• Germany edition
 
New rent rules 'weighted against tenants'
Photo: DPA

New rent rules 'weighted against tenants'

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

The German government came under heavy fire on Friday for new rental rules, which critics say are heavily weighted in favour of landlords, erode tenants' existing rights and fail to address ballooning rent prices in popular areas.

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)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

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
Bayern and Dortmund to face off for German Cup
Pep Guardiola thought his team were A-OK. Photo: DPA

Bayern and Dortmund to face off for German Cup

Holders Bayern Munich will face Borussia Dortmund in next month's German Cup final after cruising to a 5-1 win over second-division Kaiserslautern in Wednesday's semi-final. READ () »

Zalando hits back after undercover report
Working conditions at Zalando are under fire. Photo: DPA

Zalando hits back after undercover report

Online fashion retailer Zalando has prompted an investigation by state prosecutors in Erfurt after an undercover reporter revealed alleged "trade secrets" in a TV report on Monday night. READ () »

Ex-minister jailed over F1 race track scandal
Ingolf Deubel in court on Wednesday. Photo: DPA

Ex-minister jailed over F1 race track scandal

A former state finance minister was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison on Wednesday, having been found guilty of embezzling money in the scandal around the failed sale of the Nürburgring Formula One race track. READ () »

Upper Bavaria boasts lowest EU unemployment
A Bavarian worker works hard Photo: DPA

Upper Bavaria boasts lowest EU unemployment

Southern and central Bavaria have the lowest unemployment in the EU, according to figures released on Tuesday, with one business leader boasting the area has “de facto full employment”. READ () »

Thousands of tax evaders come forward to declare
Uli Hoeneß was jailed last month for tax evasion. Photo: DPA

Thousands of tax evaders come forward to declare

The number of German tax evaders who have self-declared to avoid prosecution trebled in the first quarter of 2014, figures published on Wednesday showed, with the rise put down to the "Uli Hoeneß effect". READ () »

Petition fails to remove WWII Russian tanks
One of the WWII Russian tanks near the Brandenburg Gate. Photo: DPA

Petition fails to remove WWII Russian tanks

The German government rejected on Wednesday a call by two newspapers to remove Russian tanks from a World War II memorial in central Berlin in protest against spiralling tensions in Ukraine. READ () »

Germany warns Ukraine talks must not fail
A Ukrainian policeman at a checkpoint in the eastern city of Kharkiv on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Germany warns Ukraine talks must not fail

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Wednesday that scheduled four-way talks on the Ukraine crisis must not fail, warning of "the threat of more dead and injured". READ () »

Olympic stadium could be giant polling station
Berlin's Olympic Stadium. Photo: DPA

Olympic stadium could be giant polling station

Berlin's Olympic stadium could become the world's biggest polling station if the Turkish community gets the go-ahead to vote there in Turkey’s general elections. READ () »

The Local List
Nine ways to celebrate Easter like a German
Photo: DPA

Nine ways to celebrate Easter like a German

From rolling wheels filled with burning hay down a hill, to waiting for a fox to bring eggs, The Local List this week looks at the nine best German Easter traditions. READ () »

Biology pupils find horse in kebab meat test
Horse? Photo: DPA

Biology pupils find horse in kebab meat test

Schoolchildren in western Germany came across horse meat while testing doner kebabs in a biology experiment. It comes a year after the horse meat scandal which showed much meat on sale in Europe had been mislabelled. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: Galerie Bilderwelt
Gallery
World War I in colour photos
Photo: DPA
Society
'The mafia has infiltrated every sector in Germany'
Photo: DPA
Society
JobTalk: Why you should teach English in Germany
Photo: DPA
National
330,000 sign up against TV licence fee
Photo: DPA
Hamburg
School kids hospitalized after 'porno' party
Photo: Submitted
Frankfurt
'I'll get even with my old pal Schwarzenegger'
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The week in pictures: April 5th - April 11th
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Ten great inventions you (probably) didn't know were German
Photo: J. Arthur White
Berlin
Clashes in Berlin as refugees tear down their own camp
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Munich's baby polar bears are finally named
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The 10 best German employers to work for
CurrencyFair
Sponsored Article
Why it pays to avoid banks when making overseas transfers
Advertisement:
Mr. Lodge
Sponsored Article
How to find a furnished rental in Munich
Sponsored Article
How to make a lasting impression in business
Hult International Business School
Sponsored Article
What they don't teach you at Business School
Photo: DPA
Society
Nine jobs you can only do in Germany
Photo:ESL
Sponsored Article
How to integrate successfully in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

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

3,133
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd