Minor damage to rented sofa

16 posts in this topic

Posted

Hello - thanks for looking!

I am after some (hopefully) quick advice on a strange issue with my last apartment in Bremen. I am from London but currently living in Bremen due to my work.

It has been nearly three months since I moved out. When I left, the cream-colour sofa had been marked by me sitting on it in my blue jeans (I told you, this is a strange issue!)

The landlord spent 15o euros getting a specialist cleaner to try to remove it, but claims this has failed.

He now insists I pay for the cleaning and the FULL COST of the sofa (nearly 1000E total)

The deposit has been paid by my company and my company tell me they do not pay for this kind of "avoidable" damage, so I am liable.

The landlord now says he will hire a lawyer on the matter.

So

-Does this sound normal?

-If he hires a lawyer, could I eventually be liable for his legal costs as well?

-If I pay the full amount as demanded, would I be intitled to claim legal ownership of the sofa?

ANY advice you could give me would be very much appreciated! I sent this to the Hanburg Mietverein for assitance as well..

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Posted

Normal? If there's not a DIN number (Deutsche Ingineur Normen) attached to anything in this country then normal is a very flexible concept. But no, it doesn't sound normal. There again nor does wearing blue jeans that leak that much dye on to seating sound normal to me. Didn't you wash them at least twice before wearing them? Is the sofa material leather or plastic? Are your jean covered bodily areas subject to extreme perspiration?

If he hires a lawyer and, if you reject his lawyer's entreaties and, if he then recommends to your landlord that he follows through by making his claim to the court then there's a German saying which answers your first question; "On the high seas and before the court your fate is in the hands of God." In other words it is anybody's guess who wins, but usually the loser pays all costs.

Logically I would say yes, if you paid him his claimed cleaning expenses plus the full cost of the item then you would be effectively buying it, however unless both of you are communicating in English and are native speakers that may not be precisely what he has in mind. Please post the (redacted to delete ID info) exact text of the email or letter he sent in order that we can see what has actually been said by him.

The conditions of your rental contract will determine the chances of either party being 'in the right' before the law so until we know which clauses apply and their wording no-one here can really give you a considered opinion. Read through your contract taking note of any legal paragraphs mentioned ( § numbers + acronymic references to BGB). These are the standards by which his case must be judged.

No one here may, or will, give you any legal advice as that is a strictly regulated matter in Germany so all of the above and any more I may say about this is mere personal opinion based on experience. I would think it better to attempt to negotiate to buy the sofa rather than risk paying his legal bills, but first post more specific info here about his claim and your contract.

2B

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Posted

-Does this sound normal?

-If he hires a lawyer, could I eventually be liable for his legal costs as well?

-If I pay the full amount as demanded, would I be intitled to claim legal ownership of the sofa?

Yes, he tried to clean it but couldn't.

Yes, as damages. You can avoid these costs by paying up.

Yes, but as owner you are also responsible for removing the sofa from its current location, i.e. either shipping it to your current location or transporting it to the dump.

Other aspect: Do/did you have liability insurance coverage for the period in which the damage took place? If so, send them the bill.

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. Please have all legal advice you receive here verified by a legal professional.

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Posted

@ sarabyrd

So even though you haven't seen the details of my contract you're saying that I am likely to be liable based on a, shall we say standard German rental contract?

He is opertating through the estate agent. I have been given neither details of which contract clause the claim is based on, nor any supporting evidence other than the invoices for the cleaner and the sofa.

And to answer the other questions.. its fabric, they were dark blue jeans but had been washed, and no I'm not sweaty :)

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Posted

You received a response based on the information you gave us: An item you had rented within the terms of a rental contract was damaged by you.

If you want an in-depth legal opinion ask a professional and pay for it, not a bunch of expats.

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Posted

How long were you in the apartment? And do you know how old the sofa was when you moved in? If it does go to a legal battle, those points may be relevant.

I can certainly see the landlord's point, if the sofa was new and of a certain quality (assuming it cost, recently, 850€).

I always steer clear of furnished places, because you do have a certain responsibility to leave them as you found them (apart from "normal" wear and tear), and things (like glasses of red wine flying through the air) can easily happen.

btw, unless you are a paid-up member of the Mieterverein, don't expect them to get back to you.

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Posted

@sarabyrd

I don't, and I'm using this forum for what I assume is its intended purpose.

Thanks for the input so far all, its been useful.

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Posted

Just know that what you refer to as "minor damage" means that the landlord will have to replace it for a new renter in order to get full rent.

This is the main reason why we are debating whether to furnish our rental or not.

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Posted

This is intriguingly a 'minor' damage.

Please post the (redacted to delete ID info) exact text of the email or letter he sent in order that we can see what has actually been said by him.

this would be of lot of help, please do so...

@sarabyrd

I don't, and I'm using this forum for what I assume is its intended purpose.

Thanks for the input so far all, its been useful.

...rather complaining at the moment. There is a vent thread for this sake.

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Posted

OP is simply reaching for any loophole to cover for his/her own stupidity. Common sense should play a big part onthis. It's not like the OP sat on the couch one single time with blue jeans on. Suck it up and pay for being less than intelligent.

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Posted

Just wondering what fabric the couch is? And where the colour has ran is it just the seat or the back part? Is there already someone new in the flat using the couch?

In our rental we have had general wear and tear and have never chased damage up, so it does depend on your landlord. We learnt not to spend loads on furniture!

This mishap might have been avoidable though if blankets were placed on the couch once it was realised it was absorbing jeans colour.

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Posted

I would countersue the landlord for providing an obviously faulty couch that has caused a faded patch on your designer jeans.

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Posted

If you have liability insurance they will usually deal with the landlord and if deemed necessary by them even pay for the legal costs. I would contact them and ask how they wish you to proceed. Otherwise I would expect that the damage will be calculated according to how old the sofa is. For a 20 year old he will most probably not be able to claim full the value of a new one.

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Posted

Exactly ruepha and jeba are correct.All you have to pay for would be the restwert.Landlord is trying to pull a fast one

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Posted

I don't, and I'm using this forum for what I assume is its intended purpose.

TT is not a Poor Mans free legal service. If you want Good/Correct Legal Info. then retain the services

of a real, certified, lawyer skilled in contract law and licensed to practice law in Germany.

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Posted

@ the OP...

If you do pay-up.. organise for Caritas or somesuch charity to collect the couch and give to someone who deserves it!

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