SHARE
COPY LINK
For members

HOUSING

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.

Modernisation

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

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

LIVING IN GERMANY

REVEALED: The most commonly asked questions about Germans and Germany

Ever wondered what the world is asking about Germany and the Germans? We looked at Google’s most searched results to find out – and help clear some of these queries up.

Oktoberfest
Hasan Salihamidzic, the sports director of FC Bayern, arrives with his wife at Oktoberfest in full traditional dress. Photo: picture alliance/dpa |

According to popular searches, Germany is the go-to place for good coffee and bread (although only if you like the hard kind) and the place to avoid if what you’re looking for is good food, good internet connection and low taxes. Of course, this is subjective; some people will travel long stretches to get a fresh, hot pretzel or a juicy Bratwurst, while others will take a hard pass.

When it comes to the question on the bad Internet – there is some truth to this. Germany is known for being behind other rich nations when it comes to connectivity. And from personal experience, the internet connection can seem a little medieval. The incoming German coalition government has, however, vowed to improve internet connectivity as part of their plans to modernise the country.

There are also frequent questions on learning the German language, and people pointing out that it is hard and complicated. This is probably due to the long compound words and its extensive grammar rules, however, as both English and German are Germanic languages with similar words in common, it’s not impossible to learn as an English-speaker.

Here’s a look at some of those questions…

Why is German called Deutsch? Whereas ‘German’ comes from the Latin, ‘Deutsch’ instead derives itself from the Indo-European root “þeudō”, meaning “people”. This slowly became “Deutsch” as we know it today. It can be a bit confusing to English-speakers, who are right to think it sounds a little more like “Dutch”, however the two languages do have the same roots which may explain it.

And why is Germany so boring? Again, probably a generalisation, especially given that Germany has a landmass of over 350,000 km² with areas ranging from high rise, industrial cities to traditional old town villages and even mountain ranges, so you’re sure to find a place that doesn’t bore you to tears.

Perhaps it is a question that comes from the stereotype that Germans are obsessed with being strict about rules, organised and analytical. Or that they have no sense of humour – all of these things being not the most exciting traits. 

Either way, from my experience I can confirm that, even though there is truth to German society enjoying order and rules, the vast majority of people are not boring, and I’m sure if you come to Germany you’ll meet many interesting, funny and exciting people. 

READ ALSO: 12 mistakes foreigners make when moving to Germany

When it comes to the German weather, most people assume a cold and cloudy climate, however this isn’t entirely true. While the autumn and winter, especially in the north, come with grey skies and sub-zero temperatures, Germany can have some beautiful summers, with temperatures frequently rising above 30C in some places.

Unsurprisingly, the power and wealth of the German nation is mentioned – Germany is the largest economy in Europe after all, with a GDP of 3.8 trillion dollars. This could be due to strong industry sectors in the country, including vehicle constructions (I was a little surprised to find no questions posed on German cars), chemical and electrical industry and engineering. There are also many strong economic cities in Germany, most notably Munich, Frankfurt am Main and Hamburg.

READ ALSO: Eight unique words and phrases that tell us something about Germany

Smart and tall?

Why are Germans so tall? They are indeed taller than many other nations, with the average German measuring a good 172.87cm (or 5 feet 8.06 inches), however this may be a question better posed to the Dutch, who make up the tallest people in the world.

Why are Germans so smart? While this is again a generalisation – as individuals have different levels of intelligence in all countries – this question may stem from Germany’s free higher education system or their seemingly efficient work ethic. Plus there does seem to be some scientific research behind this question, with a study done in 2006 finding that Germans had the highest IQ in Europe.

So, while many of the questions posed about Germany and Germans on Google stem from stereotypes, we can confirm that some aren’t entirely made up. If you’re looking to debunk some frequently asked questions about France and the French, check out this article by our sister site HERE.

SHOW COMMENTS