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PROPERTY

Landlord ‘right’ to expel tenant over insults

A court in Munich has decided that a landlord acted within the law when he threw out his tenants over a barrage of insults.

Landlord 'right' to expel tenant over insults
Photo: Shutterstock

The parties were already wrapped up in several other lawsuits relating to the landlord-tenant relationship when the phone rang at the landlord's house at around 6 am on a Saturday last year.

It was the tenants, calling to complain that the water temperature in their bath was only 35C rather than the contractually agreed-on 40C.

When the two met in the courtyard later that morning, the landlord asked to be allowed into the flat so that he could check the temperature.

But the tenants refused, saying that the water was the same temperature throughout the building.

Court documents show that in the process, the husband lashed out with a volley of insults, including calling the landlord a “certified arse”.

A few weeks later, the landlord announced to the tenants that he was cancelling their contract without notice over the insult.

The tenant claimed he had been provoked, saying the landlord used the familiar “du” and physically attacked him – meaning that the cancellation was unjustified.

But the judge at the Munich civil court found that the insult was so bad as to breach the terms of the contract, meaning that the landlord couldn't be expected to continue renting the flat to the tenants.

The law distinguishes serious insults, which reveal the contempt of the person using them for the honour of their target, from simple impoliteness.

Calling someone a “certified arse” was an injury to the landlord's honour, the judge said, and had completely destroyed the relationship of trust between the two.

An important factor in the decision was the fact that both parties lived in the same building and regularly encountered each other – with the tenant failing to use any of those opportunities to apologize.

A spokeswoman for the Munich Tenants' Association told the Abendzeitung München that "a cancellation without notice should always be the last resort.

"This judgement reduces tenants' rights yet again. Landlords can get away with more and more. Tenants can't defend themselves, because they always have to worry about a cancellation without notice."

SEE ALSO: Man wins court battle over loud footsteps

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PROPERTY

Why house prices in Munich are starting to fall

The real estate market in the southern German state of Bavaria is changing due to the precarious economic situation, a new report has found.

Why house prices in Munich are starting to fall

What’s happening?

Germany’s largest state – Bavaria – is known for many positive things, such as stunning nature, culture and festivals. But it also has a reputation for being an expensive place to live. Many cities, especially Munich, are notorious for having some of the highest rental and property costs in the country. 

But it looks like the trend of rising house prices is beginning to dampen. 

According to the latest report by the Real Estate Association Germany South Region (IVD Süd e.V.), inflation and increased mortgage interest rates have put an end to the period of significant hikes in the Bavarian real estate market – at least for the time being. 

“The rapidly growing financing costs and the uncertainties associated with the impending recession in Germany as a result of the Ukraine war are inhibiting the dynamics of market activity and, in particular, the price dynamics in the residential real estate market,” said Professor Stephan Kippes, head of the IVD market research institute.

It reflects a general trend that we’ve been starting to see in Germany as the tough economic situation bites. 

According to a recent study by property search portal ImmoScout24, the number of people buying houses in Germany fell dramatically in the second quarter of 2022. And In many of the major metropoles, property prices also went down as people struggled to find interested buyers.

READ ALSO: How property prices are dropping in major German cities 

Where can we see this trend?

The price changes can be seen clearly in the state capital Munich, reported regional broadcaster BR24.

According to the study, the average property price, which was €9,500 per square metre in spring, has now dropped to €9,450. 

In some Bavarian cities, the trend reversal is not yet as noticeable. In Nuremberg, for example, property prices are still rising but at a slower rate than previously seen. The price of a property in spring was on average €3,630 per square metre, and is now €3,710, according to the study. 

Experts say it shows how the situation is developing. 

“The state capital of Munich, where the first price declines for residential real estate were identified in the fall of 2022 for the first time in a long time, could serve as a seismograph for future developments in Bavaria’s large and medium-sized cities,” said Kippes. 

Homes in Erfurt, Thuringia.

Homes in Erfurt, Thuringia. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Martin Schutt

Interest increases for buyers

At first glance, this development could seem tempting for those looking to buy property in Germany.

But Kippes points out that buyers are hardly benefitting from the decreasing prices – because interest rates have risen. 

“A few months ago, you could get an interest rate of 0.8 percent,” said Kippes. “If we take a purchase price of €500,000, let’s assume that €150,000 is equity and a €350,000 loan is needed; two percent repayment, 10 years fixed interest rate. Then, you would have paid €817, but today it would cost you €1,473.”

The IVD study said that the historically low-interest rate level of the past years in Germany “made it possible to compensate, at least partially, for the massive increases in purchase prices in many places”.

READ ALSO: The rules foreigners need to know when buying property in Germany 

“Now that the relief provided by low-interest rates has largely disappeared, but at the same time purchase prices have remained at dizzying heights, owner-occupiers in particular, who traditionally often finance with a high proportion of borrowed capital, are increasingly dropping out as buyers,” said the study. 

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