House owner refuses to return deposit

24 posts in this topic

I moved from Munich to Berlin last year.

When we left the apartment in Munich, some of the furniture didn't fit the rented truck and we realised this only at the latest moment.

When we rented the apartment we obviously paid a deposit (3 months of cold-rent) and in the contract is mentioned that the owner will return the deposit after the completion of the contract, including interest.

This was more than 6 months ago and the other day when I called the owner he said he spent the deposit to free the apartment of the furniture we left inside (a desk, a book shelf and a small drawer closet on the balcony). At that point I asked him to provide an invoice and he refused, saying the work has been done by him and his brother-in-law.

The deposit wasn't huge (around 2k euros) but I highly doubt that removing some furniture from an apartment would cost that much (not to mention that he said he will use the desk and the book-shelf was a "gift" from him).

Hiring a lawyer seems overkill (I would probably pay the lawyer more than 2k) and in the past the house owner was a pretty decent guy so I'm undecided if it's worth proceeding and, more importantly, how?

Any advice?

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Do I understand correctly, you simply left the furniture in the apartment, without informing the landlord?

 

I can image he got quite angry about this. However, while I understand that he got annoyed, it is too much to charge 2,000 Euros for this. What he would be allowed to do is to charge the fees for "Sperrmuell" and his working time.

 

I would start off by apologizing, explaining that this happened last minute, and acknowledging that he can charge you something appropriate, but just making a point that 2,000 Euro are too much. If this doesn't work, the Mieterverein is another option.

 

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Sorry for a silly question, but what can Meteverein do int his case? Do they have an enforcing power?

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They can provide legal advice and write a letter to the former landlord, quoting the relevant laws, and demand the refund of the deposit. And if you've already been a member for at least three months, they will also represent you in court, through the legal insurance that's included in your membership dues. 

 

But even if you've just joined, most shady or unscrupulous landlords already cave when they get a letter from Mieterverein lawyers. If the landlord knew what he was doing, he wouldn't try such a blatant cash grab in the first place.

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3 hours ago, Thai said:

Do I understand correctly, you simply left the furniture in the apartment, without informing the landlord?

 

I can image he got quite angry about this. However, while I understand that he got annoyed, it is too much to charge 2,000 Euros for this. What he would be allowed to do is to charge the fees for "Sperrmuell" and his working time.

 

I would start off by apologizing, explaining that this happened last minute, and acknowledging that he can charge you something appropriate, but just making a point that 2,000 Euro are too much. If this doesn't work, the Mieterverein is another option.

 

He was present when we moved out (he lives next door) and he witnessed the fact that the rent truck was full. Also, there's no mention of the furniture in the hand-over protocol.

We also apologised multiple times for the furniture and he actually showed interest in keeping the desk (it was an electric stand-up desk, in very good condition).

Until the other day, when we called to ask about the deposit, there was no indication that he was even "angry" about the furniture left behind - hence my surprise.

Again, he was a "good" owner - living nearby we had bbq's together, our son's are of similar age and played together etc - so I'm a bit surprised by the change of attitude.

I will try and contact him again next week and try to find an amicable solution. If not I'll probably go the Meteverein path :(

 

Thank you everyone for your advice! 

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OK, this changes the story. If he was aware of that, at least he could have explained that he will get rid of the furniture and will deduct the cost from the deposit. But keeping 2000 Euro is far too much in any case. Sad how greedy some people can become. I think you found the right strategy. Good luck!

 

 

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1 hour ago, El Jeffo said:

They can provide legal advice and write a letter to the former landlord, quoting the relevant laws, and demand the refund of the deposit. And if you've already been a member for at least three months, they will also represent you in court, through the legal insurance that's included in your membership dues.

 

But even if you've just joined, most shady or unscrupulous landlords already cave when they get a letter from Mieterverein lawyers. If the landlord knew what he was doing, he wouldn't try such a blatant cash grab in the first place.

 

Absolutely right. And most landlords are afraid of the Mieterverein. That's why most landlords are in the Hausbesitzerverein, who also has its lawyers and will represent them in court, if necessary.

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Well if he signed the Übergabe Protocoll that all was good he dont have a leg to stand on.Anyway if you lawyer up and he pays back he pays the lawyer costs as well

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This once happened to me in the 90s. I left my flat, moved to Spain and when I moved back to Germany 6 months later, I still hadn't had my deposit money back, despite repeated requests. And the landlord was a lawyer himself.

 

Anyway, I found a Mietverein that would handle existing cases (i.e. those that existed before I joined them) and their tame lawyers sent this guy one letter, and, hey presto!, the money landed in my account.

 

I've been a member of a Mietverein since, but have never had recourse to consult them since then. Still, their annual fee is low enough not to be of concern.

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Their mmbership fee for the yer is also a hell of a lot cheaper than getting Solicitor insurance Rechtsschutzversicherung

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On 5/16/2016, 9:13:06, atunci said:

Again, he was a "good" owner - living nearby we had bbq's together, our son's are of similar age and played together etc - so I'm a bit surprised by the change of attitude.

Money will turn the nicest people into greedy trolls :blink:

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You should see what is happening around Kaiserslautern. Landlords pocket the high deposits and no one bats an eye. Amis leave the country and never see their money again (us included btw)

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I've only rented one apartment here and I got my deposit back in full. However, in Alberta, Canada, it is customary for landlords to keep the deposit or a good portion of it for no reason. Happened to me and when I asked around, it seemed to be very common.

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After all these horror stories of the landlord wanting to keep the deposit, I don’t get what my ex landlord is playing at in our case. We moved out a few weeks ago and at the move out he said oh this needs to be cleaned, this needs to be painted, etc (even though we had painted and cleaned) and if you give me x000 now, we’ll just forget about it. We declined. Now I’ve gotten two different phone calls from the agent and landlord asking to make a deal, since if i don’t it will be super expensive for me. I don’t see them doing this out of the goodness of their heart.

Already a member of the Mietverein, any other advice out there? Just wait for their invoices and then fight it?

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the only thing I would advise aside from making an appointment with the mieterverein is to not communicate with the makler at all, and only communicate with the landlord in writing.

 

yes invoices should be provided before any settlement but even in that case it might not be valid. do you have übergabeprotocols from when you moved in and out?  photos?  anything to show you left the place in the same condition you got it, barring normal wear and tear?

 

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No protocol as they refused to sign anything, but plenty of photos. Plus a colleague of my husband and the neighbor as witness (when in the yard and they started accusing us of never doing anything in it - nosy neighbor chimed in and said, oh what are you talking about they have been doing the yard work). Haha

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