Tenancy agreement terminated due to death. Who bears responsibility?

59 posts in this topic

Thanks Panda! That does sound like sensible advice! 

 

For pride's sake, I think we will still get a cleaner in to make it superficially decent. But yes - I think that your strategy is a good one! 

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One other quick question; what's the story here in Germany with repainting the walls every 7 years? My wife seems to think that this is the norm and a tenant who has lived in a place for more than 7 years will almost always have to repaint when they move out.  

 

Will this be written somewhere in the contract, if indeed it is the case?  Can you anyone point me to where in the contract I should be looking? 

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20 hours ago, CustomX said:

Just looking at the rental agreement now. Can someone please confirm whether this does in fact say that the tenancy ends upon death of the sole tenant? My deutsche isn't good enough. 

 

https://imgur.com/a/uSPcp

 

Others I have spoken to, say that the contract does in fact address the situation of a single tenant dying, although it isn't really clear to me whether the intent of the clause is to end the contract immediately upon death of sole tenant, or to give the heirs the option  of ending the contract immediately.  

 

Clause (3) in my attached states: 

 

Hat der Mieter bei seinem Tode weder mit dem Ehegatten noch mit anderen Familieangehörigen einen gemeinsamen Hausstand geführt, so endet das Mieterverhältnis mit dem Tode des Mieters. Einer Kündigung bedarf es in diesem Falle nicht

 

DeepL translation: 

 

If the tenant has not kept a common household with his or her spouse or other family members when he or she dies, the tenancy ends with the death of the tenant. No notice of termination is not required in this case.

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22 hours ago, CustomX said:

My wife went to the local Mieterverein this morning. They were pretty useless. Told her that they only help people who are in the immediate surrounding area (Helmholdtplatz). Told her she needs to go to another place in Pankow that is only open next week and she might have to be a member and she should go there and be prepared to wait.  

 

The one thing they did tell my wife is that old contracts often have clauses that aren't enforceable due to law changes over the years, and/or the fact that they weren't even enforceable at the time of drawing up. 

 

We don't want to elongate this process. We have enough on our plates. We want to pay a lawyer for 30 mins of their time. I can't see it taking longer than that for them to look at this simple contract and advising us of our rights. 

 

I'm with the Berliner Mieterverein. I think it is the most expensive one in the city, however, they have offices all over Berlin and you can go without an appointment. I've been told that the main office in Spichernstrasse is usually the busiest and to avoid it if possible.

 

If you go without an appointment and get there 30 minutes before the "Mieterberatung ohne Termin", you shouldn't have to wait long.

 

Membership is a minimum of 2 full years and costs 9€/month, which is still cheaper than a lawyer.   

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11 minutes ago, CustomX said:

No notice of termination is not required in this case.

 

??? Required or not required. A bit confusing.

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Google translates it as "A termination is not necessary in this case".   Am interested to know what the legal intepretation is. Its clearly legalese and not layperson's Deutsch. 

 

Still, the main phrase of interest is the part about the tenancy ending upon the death of the lone tenant. 

 

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1 hour ago, CustomX said:

Google translates it as "A termination is not necessary in this case".   Am interested to know what the legal intepretation is. Its clearly legalese and not layperson's Deutsch. 

 

Still, the main phrase of interest is the part about the tenancy ending upon the death of the lone tenant. 

 

But it also says immediately below ...

 

(4) Im übrigen gelten im Falle des Todes des Mieters die gesetzlichen Bedingungen. 

(4) Otherwise the statutory conditons apply in the event of the death of the tenant.

 

... which could mean that the other clauses are today invalid and you have to adhere to the current legal regulations (3 months notice and paying 3 months rent). Either contact the landlord, who might let you out of the contract sooner, or seek expert advice to clarify as others here have already advised.

 

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I'm not a lawyer but my interpretation of clause (4) is that it only applies if none of the 3 situations mentioned above are applicable. 

 

Anyway, given the cost of even basic end-of-tenancy cleaning (50 EUR/ hour), we've decided to contact the landlord and discuss next steps. It seems pretty clear that the law dictates that we will have at least 1 month, and probably 3 months before handing over the keys.  Our fear is not that we might have to adhere to a 1-3 month notice period. That would be fine. Our only concern was that the contract seemed (according to clause 3) to have already been terminated upon the death of my father in law and we weren't sure where that left us 

 

We'll chat to landlord, and then do whatever cleaning and renovating is required in accordance with the contract and the outcome of that discussion. If we have any problem with what the landlord says, then we'll probably take up Mieterverein membership and/or get some legal advice.  

 

Thanks to all for your help! 

 

 

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2 hours ago, CustomX said:

I'm not a lawyer but my interpretation of clause (4) is that it only applies if none of the 3 situations mentioned above are applicable. 

 

It's just that according to Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch there seems to be no provision for clause 3, which is why clause 4 would apply to my understanding. Either side can terminate the contract, if not, the contract continues: https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/bgb/__564.html

 

Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch (BGB)
§ 564 Fortsetzung des Mietverhältnisses mit dem Erben, außerordentliche Kündigung

Treten beim Tod des Mieters keine Personen im Sinne des § 563 in das Mietverhältnis ein oder wird es nicht mit ihnen nach § 563a fortgesetzt, so wird es mit dem Erben fortgesetzt. In diesem Fall ist sowohl der Erbe als auch der Vermieter berechtigt, das Mietverhältnis innerhalb eines Monats außerordentlich mit der gesetzlichen Frist zu kündigen, nachdem sie vom Tod des Mieters und davon Kenntnis erlangt haben, dass ein Eintritt in das Mietverhältnis oder dessen Fortsetzung nicht erfolgt sind.

 

Here is also an article explaining the ins and outs of these laws in plain German: 

https://www.welt.de/finanzen/immobilien/article13710010/Mietvertrag-endet-nicht-mit-dem-Tod-des-Mieters.html

In your case:

Quote

 

Anders sieht es aus, wenn der Mieter allein gelebt hat: Der Mietvertrag wird nun ebenfalls fortgeführt, und zwar mit dem oder den Erben. Anders als beim „Eintrittsrecht“ eines Mitbewohners hat der Vermieter nach Paragraf 564 Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch nun aber einen Monat lang ein außerordentliches Kündigungsrecht den Mietvertrag mit der gesetzlichen Kündigungsfrist zu beenden.

Erbe wird Gesamtschuldner

Umgekehrt gilt die gleiche Regel auch für Erben. Unternehmen sie nichts, läuft der Mietvertrag weiter. Der Erbe haftet dann gegenüber dem Vermieter für die pünktliche Mietzahlung , im Falle einer Erbengemeinschaft aber auch jeder einzelne Erbe als „Gesamtschuldner“ auf die volle Miete.

 

 

 

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Just thought I'd update the thread. After struggling to get hold of the correct building manager, we finally got someone who could a(sort of) advise us late last week and were told that the notice period is a non negotiable 3 months. We gave written notice immediately. No need to renovate. Just needs a clean to get it to a presentable level. Once thats done, there'll be a formal handover inspection. Thanks to all for your advice. It was very useful! 

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Why would that matter? Just want to be done with it, TBH. All this stuff is horrible. 

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I understand that part and I suppose I was just being petty and not wanting them to enter and start renovations or rent it out while you are still paying for it. I'm still angry about when the did the same thing with my BIL's flat - made us wait and pay 3 more months. Ruined our summer plans on top of everything else.

 

Good on you for being the bigger person. I mean that.

 

 

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haha, ok yes I can understand that. If the rent was higher, we'd probably put up a little more of a fight (and probably to no avail) but at 270 EUR/pm, the overall difference between 1 & 3 months notice is not worth the cost of legal advice and trying to haggle over the contract wording. At the handover inspection we'll propose an earlier date and see if they can be swayed. The rep last week was a stand-in and just wanted to get us off the phone "thats what the contract says so thats what it is", but the lady who actually handled the apartment for 17 years might have a bit more flex. We'll see  

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