Does the landlord or tenant pay for plumbing?

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Hi --

 

My husband and I moved to Heidelberg 4 months ago and are still negotiating the differences between renting here vs. back in the States.

Right now, we are trying to figure out what repairs we should cover and what the landlord is obliged to cover.

 

The current situation -- our kitchen sink has become mostly clogged, and we have attempted to unclog it in several different ways -- plunging, snaking, chemical uncloggers -- with no success. The logical next step is to call a plumber or a handyman. However, we were unsure whether we should call the plumber directly or if this is the landlord's responsibility?

 

If it is our responsibility, anyone have a recommendation for a plumber in Heidelberg?

 

Thanks in advance!

Beth

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Contact the landlord and tell him/her the problem and react according to his/her answer. Most probably there is a "minor reparations" clause in your contract saying that up to XXX amount per year is your responsibility, that amount is something around 50 to 200 EUR.

 

Or maybe your landlord will fix the problem for you.

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What does your tenancy agreement state? In our case, unless we can prove that we did not in any way whatsoever cause the clog, then we are responsible. However, we are still required to call the landlord before calling a plumber, often they prefer to get their own trusted workers in and then we are set the bill.

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we have a clause in our contract that stipulates we have to pay up to 52 Euro only of minor repairs for the flat. Of course, if we were at fault and did gross damage, then we'd have to cover all costs. for example our Rollladen/Jalousien are broken, but we won't have to pay for that.

 

p.s. being new to germany, do you have the proper insurance (Privathaftpflicht, Rechtschutz, etc.) that all foreigners should have in this country?

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We had the same problem called the landlord and he got someone in to fix it the problem was a clog in the drains outside

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Thanks for the advice, everyone! We found the relevant clause in our lease... and our landlord did not fill in any amount

as an upper limit on repairs. So we will email our landlords and see how it goes...

 

Elfenstar -- actually, I think we just have health insurance and whatever is standard

through my workplace. Do you have a good link for information on other types of insurance?

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Welcome to Toytown Beth B.

 

You will find this forum to be one of your best assests during your stay in Germany as within the archives are Topic threads containing questions and answers on just about every aspect of life here for expats. Learning to navigate the site is the first step to getting the best out of it. If you have any questions TTers are mostly very willing and somewhat able to help, but you may save yourself a lot of time and the occasional sarcastic comment if you try the Search (box at upper right) first.

 

  • Key words or phrases are more effective than questions or sentences
  • If you get No (or few) Topics try clicking on the Full Search button which expands to include words in sub-titles
  • If that doesen't help then the Google-supported Site Search will pull a list of posts which include your key words

For the best advice on Personal Liability Insurance (Privathaftpflichtversicherung) and Legal Insurance (Rechtschutzversicherung),which are indeed, particularly for expats, both very worthwhile to have in Germany, you should check out the insurance brokers who advertise in Toytown on the Premium Services Offered sub-forum or click on the Business Directory at the top for more options. Several of the advertisers are active TTers who regularly help members on the board with very good tips.

 

I hope it (H2o) starts flowing smoothly for you in Heidelberg soon.

 

2B

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I have a related question. We've just moved into a flat and have found that the dishwasher in the EBK is malfunctioning in ways that could not reasonably have been discovered when we did the inspection before signing the rental contract. (Specifically, when the machine is run, it takes almost three hours instead of the 90 minutes specified by the instruction manual. We contacted the manufacturer and they confirmed that under no circumstances should it take three hours to run, and indicated that the machine needs to be repaired.) Our rental contract indicates that repairs in excess of EUR 75 are paid by the landlord, but it doesn't indicate who arranges repairs. Is there some law or standard practice which governs this? That is, do we call in a repairman and send the landlord the bill, or do we contact the landlord and let him arrange the repairs? What do we do in the event that we write to the landlord and he doesn't reply? (Or rather, how long must we wait for a reply before arranging the repairs ourselves, and then what do we do? Deduct their cost from our rent?)

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Pick up the phone and call your landlord. If the dw belongs to him, unless you had a clause giving it to you(we own our kitchen now due to such a clause) he is required to repair it if it doesn't function within a reasonable time from takeover. Tell him it doesn't work and ask him to have it repaired.

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Gail123 is mostly correct, but there's more.

 

1) PUT IT IN WRITING,

By all means call the landlord but also spend 45 cents and send a fuckikng written demand to the landlord explaining the problem and demanding immediate resolution.

 

2) Since this is non-essential equipment (as opposed tom, say, the only toilet in a flat), you'll have to wait 2-3 business days to call a repair company if your landlord hasn't taken action.

 

3) If you get no written response, you MUST send another letter (and pay the €4,58 for the "Einschreiben Rückschein" which you can charge back to the landlord).

 

4) If you still get no response, you must send yet another letter (same as before) with the word "MAHNUNG" on it.

 

5) Spend the €60 or so and join the Mieterverein (they even have their info in English).

 

woof.

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Well, here's an update. Over the last two months, we called and wrote to the Hausmeister six times asking for the dishwasher to be fixed. Each time he promised to either come himself or to send a repairman within a few days, but nobody ever showed up. We wrote two letters to the landlord—the second of them Einschreiben Rückschein, as suggested by BadDoggie—but received no response. Finally, after waiting several weeks, we joined the Mieterverein and had them write to the landlord on our behalf. This time the response was nearly instantaneous: the next day I got not one but two calls from the landlord. In the first call, he screamed at me and called me a liar and a thief and a traitor, then when I tried to respond he hung up and called back to do it all again. He proceeded to tell me that the Einbauküche and everything in it belonged to him, that he could do whatever he pleased with it, and that he would be sending his men over to remove it. He finished off by telling us we should move out immediately. (I'm not sure if that was a suggestion or an order.)

 

So, not sure what to do next except for go back to the Mieterverein for more advice…

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Well, I can't remenber seeing your earlier posts so this is not "hindsight" but in my opinion, a dishwasher taking longer to run than it should is not a matter to be escalated to a Mietverein. It's disproportionate imho. Surely even just living with it or waiting a while for a fix might be better than jeopardising the whole basis of a new relationship with a landlord?

 

I can understand his reaction (not to say I support it one bit of course). If someone had taken a strict legal enforcement against me over a small / routine matter without even bothering to talk to me in person about it, I'd not feel very positive towards them either. OK you may be "entitled" to do it - but it is important to bear in mind that working to "the letter of the law" can lose you far, far more more in goodwill than you ever gain. He's probably wondering - all this over an extended dishwasher programme, so what next, easier to avoid the risk by removing the kitchen if I can and ideally the tenant (he can't, of course)? None of this means I think tenants have to accept bad treatment but there also has to be give and take in most human relationships (and the place to do that is the less important stuff, such as this), you can't just run them to law.

 

What I'd probably do now is absolutely nothing yet (Same thing - don't escalate unelss absolutely needed). Wait and see if anything happens. Check your contract and inventory about the inclusion of the kitchen in your rental too.

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Ask the Mieterbund to make sure, but the next step would probably be to have someone come in and repair the dishwasher and send your landlord the bill since he seems incapable of solving the problem himself in an adult manner.

 

I'm pretty sure he can't evict you for asking for repairs to be done.

 

EDIT: Just saw swimmer's post. Request like this are generally done in writing. Psychonaut wrote and phoned several time, getting only promises instead of results. I think the landlord's reaction to the letter from the Mieterbund shows that he knows he's responsible in this case but thought he could get away with it and is angry at being caught out by a renter who knows his/her rights.

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Well, I can't remenber seeing your earlier posts so this is not "hindsight" but in my opinion, a dishwasher taking longer to run than it should is not a matter to be escalated to a Mietverein.

I disagree; if it's running nearly twice as long as it's supposed to, it's presumably consuming up to twice as much electricity and twice as much water, for which we're liable to pay. Recall that the Hausmeister already accepted that there was a problem and promised six times over the course of two months to have it fixed, on several occasions going so far as to make specific appointments to which he never showed up or even bothered calling to cancel. When this was brought to the landlord's attention by registered post he actively disregarded it. It seems perfectly clear here that we're being screwed around with—they're making empty promises in hopes that we'll simply give up.

 

At any rate, my story as it appears here has been considerably condensed, lest my posts reach the length of a short novel. After the initial report of the extended running time, we discovered two other problems with the machine which have made it unusable, and also reported them. In hindsight perhaps I should have included this detail in my follow-up, but then again, there are dozens of other further developments which I haven't mentioned, and it's difficult to anticipate what questions or objections people might raise which would rely on them.

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Well, I can't remenber seeing your earlier posts so this is not "hindsight" but in my opinion, a dishwasher taking longer to run than it should is not a matter to be escalated to a Mietverein. It's disproportionate imho. Surely even just living with it or waiting a while for a fix might be better than jeopardising the whole basis of a new relationship with a landlord?

 

I can understand his reaction (not to say I support it one bit of course). If someone had taken a strict legal enforcement against me over a small / routine matter without even bothering to talk to me in person about it, I'd not feel very positive towards them either. OK you may be "entitled" to do it - but it is important to bear in mind that working to "the letter of the law" can lose you far, far more more in goodwill than you ever gain. He's probably wondering - all this over an extended dishwasher programme, so what next, easier to avoid the risk by removing the kitchen if I can?

 

What I'd probably do now is absolutely nothing yet (Same thing - don't escalate unelss absolutely needed). Wait and see if anything happens. Check your contract and inventory about the inclusion of the kitchen in your rental too.

 

I don't think it's disproportionate at all. Waiting 2 months and ignoring 6 pieces of correspondence - including an Einschreiben/Rückschreiben deserves an escalation, regardless of what the problem is. And a letter from the Mietverein isn't the end of the world either. Presumably the letter would have told him that he needs to fix this problem and set some sort of deadline. There would be no extra charge or inconvenience caused to the Landlord that he wouldn't have to make anyway.

 

And yes, I'd go to the Mietverein and tell them what happened. I'm pretty sure that if you rented a place with an included kitchen, he can't just send the boys round to pick it up - at least not without also reducing your rent. And I'm positive he can't order you to move out because you went to the Mietverein.

 

Keep us posted on this...

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I don't think it's disproportionate at all. Waiting 2 months and ignoring 6 pieces of correspondence - including an Einschreiben/Rückschreiben deserves an escalation, regardless of what the problem is. And a letter from the Mietverein isn't the end of the world either. Presumably the letter would have told him that he needs to fix this problem and set some sort of deadline. There would be no extra charge or inconvenience caused to the Landlord that he wouldn't have to make anyway.

Yes, this is exactly what the letter said. It said that the problem with the dishwasher had been reported long ago, that he landlord has had sufficient time to have it fixed, and that he is now requested to fix it by the end of next week. I don't think it even mentioned any penalties for failure to comply with the request; in any event as I understand it the worst that could happen would be that his inaction would allow us to have the machine repaired ourselves and the costs deducted from the rent; the only thing he loses in this scenario is the right to employ a repairman of his choice.

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as I understand it the worst that could happen would be that his inaction would allow us to have the machine repaired ourselves and the costs deducted from the rent; the only thing he loses in this scenario is the right to employ a repairman of his choice.

 

That's exactly how it works if he doesn't react within the given time frame.

 

Sounds like he has gone a bit nutty in the meantime. How hard can it be to send someone over to take a look and repair or replace (which is probably what he's worried about) the thing?

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Sounds like he has gone a bit nutty in the meantime. How hard can it be to send someone over to take a look and repair or replace (which is probably what he's worried about) the thing?

 

Indeed. I imagine it would cost him almost as much to send someone over to remove it as it would to have it repaired.

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Is the EBK part of the rental agreement?

I can't find a specific reference to it in the rental contract, though the original ads I responded to had photos of it and claimed it was included, and this is also what the Makler and Hausmeister claimed when I signed the contract in person. (They said the same thing about the bathroom fixtures, but these aren't explicitly mentioned in the contract either.) The Mieterverein has read over the contract and seems satisfied that the landlord is legally required to repair the EBK, so I'm taking their word for it.

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