How to check whether the landlord actually owns the apartment

32 posts in this topic

I am concerned that somebody can just show me not his apartment and make fake contract

is there a way, I can check if the property belongs to a landlord ?

 

what can i do if I pay caution and all costs and the landlord "dissapears"   and real landlord comes and kicks me out from apartment ?

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The only way I can think about (other than asking e. g. neighbours) is to ask for a copy of the "Grundbuchauszug" (copy of land register) or to go to the local court  with your lease contract (obviously before you pay the deposit and/or rent) and ask to have a look at the "Grundbuch". With a lease contract I guess they will grant you access to it (as it should prove a justified interest).

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2 minutes ago, fraufruit said:

Other than the usual scams where one pays before seeing the flat, I've never heard of that happening.

 

Anyone else?

  • Don't know if it's common in Germany, but when there were a lot of empty bank owned properties after the foreclosure crisis in the U.S., it was an often reported scam.
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I can remember of a case where fraudsters had managed to falsify the Grundbuch (I think via bribery/blackmail) and tried to get a multi million loan against a whole block of houses. They didn´t succeed but it shows what might be possible.

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The OP's story reminds me of my time in Nigeria, where this is common practice. You even see texts painted on the house like "NOT FOR SALE/RENT" :D

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32 minutes ago, fraufruit said:

How do they get the keys to the building and the house and the post box?

i think this could be very easy if somebody rents an apartment from airbnb with a fake identity 

also checking grundbuch I think makes not much sense(if there is no picture or something useful) if the crimial  knows the name of landlord he can say he is the one, or even photoshop his picture into real landlors ID to convince potential tennant

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Oh I do know of something like this happening.

 

I had a work colleague who had just come to Munich, and we were all privy to his experiences looking for a permanent apartment.  He found a place, even went to see it, and it looked like "the one".  The "makler" insisted that he had to pay the kaution in cash before the "landlord" would sign the contract.  He gave our colleague a copy of the "contract" in the meantime and a couple of us had a look at it - no it was not right at all - names and addresses were strange, it just didn't look right.  So we called the "landlord" and the person on the other end hung up repeatedly - like 4 or 5 times.  Finally a woman stayed on the line and admitted that in fact no one at that number owned the apartment in question. 

 

The whole thing was pretty freaky and no, we never did find out how the "makler" got the keys or anything else of the sort.  Perhaps it really was an apartment that was going to be up for rent, and this guy was sort of milking the situation on the side?  No idea.  ETA:  I have a nagging memory that maybe the place was under repair when my colleague looked at it...not positive but if that is correct, maybe the contractor was in on it and provided a key?

 

bottom line, our colleague was hours away from taking the kaution to the makler.  I think this kind of scam can indeed happen.  Best advice still is to be very very wary of any payments in cash.  If they ask for anything other than a bank to bank Überweisung, it's very likely something fishy is going on.

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That's another case of paying before signing a contract which would be easy for one to fall for who doesn't know the ropes. Good thing he showed you guys the contract.

 

The key issue here is don't pay anything before signing and getting the keys.

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22 minutes ago, alien7 said:
30 minutes ago, alien7 said:

i think this could be very easy if somebody rents an apartment from airbnb with a fake identity 

also checking grundbuch I think makes not much sense(if there is no picture or something useful) if the crimial  knows the name of landlord he can say he is the one, or even photoshop his picture into real landlors ID to convince potential tennant

i think this could be very easy if somebody rents an apartment from airbnb with a fake identity 

also checking grundbuch I think makes not much sense(if there is no picture or something useful) if the crimial  knows the name of landlord he can say he is the one, or even photoshop his picture into real landlors ID to convince potential tennant

I think that if the scammer is posing as the real landlord this is not hard to check.  If he has given you the name and address of the landlord, which is required on any rental agreement, try to call.  Yes he can give you a faked id, but with a name and address of the real owner (or fake owner, as in my story above) you can dig a little deeper. 

 

I personally would not sign a contract without speaking to the landlord or working with a well vetted agent.  And I would never pay cash for any of it.  Never.

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Now this is a story I heard through a friend of a friend, so I don't know how accurate it is (this was about 4 years ago).  Apparently, some guy rented a vacation rental in Berlin for a month, so he had the keys to the place. He showed the flat to numerous people and signed a "contract" with all of them, had them pay the deposit and then gave them a key to the flat.  

On moving day, 10 people showed up with their belongings and the key, but the guy was no where to be found and the owners had returned from their trip. Needless to say, the 10 people who showed up couldn't move in and had to book it to hostels, hotels or friend's homes (the friend of the friend ended up at my friend's place).  However, I think this scam may only work on newcomers in Berlin who are desperate to find a place to live and don't know that they should speak to the Hausverwaltung first.

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2 hours ago, fraufruit said:

That's another case of paying before signing a contract which would be easy for one to fall for who doesn't know the ropes. Good thing he showed you guys the contract.

 

The key issue here is don't pay anything before signing and getting the keys.

 

exactly.  In this particular case it seemed like everything was fine at the start as he had seen the place, and he had a copy of the contract, albeit an unsigned copy (which isn't really so strange - my landlord, after meeting me and making his final decision, sent me a copy of the lease unsigned, I signed it and sent it to the landlord, he took his sweet time mailing it back, and THEN I paid, no fuss).

 

But when he told me about the terms for the kaution...naaaaa  uhuh.

 

the biggest surprise was that they actually showed him the place.  Cheeky and actually pretty amazing.

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Not sure exactly how you can check the ownership before going through the process of trying to rent one (meaning, after you see the ad, and before seeing the place). But there are a lot of steps you usually go through, which will help you identify if it's for real or not.

 

After we saw our place on an ad, it was shown to us by a Makler. We asked a lot of questions about the flat, why it was free that time, who is currently renting it, etc. When the Makler confirmed we got the flat, he emailed us the contracts, which we read thoroughly, and asked him for clarifications. Then we met with the landlords and the Makler at the flat, we went through the contract, signed the contracts. After signing, we opened the Kautionskonto. Then handover on the day we moved in.

 

In each and every step, there are a lot of questions you can ask, a lot of things you can observe, which might tell you if it's for real or not. You will also see potential neighbors who you can ask questions to. I suppose the best thing is, as lisa13 said above, never pay for anything in cash. And, if you get an inkling that something is not right, follow your gut.

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On 22.5.2016, 14:55:16, jeba said:

The only way I can think about (other than asking e. g. neighbours) is to ask for a copy of the "Grundbuchauszug" (copy of land register) or to go to the local court  with your lease contract (obviously before you pay the deposit and/or rent) and ask to have a look at the "Grundbuch". With a lease contract I guess they will grant you access to it (as it should prove a justified interest).

 

WRONG !!!

Please do not conjecture if you don't know the facts.

For the better or worse, trying to find the true owner of a rental property does NOT constitute justified interest!!!

 

They only way around this is to bring written proof the owner permits checking the Grundbuch.

Asking a German prospective landlord for that is a good way to guarantee not getting the contract, as they don't like hassle. It also can take weeks to get a copy.

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22 minutes ago, Metall said:

 

WRONG !!!

Please do not conjecture if you don't know the facts.

For the better or worse, trying to find the true owner of a rental property does NOT constitute justified interest!!!

 

Depends. Other sources say renters do have a berechtigtes Interesse.

 

"Ein solches Interesse hat zum einen jeder Mieter für sein Wohnhaus und jeder Mietinteressent für das von ihm favorisierte Mietobjekt (OLG Hamm WuM 86, 348; LG Hamburg WuM 88, 133; AG Lübeck WuM 87, 197; AG München WuM 82, 218). "

http://www.berliner-mieterverein.de/recht/infoblaetter/fl118.htm

 

 

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3 hours ago, Metall said:

 

WRONG !!!

Please do not conjecture if you don't know the facts.

For the better or worse, trying to find the true owner of a rental property does NOT constitute justified interest!!!

 

Firstly: let me quote you:

On 7.5.2016, 14:13:38, Metall said:

Can't you read English?

 

What part of

Quote

I guess they will grant you access

did you not understand? Let me explain to you: guessing implies not knowing for sure. hadn

 

Secondly: can you back your  claim up?

 

@ OP: If I wanted to know for sure I´d simply call the Grundbuchamt and ask whether the would accept a lease contract as proof of justified interest and in case they don´t ask what they suggest..

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Actually a Canadian nuclear engineer did ask me to prove the apartment was mine. And apologised for being overly paranoid, but said his office colleagues put him up to it. So I showed him my purchase contract. Of course that only proves I once owned the apartment. I might have sold it. But still it's a good start.

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