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Naked landlord not a reason for rent reduction, German court rules

The Local Germany
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Naked landlord not a reason for rent reduction, German court rules
Flats in Frankfurt am Main. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH | Sebastian Gollnow

A landlord "sunning himself" in the nude is not a reason to ask for a rent reduction, a German court has ruled.

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The case involved a human resources company who was renting out an office in an otherwise residential building in Frankfurt's upscale Westend neighbourhood. 

The company partially withheld rental payments due to being bothered by the sight of their landlord, a resident of the building, who liked to strip down daily in the common courtyard. 

READ ALSO: From nudity to sandwiches: The biggest culture shocks for foreigners in Germany

The landlord sued - and judges at Frankfurt's Highest Regional Court (OBG) sided with him.

The naked man did not "impair the usability of the rented property,” they ruled on Wednesday. Aesthetic sensibilities were irrelevant, and there was no "grossly improper act".

The defendants had claimed that the landlord was walking undressed through the stairwell to the courtyard - but the OBG lawyers didn’t find that to be the case during an onsite meeting. 

Rather, the plaintiff had credibly stated that he always wore a bathrobe, which he only took off directly in front of his sunbed, according to the court.

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Furthermore, the location where the landlord sunbathed in the nude was only visible from the office rooms if the HR employees “leaned far out of the window,” according to the court.

The judges ruled that the tenants had been entitled to reduce their rental payments for three months, but only due to noisy construction projects in the neighborhood.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How to get a rent reduction for problems in your German flat

Because of noise and dust, a 15 percent reduction would be appropriate, but not because of “offending another’s aesthetic sensibilities.”

Freikörperkultur (FKK), or free body culture, is common in Germany, with many people sunbathing in the nude at beaches, lakes and sometimes their personal balconies. 

Vocabulary

upscale/uptown - gehoben 

bathrobe - (der) Bademantel

sunbed - (die) Sonnenliege

Usability - (die) Gebrauchstauglichkeit

We’re aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.

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