who may or may not have pets on the floor should be consulted with the owner and form part of the lease. If a tenant wants to bring a pet to the floor where he or she lives, you should consult the lease or your landlord to make sure it is allowed. Pets include dogs, cats, birds, guinea pigs, etc.

Period of notice

There are certain periods of notice valid for leases. They apply when one of the parties wants to terminate the contract, although the owner can not terminate the lease without a reason.

The legal period of notice in an indefinite lease is three months. The longer you live in the dwelling the longer the period. Any different conditions must be stipulated in the contract or in a separate document. In some cases the owners will want you to sign a contract that is valid for a predetermined number of years. We have heard of a case where the landlord established a 5 year contract and tried to force the tenant, who wanted to rescind it, to keep it for the entire stipulated period. We recommend that you never sign a lease under these conditions, but if you see yourself in this situation you should immediately contact the local tenant association. In many cases these contracts are not allowed and therefore are not legally binding.

Redecoration (Rennovierungsarbeiten)

Your contract must stipulate who is responsible for redecorating and when. The redecoration includes things like painting the walls and replacing the carpet. Many homeowners do not want to redecorate before a new tenant moves in and then require the tenant to do so. In this case you have two options:

  1. You redecorate the apartment when you arrive. In this case the apartment has been delivered without redecorating ( unrenoviert ). Therefore you are not required to redecorate when you leave and it is your decision whether or not you want to do it when you arrive.
  2. Redecorate the apartment when you leave. In this case, the apartment must be delivered redecorated (for example, with newly painted walls), giving you the advantage of not having to do this when you arrive. In this case your contract will stipulate that you must redecorate before leaving, or you risk losing your deposit.

Since it is more fun to redecorate an apartment in which you are going to live than one you want to go to, many people prefer to rent apartments without redecoration. This also gives you the advantage of redecorating the apartment in the way that you like.

Flaws and responsibilities

Before you move to a rented property, arrange an appointment with the owner to inspect for any damage (scratches, smudges, worn or broken parts, etc.). Take note of everything, even if it seems insignificant, or you will be charged for all repairs or you may not be refunded the full deposit when you leave. The list of damages must be signed by the owner and you must keep it.

When you leave you should meet again with the owner or manager to check for damages and damages. If the apartment is in a significantly worse state than when you started your lease, the landlord can withhold part or all of your deposit. Otherwise, they must prepare a transfer document stating that the apartment is delivered without damage or damage and that the deposit must be reimbursed in full.

It is advisable for a German friend or colleague who is familiar with the transfer procedure to be present at the meeting and to ensure that there is no linguistic misunderstanding.

Another important part of your lease is the list of the keys that have been delivered to you. Be sure to receive all the keys that are mentioned in the document. If you lose a key from your house you will be responsible for having all the locks changed, and if you lose the key to a common area you will also have to pay for the keys for the neighbors as well. Be careful, you can not simply make copies of the keys in a store since many modern laves are numbered and you need a permission from the owner to make copies.

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