For members


EXPLAINED: When can my landlord raise the rent in Germany?

Tenants rights are fairly robust in Germany, but they only lay at your disposal if you know how to use them. Here's a guide on when your landlord is allowed to raise your rent - and when he or she could be pulling a fast one.

EXPLAINED: When can my landlord raise the rent in Germany?
Photo: DPA

In Germany, your landlord isn’t allowed to raise your rent arbitrarily. You have signed a legal agreement with him/her and therefore they need a reason to demand more money – which is backed by German law.

So if you get a letter stating that you’ll be paying €20 a month extra from now on because they need to finance a new garden shed, you can challenge it.

But when can a landlord demand a rent increase (Mieterhöhung)? Well, there are a few different reasons each with slightly different parameters.

READ ALSO: ‘Stressed and depressed’: How Berlin’s rent cap fiasco has affected foreign tenants

Meeting the rental average

If you are lucky enough to have signed a contract at below the market value – good for you! As many people struggle to even get their names on a rental contract these days, you have struck oil.

But there is some bad news: Your landlord has the right to raise the rent up to the level of what is called the Mietspiegel. This is the average rent for comparable apartments in your area – and is assessed at regular intervals by local authorities. Your landlord is not allowed to raise your rent above the Mietspiegel, though.

There are a few other limitations on what your landlord can do here, too. They are only allowed to raise the rent once every 15 months and they are not allowed to raise it by more than 20 percent in a three-year period.

Find your next home on The Local’s rentals page, with hundreds of listings available across Germany

Photo: DPA

Rise in running costs

As you are probably aware, your rent is broken down into Kaltmiete (cold rent) and Warmmiete (warm rent). Your cold rent is basically the rental of the apartment itself, while warm rent is things like heating bills and payment for the upkeep of common spaces in the building. The landlord is within his rights to increase the warm rent if he can show that Nebenkosten (additional costs) have gone up above the price that he is charging.

Unfortunately for you, there are no limits on how often your landlord can do this.


If the landlord decides that it is time to insulate the roof, paint an outside wall or in some other way modernise your apartment, he or she is allowed to raise your rent to cover up to 11 percent of the costs.

The landlord is allowed to raise your rent more than once in a short period of time if they undertake several different modernisation works in succession.

But whatever happens, the landlord cannot raise your rent above the Mietspiegel.

Sponsored content: Four ways to help lower your rent in Germany

Photo: DPA

When the landlord isn’t allowed to raise your rent

If you have signed a contract on a new build flat and then, after chatting with your neighbours, you find you are paying above the market rate – that’s too bad. Landlords are allowed to rent out new properties over the Mietspiegel – and in the current climate of housing shortages they are rather inclined to do so. But what they are not allowed to do is raise your Kaltmiete again until the Mietspiegel catches up with it.

Also, if you have signed up to a Staffelmiete – a rent that goes up by a certain percentage annually – the landlord is not allowed to raise the rent above and beyond that.

READ MORE: ‘Extraordinary situation’: What can you do if your Berlin landlord demands rent cap arrears?

What to do in the event of a rent increase

If the rent is increased, both sides have to agree first. Your landlord can’t just write to you and say ‘Hey I’m putting up the rent next month, be prepared to pay up!” They have to inform you that they intend to raise the rent and ask for your consent. But this doesn’t mean that you can reply ‘thanks but no thanks’. If they don’t get your consent but feel that the law entitles them to raise the rent then they will likely take you to court.

But you do have quite a bit of time to consider your answer. You have the month that you received notice of the increase plus the two following months to make up your mind. If you feel like the increase is not justified then it is highly advisable that you seek the advise of your local Mieterverein. You need to be a member of a Mieterverein, but they will offer free legal advise once you have paid a small membership fee.

SEE ALSO: How to join a Mieterverein (renter’s association) in Germany

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For members


Living in Germany: Battles over Bürgergeld, rolling the ‘die’ and carnival lingo

From the push to reform long-term unemployment benefits to the lingo you need to know as Carnival season kicks off, we look at the highlights of life in Germany.

Living in Germany: Battles over Bürgergeld, rolling the 'die' and carnival lingo

Deadlock looms as debates over Bürgergeld heat up 

Following a vote in the Bundestag on Thursday, the government’s planned reforms to long-term unemployment benefits are one step closer to becoming reality. Replacing the controversial Hartz IV system, Bürgergeld (or Citizens’ Allowance) is intended to be a fair bit easier on claimants.

Not only will the monthly payment be raised from €449 to €502, but jobseekers will also be given a grace period of two years before checks are carried out on the size of their apartment or savings of up to €60,000. The system will also move away from sanctions with a so-called “trust period” of six months, during which benefits won’t be docked at all – except in very extreme circumstances. 

Speaking in parliament, Labour Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) said the spirit of the new system was “solidarity, trust and encouragement” and praised the fact that Bürgergeld would help people get back into the job market with funding for training and education. But not everyone is happy about the changes. In particular, politicians from the opposition CDU/CSU parties have responded with outrage at the move away from sanctions.

CDU leader Friedrich Merz has even branded the system a step towards “unconditional Basic Income” and argued that nobody will be incentivised to return to work. 

The CDU and CSU are now threatening to block the Bürgergeld legislation when it’s put to a vote in the Bundesrat on Monday. With the conservatives controlling most of the federal states – and thus most of the seats in the upper house – things could get interesting. Be sure to keep an eye out for our coverage in the coming weeks to see how the saga unfolds. 

Tweet of the week

When you first start learning German, picking the right article to use can truly be a roll of the “die” – so we’re entirely on board with this slightly unconventional way to decide whether you’re in a “der”, “die”, or “das” situation. (Warning: this may not improve your German.) 

Where is this?

Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Boris Roessler

Residents of Frankfurt am Main and the surrounding area will no doubt recognise this as the charming town of Kronberg, which is nestled at the foot of the Taunus mountains.

This atmospheric scene was snapped on Friday morning, when a drop in temperatures saw Kronberg and surrounding forests shrouded in autumnal fog.

After a decidedly warm start to November, the mercury is expected to drop into single digits over the weekend. 

Did you know?

November 11th marked the start of carnival season in Germany. But did you know that there’s a whole set of lingo to go along with the tradition? And it all depends on where you are. First of all, the celebration isn’t called the same thing everywhere. In the Rhineland, it’s usually called Karneval, while people in Bavaria or Saxony tend to call it Fasching. Those in Hesse and Saarland usually call it Fastnacht. 

And depending on where you are, there are different things to shout. The ‘fools call’ you’ll hear in Cologne is “Alaaf!” If you move away from Cologne, you’ll hear “Helau!” This is the traditional cry in the carnival strongholds of Düsseldorf and Mainz, as well as in some other German cities.

In the Swabian-Alemannic language region in the southwest of the country, people yell “Narri-Narro”, which means “I’m a fool, you’re a fool”. In Saarland at the French border, they shout “Alleh hopp!”, which is said to originate from the French language. 

Lastly, if someone offers you a Fastnachtskrapfe, say yes because it’s a jelly-filled carnival donut. And if you’re offered a Bützchen? It’s your call, but know that it’s a little kiss given to strangers!