Being evicted from de facto sublet

51 posts in this topic

Posted

Hello all!

Hoping anyone out there can shine some light on my problem.

I have been living in a flat in Kreuzberg with my girlfriend for 10 months. We first moved in on a sort of "informal" basis as the Hauptmieter was not sure about when she would move back in. What was supposed to be 2 months, turned into 6, 8 and finally we have been living here for 10 months now. Since july 2012, we have been begging her for an Untermietvertrag (sublocation contract), which she promised us after the 3rd month, but she always found excuses or simply didn't reply us back. Until yesterday, when we finally schedule a meeting with her at a cafe near by. We were supposed to sign the contract there. When we got in, she said that ACTUALLY, she wasn't gonna give us the contract and that we have to be out of the apartment in 2 weeks.

The thing is, she's been out of the flat for 2 years now, living in Turkey, and we are the 2 "guests" in this informal scheme of hers. Since we were promised a contract we, needless to say, started to settle our lives in the flat and in this area. We made this place our little home away from home. And now, out of the blue, she comes to us and wants to break all the promises and really f*** our lives up.

We have all the receipts for the 10 months of rent, on my name and passport number, stating on the description that the money transferred referred to the rent. I also have all the emails in which she promised us a contract.

Anyway, we cannot afford a lawyer right now, so i was hoping any of you guys could help us out with some ideas on what to do. This is not only a logistical problem in our lives, but also, a matter of honor and self respect. At the very least, i feel we ought to give her a run for her money, right?

Thanks in advance for any support and/or ideas!

All the best,

Paulo

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Posted

Let's see if I can sum this up:

She let you live there while she was in Turkey.

She is now back in Berlin and wants to move back into her flat.

I don't see see what you can do about that except look for a new place.

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Posted

A verbal contract is worth just as much as a written contract in German law. Did she tell you how long you could stay for when you first moved in?

In any case, join the Mieterverein right now and talk to them.

Do nothing at all until you have taken this step.

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Posted

Ah, but was the sub-lease even legal? Generally, the main tenant needs the landlord's written permission.

Hence, most likely, the total lack of a written contract with the sub-tenants.

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Posted

@PandaMunich Well, i'd say you're understating the whole thing a bit. This is not such a "let us stay" kind of situation. Like i wrote in the original text, that was the case for the 2 first months, which was ok. After that, it became a sort of verbal contract. She just told me we could stay, as she didn't have any plans on the mid-term of coming back to the flat. We discussed this situation and the possibility of signing contract, to which she agreed. What happened next is she was basically stalling us for 6 months until now. So i don't think it's that simple and sure as hell she doesn't have the right to push people around like that just because she couldn't organize herself to actually make a simple sub-location contract.

@Hazza Thanks for the tip! My girlfriedn was just checking that right now and i guess we'll go there today at 5!

If you have any other suggestions/ideas/comments, please keep them coming! We need some support right now as this was kind of a heavy blow for us :/

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Posted

@sarabyrd You are correct. The Hauptmieter needs written permission from the owner of the flat in order to sublet it. We were expecting that, actually. She never bothered to even inform the Hausverwaltung about the sub lease situation, which also put us in a delicate situation. In a nutshell, i really really tried to get her to formalize our situation as much as possible. She just stalled me. And now i am extremely upset for the total lack of respect towards us..In terms of how the owner will/should proceed with her about this, i have no idea..

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Posted

From the information we gathered so far, it seems that overall, she is the one who's in a pickle. From the legal perspective on the lack of a written permission from the house owner, she is the one who has to respond. All we have is proof of rent payment and proof of the "verbal contract" in the form of emails.

There's another outrageous detail i forgot to mention. She actually increased our rent, the night before we had to deposit the money, from 600 euros to 700 euros. That was about 6 months ago. Basically we were transferring the money to her turkish bank account directly. There was no contact, no previous warning, nothing. We just had to pull out an extra 100 bucks out of nowhere to be able to have a place to live, because she was making use of the informality to protect herself. Something like "We don't have a contract yet. So, this is the money i want. Either pay or get out of there tomorrow because i have other friends i can put to live there and who would pay the amount i want". We have been really pusjhed around by her in a very passive-aggressive way.

Today i tried contacting the house manager to gather some details about how much the real rent is and how is her contract situation, but to no avail. They shut me off real quick as we do not have a contract with them. Maybe i can do something though the Mieterverein. Let's see.

Anyways, i would say that, by logic, we are protected by law here. We will check with the Mieterverein and try to get a lawyer. Will keep you guys posted!

Thanks!

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Posted

Start looking for a new place to live! :ph34r:

The problem with a verbal contract is that it's now a case of "he said, she said" which (I suspect) won't hold up in court. If nothing was written down, nothing signed and no deposits paid, your tenancy was probably unofficial and she's the one with the paperwork.

Perhaps you could negotiate an extension to your let if you need time to get something else organised?

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Posted

"He said, she said" could easily hold up in court if there is sufficient other evidence that verbal agreements were being adhered to (through demonstrating payment of rent for example).

Plus, he said he has emails from her confirming that she would write out a contract. This must be worth something as well.

Disclaimer: I'm still not a lawyer.

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Posted

You would probably make a good lawyer Hazza hehe :)

Anyway, i'm with you.

@Igelstellung Even though i don't know German law in depth, i would say Germany must have some pretty twisted legal system if what i have as proof is not worth anything. Again, i have 10 receipts of rent payment (with my name, her name as a recipient and the description of "Miete"). Also i have emails and cellphone text messages in which she states a contract would be signed between us ASAP. That has been going on since June/July last year. That's gotta be worth something. Of course i am already looking for a new place, as a plan B. But in no way i will be pushed around again by her. I am tired of this expat life here and all the beating we have taken for a year now. We gotta fight back somehow.

Appreciate your reply!

Thanks

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Posted

Hazza: yes, there is proof of previous payment and indication that a contract would be written out (emails) but a contract never materialised with defined terms. This may go some way but a sublet contract can easily be time-limited and she (Hauptmieterin) may well argue that point - the devil is always in the detail with contracts. I am not a lawyer though.

While I wish the OP well in this case, I think this might be more stress to fight than to find another place for the short period of time that they need a place for. Use this as life experience: never rent a place without a written contract.

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Posted

Personally, I can't imagine the landlord wanting to rent to you after going through the trouble of getting the main tenant kicked out - you will have shown them your potential for being a difficult tenant.

Is the OP actively seeking to kick her out though? If in the act of trying to stay, dodgy stuff that the main tenant has engaged in, comes to light, then so be it - it's a complete stretch to say he's doing it with that specific aim.

Hazza: yes, there is proof of previous payment and indication that a contract would be written out (emails) but a contract never materialised with defined terms. This may go some way but a sublet contract can easily be time-limited and she (Hauptmieterin) may well argue that point - the devil is always in the detail with contracts. I am not a lawyer though.

This is true, and I'm not a lawyer either - but I would imagine with what German tenancy laws are like, it would be up to the main tenant to prove that this arrangement was time limited, rather than for the OP to prove that it was indefinite.

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Posted

@Imnop We didn't enter this informal situation by will. I did get the first couple of months here as a temporary thing, as i had just come back from my home country and didn't have a place to stay. That was ok. I knew it was for 2 months and i knew i had to keep looking for a place, as i did. When that period was over, SHE offered me the flat, as the other girl who was living here was moving out. It was common interest that we took over the apartment, as i needed a place and she needed someone to take care of her flat. That was it. From that moment on, it was an agreement of sub-location, which demanded a contract. As i didn't want to be an asshole, i was always very condescending and understanding towards her and her excuses to delay the signing of the papers. Because she was in Turkey the whole time, arranging a personal meeting was, of course, difficult. And as she was only getting in touch on the payment days, those were the windows of time i had to discuss the contract and living situation with her. Every time it ended in the promise that she would be in Berlin the following month and then we could settle things. All the while, her posture was of satisfaction to have someone responsible taking care of the place and giving us the prospect of a longer stay here. We did not at any point took advantage of the informal situation as at no point we were irresponsible to simply "let things be", until it came up to this. "Moving on" after the 2nd or 3rd request for a contract sounds very easy. But it is not at all practical, specially in Berlin, considering how difficult it is to get a decent place in this city. We had a chance and a promise for this apartment. And up until yesterday, a relatively friendly dynamics with her. We acted and trusted upon honesty and responsibility from her part. As she did towards us. This is not so much a matter of "moving on" as it is a matter of not allowing myself to be pushed around. Otherwise, time again she will put another poor soul under the same conditions. Point being, we all know how ruthless this city is, and that is because almost everyone allows themselves to be trampled. I strongly feel i have been fooled and violated in terms of moral. Maybe it will take more energy to look for a new place AND search for a way to get back at her. But not doing so would be thanking for a spit on my face.

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Posted

Is the OP actively seeking to kick her out though? If in the act of trying to stay, dodgy stuff that the main tenant has engaged in, comes to light, then so be it - it's a complete stretch to say he's doing it with that specific aim.

Perhaps not, but the OP cannot exonerate himself from the situation. He also knew he was living there without a formal contract in place. Red flags should have been raised months ago when there was no contract despite several requests, and in the instance of the immediate raise in rent.

There really is no winning situation here for the OP - I think it's a stretch that the landlord would want to be involved with either of these parties going forward. I doubt they even want to hear this issue at all. Putting myself in the shoes of a landlord, I'd stay well clear of anyone that I felt had the potential to cause me problems further down the track.

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Posted

Well if I was the landlord, I'd actually be interested in hearing both sides of the argument before I just kick people out onto the street.

No point kicking out a good tenant who's been paying the rent on time (even if not directly to me), and then having the hassle of finding somebody new...

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Posted

EDIT : In light of what Hazza said, i would like to rephrase something from my last post. It is absolutely perfectly phrased :

"Is the OP actively seeking to kick her out though? If in the act of trying to stay, dodgy stuff that the main tenant has engaged in, comes to light, then so be it - it's a complete stretch to say he's doing it with that specific aim."

You are ABSOLUTELY right. I am not actively trying to KICK HER OUT. What is happening is i am convinced we earned the right to stay here. She was out for 2 damn years and never even did basic maintenance on the flat, or wanted to know how things were in here. WE had to contact the gas company and settle everything with the bills. WE had to fix the heaters. WE painted the walls. And etc etc etc. And most importantly WE WERE PROMISED a contract and have been paying really good money for that. Hard earned, sweaty, honest money. 700 bucks a month. That's 7.000 euros so far. From two immigrants who have no help from the government or anything. We are everyday walking forward and seeking honest work. Putting my Masters degree pride aside and shaking cocktails for drunk tourists. Working in kitchens. Freelancing. Fighting through mud here. In a nutshell what we intend to do is try to stay in this apartment. If the side effects include her being kicked out of the contract, so be it. SHE was irresponsible and not caring. I don't mean her evil, but i will not kneel down again so she can kick us out.

Thanks for the support Hazza! Really.

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Posted

This is true, and I'm not a lawyer either - but I would imagine with what German tenancy laws are like, it would be up to the main tenant to prove that this arrangement was time limited, rather than for the OP to prove that it was indefinite.

Agreed. I guess the reason that sublets should be contracted is to avoid situations like this. Whether it's malicious or not, the OP is in a crappy situation. I would be interested to see what the Mieterverein has to say about this.

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Posted

@Imnop We didn't enter this informal situation by will. I did get the first couple of months here as a temporary thing, as i had just come back from my home country and didn't have a place to stay. That was ok. I knew it was for 2 months and i knew i had to keep looking for a place, as i did. When that period was over, SHE offered me the flat, as the other girl who was living here was moving out. It was common interest that we took over the apartment, as i needed a place and she needed someone to take care of her flat. That was it. From that moment on, it was an agreement of sub-location, which demanded a contract. As i didn't want to be an asshole, i was always very condescending and understanding towards her and her excuses to delay the signing of the papers. Because she was in Turkey the whole time, arranging a personal meeting was, of course, difficult. And as she was only getting in touch on the payment days, those were the windows of time i had to discuss the contract and living situation with her. Every time it ended in the promise that she would be in Berlin the following month and then we could settle things. All the while, her posture was of satisfaction to have someone responsible taking care of the place and giving us the prospect of a longer stay here. We did not at any point took advantage of the informal situation as at no point we were irresponsible to simply "let things be", until it came up to this. "Moving on" after the 2nd or 3rd request for a contract sounds very easy. But it is not at all practical, specially in Berlin, considering how difficult it is to get a decent place in this city. We had a chance and a promise for this apartment. And up until yesterday, a relatively friendly dynamics with her. We acted and trusted upon honesty and responsibility from her part. As she did towards us. This is not so much a matter of "moving on" as it is a matter of not allowing myself to be pushed around. Otherwise, time again she will put another poor soul under the same conditions. Point being, we all know how ruthless this city is, and that is because almost everyone allows themselves to be trampled. I strongly feel i have been fooled and violated in terms of moral. Maybe it will take more energy to look for a new place AND search for a way to get back at her. But not doing so would be thanking for a spit on my face.

That's a lovely story. It could do with a few paragraphs though. And a dictionary. You were very "condescending and understanding" to her?? Those two words don't belong together in the same sentence. And why on earth do you keep using the term "sub-location"? It doesn't mean what you think it does.

Anyway, I can understand that you feel wronged. But by your own admission you have no money for a lawyer.. So what are you going to do about it? You have come here, had a vent and maybe that makes you feel a little better. There's really not much else you can do, unless you are prepared to put a lot of time, effort and money into fighting the good fight. You have no formal agreement, so in the end you may come out with nothing anyway. Why don't you talk to the woman, explain the situation, throw in a few threats getting lawyers involved and see if you can negotiate a longer notice period so that you can find something better? I think that's the best possible outcome for you in this situation, even though it's not what you want to hear.

Good Luck.

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Posted

What was supposed to be 2 months, turned into 6, 8 and finally we have been living here for 10 months now.

So really you've had it quite good and always knew there would be an end to the arrangement?

Aren't you seeing the glass as half empty when in fact it was half full?

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Posted

Plus @ Imnop, landlords want the rent money, period. We cause no problems, we don't make parties, we don't break anything. On the contrary, i FIX things. I do not see my battle here as being harassment for the company that owns the building. If anything, we are even paying more money than she is. I understand your "politically correct" and "no friction" personal policy. But it was goddamn hard to be promised something, pay money for that, and than get screwed. As it is goddamn hard to rent a place in Berlin. I just view this as either an opportunity to hang my head and walk away, or do my part to improve living situation for people in the same condition as us. I choose the second. If everybody would seek their rights, this wouldn't be a "always Berlin this kinda stuff" like @Johnny English said.

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Posted

Anyway, I can understand that you feel wronged. But by your own admission you have no money for a lawyer.. So what are you going to do about it? You have come here, had a vent and maybe that makes you feel a little better. There's really not much else you can do, unless you are prepared to put a lot of time, effort and money into fighting the good fight. You have no formal agreement, so in the end you may come out with nothing anyway. Why don't you talk to the woman, explain the situation, throw in a few threats getting lawyers involved and see if you can negotiate a longer notice period so that you can find something better? I think that's the best possible outcome for you in this situation, even though it's not what you want to hear.

He doesn't need money for a lawyer.

That's what the Mieterverein are for. It was basically set up because there's inevitably a lot of tenants who don't have a lot of money for lawyers, but are still entitled to have their rights respected.

Luckily, the winner isn't the one with the biggest wallet.

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Posted

He doesn't need money for a lawyer.

You're right, because it's time for him to consider moving on.

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