Tenant must pay for shirking paint duties

The Local Germany
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Tenant must pay for shirking paint duties
This is the moment when tenants should ask themselves how much their wacky colour scheme could cost. Photo: DPA

A tenant must pay more than €3,000 for failing to follow German etiquette and repaint the walls of his apartment white after moving out, a Munich court has ruled.

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After moving out of the flat in Neuhausen, Munich, where he had lived with his partner for two years, the man was sent a bill by the landlord for €8,300 of repairs.

Although the bill included repairs to items such as the shutters, plasterwork, and holes drilled in the walls, the biggest item was for painting to cover up the blue and glossy green he had chosen for the walls and ceilings in the bedroom and living room.

The painter hired to cover up the tenant's work told the court that getting the apartment back to the white colour scheme it had been when the tenant moved in was an extremely difficult job.

Calling the tenant's behaviour “an infringement of due consideration”, the court ordered him to pay €3,200 for the painting work, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported.

A local court which first heard the case decided that the clause of the rental contract dealing with renovations was invalid, prompting the landlord to appeal to the state court.

In several recent decisions the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), Germany's highest administrative court, has found that landlords can't charge tenants excessive amounts for renovations, which was the basis for the tenant's case.

But the blue and green colour scheme was “unacceptable to many prospective tenants,” the Munich court said.

It based its order that the tenant should pay on a BGH decision which stated that apartments which had been rented out with “neutral decoration” should be given back in the same condition.

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