Freezing in September – when does your landlord have to turn on the heating?

Freezing in September - when does your landlord have to turn on the heating?
Photo: DPA
In light of a chilly end to the summer in Germany, here's everything you need to know about turning up the heat in your home.

After the rainiest July in decades and with autumn on its way, any hope in Germany for an Indian summer seems to be dwindling. 

But for most people in rented accommodation, warming up your house in September isn't as simple as just turning on the radiator, as whether or not this actually has any effect depends on if your landlord has turned on the central heating yet.

So to avoid freezing this September, here's a quick introduction to your central heating rights according to the Deutsche Mieterbund (DMB).

Over the winter months, rented properties in Germany have what's known as a 'Heizperiode' meaning heating period, which is usually from October 1st to April 30th.

During the 'Heizperiode', the landlord must set the heating so that the minimum temperature in the flat reaches between 20-22C during the day and around 18C at night (11pm to 6am).

But if it's unusually cold in the summer months for several days in a row, then, according to the DMB, landlords can't simply adhere to the standard heating practises in the rental contract. 

“The landlord must turn on the heating if the room temperature during the day sinks under 18C and the cold weather is likely to hold for more than two days”, Angelika Brautmeier, Managing Director for Mietverein Stuttgart, told the Stuttgarter Nachrichten.

“If the room temperature sinks below 16C, the landlord must turn the heating on immediately.”

This means, in the event of a cold snap, landlords are sometimes required to turn the heating on in September or possibly even earlier.

If the minimum temperature in the flat does not reach around 20C in the winter, according to the Deutsche Mieterbund, the landlord is obligated to fix the problem as this means the flat does not meet living standards.

If no steps are taken to remedy the issue, the tenant may have grounds to ask for a reduction in rent for the period until it is fixed.

Similar laws apply if the hot water supply does not reach a minimum temperature of around 40-50C in the kitchen and bathrooms of a rented property.