• 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
German women have World Cup in their sights
Germany are among the favourites. Photo: DPA archive

German women have World Cup in their sights

After getting their hands on the world cup in 2003 and 2007, the German women’s national team are trying to make it three out of the last four this summer in Canada. READ  

Munich headteacher: 'Atheists are stupid'
"I don't need to justify it because it's in the Bible". Photo: DPA

Munich headteacher: 'Atheists are stupid'

A head teacher at a state school in Munich is attempting to introduce a strict Christian regime by hanging crosses in the classroom and holding daily prayers. He's within the law, but parents and pupils are beginning to resist. READ  

Baby ducks shut down Autobahn traffic
Stock image of baby ducks running. Photo: DPA.

Baby ducks shut down Autobahn traffic

Police officers and a fire fighter crane were called in to rescue five orphaned baby ducks on Friday, stopping autobahn traffic briefly to escort them to safety. READ  

Taliban release German hostage in Afghanistan
The region of Kunduz in northern Afghanistan. Photo: DPA

Taliban release German hostage in Afghanistan

An employee of the German International Development Agency (GIZ) has been released from captivity in northern Afghanistan after being taken prisoner by the Taliban six weeks ago. READ  

Cameron and Merkel sing from same hymn sheet
Chancellor Merkel and Prime Minister Cameron arrive at the Federal Chancellery in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Cameron and Merkel sing from same hymn sheet

Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron presented a newly united front at a Berlin press conference on Friday, after their first meeting where the UK premier set out his demands for reform of the European Union. READ  

German industry: Brexit would be ‘disastrous’
Photo: DPA

German industry: Brexit would be ‘disastrous’

The German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) have told the BBC that if the UK were to leave the EU it would be disastrous for both countries. READ  

At last, Germany has a new Top Model
Vanessa is over the moon. Photo:DPA

At last, Germany has a new Top Model

Everyone can breath easily again. Despite a delay of two weeks due to a bomb threat, Heidi Klum has finally been able to choose Germany’s next top model - a 19-year-old from her own home town. READ  

Steinmeier: corruption poisons football
Steinmeier had harsh words for FIFA. Photo:DPA

Steinmeier: corruption poisons football

Foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Thursday that if world football can't clear up "poisonous" corruption, state bodies need to step in, amid a graft scandal engulfing governing body FIFA. READ  

Greece eclipses G7 meeting in Dresden
G7 finance ministers in Dresden. Photo: DPA

Greece eclipses G7 meeting in Dresden

Debt-wracked Greece's battle to hammer out a deal with its creditors dominated a meeting of finance ministers from the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations in Dresden on Thursday, with officials insisting much work still lay ahead. READ  

EU investigates Germany over airport security
Photo: DPA

EU investigates Germany over airport security

The European Commission said on Thursday that it had referred Germany to the EU Court of Justice for failing to regularly check up on its airport security measures at some airports. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Features
Fassbinder's blaze of glory
Rhineland
Defusing Cologne's giant WW2 bomb
Travel
1,000 years of Leipzig
National
Cops have nothing to go on after ministry toilet theft
Sport
The hidden history of FC Bayern Munich
Technology
In future, we may all be scraping drones off windshields
National
The 65-year-old who gave birth to quadruplets
Travel
Why the train strike is bad for passengers and workers
National
Meet Germany's Eurovision hope
Business & Money
Is 2015 a new moment for jobsharing?
Features
How the LGBT rights movement was born in Germany
National
Why you don't make bomb jokes at the airport
National
Why Germany needs a little less tipple
National
Who Germans and Americans trust... and don't
Politics
What the UK election means for Germany
National
Why Germany is great for mums
Features
The Germans with GI dads
Five ways Germany falls short on gay rights
Travel
Giant tortoise found riding Munich rail
National
FCK CPS? A-OK with court
Politics
Opinion: Brexit's dangers for Germany
Features
Smart kids all want to work for BMW
National
Minister shows off top Denglisch
National
Germany's 'other genocide' in Africa
National
Arms firms get a 'must do better' mark on ethics
Sport
Bayern's anticlimactic 25th Bundesliga win
Politics
A Greek learning politics in Germany
Features
The battle of the "Gates of Berlin"
National
Germany's 'very poor' lobbying record
National
Germany's favourite baby names of 2014
Politics
Merkel's 15 years at the top of German politics
Travel
Lowest of the low: how woman exploited Germanwings crash
Features
Spice up asparagus season with The Local's serving suggestions
Sport
Football and the €30,000 firework
Technology
Why scientists oppose killer robots
National
'Cannibal cop' gets 8 years
National
Which city is Germany's worst for drivers?
Technology
Electrifying 'Ostalgia'
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
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

6,720
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd