• Germany's news in English
 

New rent rules 'weighted against tenants'

Published: 14 Dec 2012 12:58 GMT+01:00

New rules to come into force in the spring will make it easier for landlords to forcibly and quickly eject tenants who do not pay rent or do not take care of their flats.

Up to now, landlords had to issue a warning before a rental contract could be terminated outside of the agreed notice period, but will no longer have to do so - if the tenant is late paying rent or a deposit.

The new rules were passed in parliament on Thursday with votes from the ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Free Democratic Party (FDP). However, the opposition and tenants' groups say the new rules erode tenants' rights and allow often considerable rent rises on new contracts to continue unchecked.

"The new rules will result in a drastic deterioration of tenants' rights,” said Lukas Siebenkotten, head of the German Tenants' Association. Rent rises for new rentals were likely to go “through the roof” as a result, he added.

Critics say that tenants will no longer demand a reduced rent for up to three months while their flat is being renovated for energy efficiency – for example when a landlord installs insulation and double glazing or upgrades the heating system.

This means that tenants will no longer be entitled to lower rent as compensation for enduring long periods of disruption, noise and mess.

But the government says the change will push forward the goal of increased energy efficiency in housing and give smaller landlords an incentive to renovate their properties without a loss of income.

Supporters say the new rules will also address ballooning rents in certain areas, by allowing regional governments to cap rent rises in particularly desirable districts to a maximum of 15 percent over a three-year period, compared with a current cap of a 20 percent rise.

But opponents of the new law are demanding a cap on rent rises for new rental contracts.

Green politician Daniela Wagner said that, in the face of exploding rental prices, it was surprising that the government had only introduced an upper limit for certain areas where flats were in high demand. Wagner and other opposition politicians called for the cap be introduced nationwide and for it also to be applied to new contracts.

Stephan Thomae, MP in the pro-business junior coalition partner the FDP, said a nationwide cap on rent rises would not make economic sense.

“Those who build or buy an expensive flat in, say, Munich need to receive appropriate rents to pay back their costs,” he said.

The issue is likely to remain high on the political agenda in the run-up to the national election next autumn, with the main opposition Social Democratic Party (SPD) saying it would guarantee better protection for tenants and kick-start a state-financed drive to create more affordable living space.

DPA/DAPD/The Local/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

17:36 December 14, 2012 by frankiep
I wish they would address the issue of the ridiculous practice of having the tenant pay the commission to the real estate agent. Moving is expensive enough as it is - moving company and deposit can easily cost a few thousand Euro - but to have to pay someone an additional 2 and a half months rent just to show you the place is borderline criminal IMO. I understand that the agent needs to get paid, but why can't the person he is actually working for - the owner - be the one to do it?
18:52 December 14, 2012 by Tonne
From my experience of buying a house in Germany I wholeheartedly agree with @frankiep.

The buyer chooses the agent, the agent describes the property on the advice of the owner, the agent sets the purchase price in agreement with the owner, the amount paid to the agent is based on the purchase price but it is the purchaser who is expected to pay the agent's fee. Crazy!
05:05 December 15, 2012 by DOZ
Germans better start tossing Merkel but soon.
10:27 December 15, 2012 by daveyyy
As a renter this is a good country, as a buyer its very different to other countries. Rents in Germany are relatively low. Sure, they are not rediculously low, but I would pay 3 times the rent in my home country.
16:11 December 15, 2012 by raandy
Moving to a new flat is expensive, usually you have to pay rent for a couple of months at both places due to the 90 day cancellation. You will most likely have to have it painted.

then to add the provision of 2 and a half months on top is way out there plus your deposit, which you most likely have not yet received from your previous landlord.

If your rent is 800/mo then 5,000 + can be reached easily.

Does anyone know if the new changes effect ones existing rental contract.???
Today's headlines
Poland bridles at German minimum wage
Photo: DPA

Poland bridles at German minimum wage

Germany's newly-introduced €8.50 minimum wage is raising hackles at Polish trucking companies, who say they shouldn't have to pay their drivers at that rate for the hours they spend on their western neighbour's roads. READ  

Life sentences meted out in murder-for-hire
A man photographs an appeal for witnesses in the death of Christin R. in 2012. Photo: DPA

Life sentences meted out in murder-for-hire

A Berlin judge on Thursday sentenced four people to life sentences in a sordid conspiracy murder case in which a pizza delivery driver was paid €500 to kill a young woman for her life insurance. READ  

Jobless numbers rise to top 3 million
Men at work. Photo: DPA

Jobless numbers rise to top 3 million

German jobless numbers rose this month, bringing unemployment up to seven percent, the Federal Labour Agency (BA) reported on Thursday. READ  

Frankfurt man loses airport job over Isis links
Security checks at Frankfurt airport. Photo: DPA

Frankfurt man loses airport job over Isis links

In a decision announced on Wednesday, a Frankfurt court upheld the dismissal of a man from his job at Frankfurt airport over his close friendship with a foreign citizen with ties to terrorist group Isis. READ  

Cologne Karneval scraps Charlie Hebdo float
Image courtesy Festkomittee Kölner Karneval

Cologne Karneval scraps Charlie Hebdo float

Cologne's planned Charlie Hebdo float in its Rosenmontag parade was a false start, after the organising committee scrapped its construction over security concerns. READ  

Overnight raids bust up smugglers ring
File photo: DPA

Overnight raids bust up smugglers ring

Federal police arrested 12 people on Wednesday night after a national raid by police broke apart a smuggling ring. READ  

Anti-euro AfD split over Pegida ties
Former Pegida spokesperson Kathrin Oertel and Brandenburg head of AfD Alexander Gauland. Photo: DPA

Anti-euro AfD split over Pegida ties

Germany's upstart anti-euro AfD party will seek to mend a rift among members on whether to forge close ties with an emergent "anti-Islamisation" movement at a congress this weekend. READ  

Court grants kids right to know donor fathers
Photo: DPA

Court grants kids right to know donor fathers

The Supreme Court (BGH) decided on Wednesday that the children of sperm donors have a right to know who their biological father is at any time. READ  

Russia may declare 1990 reunification illegal
Russian President Vladimir Putin. Photo: DPA

Russia may declare 1990 reunification illegal

More than 25 years after the Berlin Wall's fall, Russian lawmakers are mulling a proposal to condemn West Germany's 1990 "annexation" of East Germany as Moscow's answer to Western denunciation of its seizure of Crimea. READ  

No room for scooters on the bus: Court
Photo: DPA

No room for scooters on the bus: Court

A court in North-Rhine Westphalia found on Wednesday that there is no obligation for buses or trains to make room for mobility scooters - and that it's actually dangerous to bring them aboard. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Business & Money
FATCA: 'The age of financial privacy is over'
Gallery
The best regional foods TTIP opponents want to protect
Photo: DPA
Features
The rise and spread of Pegida
Photo: Shutterstock
Culture
This cosplayer did not think his plan through
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Photo: DPA
Politics
The Local's report from Pegida's largest ever demonstration.
Sponsored Article
Top-notch tech boosts bilingual schools
National
Six stories that will rock Germany this year
Photo: DPA
National
Terror alert at a new high. Should you be worried?
Dresden skyline and river by night. Photo: DPA
Politics
What does Dresden have against Muslims?
Photo: DPA
National
What were your favourite news stories of 2014?
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
Photo: DPA
National
This German was abducted and tortured by the CIA
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Berlin
The Local's series on 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,448
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd