Longtime Munich resident Thaddäus Spegel had been renting out several flats in the Munich district of Sendling.
Google Maps shows the centrally-located district of Sendling in Munich.
The current average price in the Bavarian capital is €20.95 per square metre, but Spegel asked for a maximum of €13.50 per square metre. Spegel now has to pay €41,445 in back taxes to Munich’s Finanzamt (tax office).
“I feel absolutely unfairly treated, it can’t be,” Spegel told German broadcaster ZDF, stating that he has been punished for being a “fair landlord.”
“What’s it to them?” he added. “That’s my property, and as long as it’s mine, I’ll do what I want with my rent.”
The ZDF report caused a stir among German users on TikTok, who lamented German bureaucracy and called the Finanzamt’s punishment “just not understandable.”
One Munich flat seeker furthermore asked: “Where can I apply for his apartment?”
Is it legal to charge “too cheap” rent in Germany?
In Germany it could indeed be prohibitively difficult to become a Good Samaritan who offers low rents to those most in need.
German tax law currently requires landlords to charge at least 66 percent of the “ortsübliche Miete”, or the local rent, according to Anwalt.de.
This is one of the factors which has been driving up rental prices around Germany, particularly in large cities such as Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt, wrote the legal advice website.
In most cities the ortsübliche Miete is based on the Mietspiegel, or comparative rent index.
The tax office’s case against Spegel also depends on how many income-related deductions he previously sought on his properties.
If a landlord charges less than half the average rental costs, according to the Mietspiegel, “the tax office only partially recognizes his income-related expenses, for example for maintenance, repairs and depreciation,” Rudolf Stürzer, Chairman of the property owners’ Initiative Haus und Grund Munich, told local news outlet TZ.
In Munich, there are several private landlords with long-term tenancies who have not adjusted their prices to the exploding rental market, said Stürzer, and could also face issues with the Finanzamt.