• 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
Sudeten Germans give up 'right to homeland'
Sudeten Germans practising traditional dance at a gathering in 2014. Photo: DPA

Sudeten Germans give up 'right to homeland'

The Sudeten German Homeland Association has given up its claim to the group's former home in parts of the Czech Republic, quieting one of the final echoes of the Second World War. READ  

Minister draws fire over wage transparency plan
Families Minister Manuela Schwesig. Photo: DPA

Minister draws fire over wage transparency plan

Families Minister Manuela Schwesig confirmed on Sunday that she wants a new law allowing women to compare their wages with men doing similar work, provoking angry reactions from employers. READ  

Police wind down Bremen terror response
Heavily-armed police on patrol outside Bremen cathedral. Photo: DPA

Police wind down Bremen terror response

Police in Bremen said that the risk of a terrorist attack had been reduced in the city after they arrested two suspected arms dealers. The city remains under high alert, with special protection for the Jewish community. READ  

Germany's Schäuble softens Greece tone
Photo: DPA

Germany's Schäuble softens Greece tone

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said Sunday Greece's new hard-left government needs "a bit of time" but is committed to implementing necessary reforms to resolve its debt crisis. READ  

UK Pegida rally dwarfed by counter-demo
Photo: DPA

UK Pegida rally dwarfed by counter-demo

An estimated 375 people turned out for the Germany-based PEGIDA movement's first demonstration in Britain on Saturday, but were outnumbered by a 2,000-strong crowd of counter-protesters, police said. READ  

Greek PM vows to 'start working hard' after vote
Photo: DPA

Greek PM vows to 'start working hard' after vote

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras vowed Friday to "start working hard" to implement vital reforms in the stricken eurozone country, after Germany's parliament approved a four month extension to its bailout. READ  

Ukraine: troop deaths 'serious breach' of truce
Photo: DPA

Ukraine: troop deaths 'serious breach' of truce

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko declared the killing of three government troops by pro Moscow rebels a "serious breach of the ceasefire", during a telephone call Friday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, her office said. READ  

Man wins court battle over loud footsteps
Trouble at the top. Photo: DPA

Man wins court battle over loud footsteps

Germany's highest civil court ruled in favour of a man who swapped the carpet in his new apartment for parquet flooring, incurring the wrath of the retired couple who lived below him over his loud footsteps. READ  

Teachers to strike nationwide from Monday
Photo: DPA

Teachers to strike nationwide from Monday

Teachers all over the country are expected to stike starting Monday, German education trade union GEW said, after negotiations with the wage commission of the federal states (TdL) failed to achieve results. READ  

EU court deals blow to US Iraq objector's hopes
Andre Shepherd at the European Court of Justice in June 2014. Photo: DPA

EU court deals blow to US Iraq objector's hopes

American soldier Andre Shepherd, who applied for asylum in Germany as a conscientious objector against the war in Iraq after going AWOL from his unit, saw a judgement by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) go against him on Thursday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Features
Kafka: puzzling translators 100 years on
Business & Money
France or Germany: Which country really is the best country to work in?
Photo: Police
Rhineland
Student driver crashes tank into family garden.
Photo: DPA
Politics
There was a notable absence at the Anti-Semitism Commission
Sponsored Article
Tourist or lifer: what sort of expat are you?
National
How Dresden bombing still divides Germany, 70 years on
Sponsored Article
Are you an American expat? How to face FATCA
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Take a cute break with this gallery of baby animals
International
What's keeping UK expats from voting?
Photo: DPA
National
Terror alert at a new high. Should you be worried?
Gallery
The best regional foods TTIP opponents want to protect
Photo: DPA
Features
All you ever needed to know about Pegida
Photo: Shutterstock
Culture
This cosplayer did not think his plan through
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
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

3,160
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd