Buying rented apartment with Sozialhilfeempfänger as tenant

37 posts in this topic

Hello TT members, 

 

Few weeks ago I and my wife bought an apartment in Munich. The  tenants (a couple) are living in the apartment since 11 years and the rent has never been increased since then (although many modernisation were done for the building). The tenant contract is only on their name. Meanwhile, the couple, in their mid 50s has claimed to live on Sozialgeld (Sozialhilfeempfänger). Apparently they have appointed a Sachbearbeiter for many months to allocate them a Sozialwohnung.  Also, during our first visit to the apartment, we saw their daughter and grandson living with them, which was also confirmed by the previous owner (owning other three apartments in Munich) and the Makler. According to them, there are total of 5 people living in that apartment of 80 square meter. 

 

My questions regarding to this situation:

 

  1. what would be the best solution for us to get the apartment empty for our own use as early as possible: Eigenbedarfkündigung, Mietaufhebungsvertrag or new Mietvertrag (for five person) with notice period.  
  2. Is it possible to create the new Mietvertrag at all? (previous owner recommend this citing the reason five people are living instead of two) 
  3. Could we ask their Sachbearbeiter for their status of getting a Sozialwohnung?
  4. If we increase their rent, would they also get more Sozialgeld to afford the rent increase? 

 

 

Shall look forward to the suggestions. 

 

Best,

James

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53 minutes ago, james patek said:

Hello TT members, 

 

Few weeks ago I and my wife bought an apartment in Munich.

 

May I ask why (given these tenants)? The questions you are asking now, you should have asked better before buying, sorry.

 

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The  tenants (a couple) are living in the apartment since 11 years and the rent has never been increased since then (although many modernisation were done for the building). The tenant contract is only on their name. Meanwhile, the couple, in their mid 50s has claimed to live on Sozialgeld (Sozialhilfeempfänger). Apparently they have appointed a Sachbearbeiter for many months to allocate them a Sozialwohnung.  

 

 

One can not appoint a Sachbearbeiter, he's assigned by the office, but that's just by the way. There are 43,000 social housing units in Munich - and only about 3,200 are newly occupied every year. In 2016, there were 24,000 applications for these 3,200 apartments – and there are likely to be even more in the meantime. This means that it takes years until someone gets a social housing.

 

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My questions regarding to this situation:

 

  1. what would be the best solution for us to get the apartment empty for our own use as early as possible: Eigenbedarfkündigung, Mietaufhebungsvertrag or new Mietvertrag (for five person) with notice period.  

 

Why should tenants accept a new lease that is less favourable for them? They are unlikely to do so as they legally don't have to.  There is no reason for a tenancy termination agreement, your only option will be the Eigenbedarf. You have to prove this and then prepare yourself for an uphill battle before you can move in. You will have to sue and the will of a court to send a family of five into homelessness will not be too great. So the family will probably get a lot of time to find another apartment or to get a social housing from the city. The "as soon as possible" will be rather years than months.

 

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  1. Is it possible to create the new Mietvertrag at all? (previous owner recommend this citing the reason five people are living instead of two) 

 

The tenants do not have to sign a new contract, close relatives may move in even without a tenancy agreement or the landlords consent, unless the apartment is overcrowded. However, this cannot be assumed for 5 people on 80 sqm. You can only increase the additional costs (Nebenkosten) accordingly.

 

Strictly speaking, the tenant must notify the landlord of the admission of close relatives - whether this was done is not clear from your remarks (and even if not, this would not justify termination, since as I said the landlord's consent is not required anyway).

 

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  1. Could we ask their Sachbearbeiter for their status of getting a Sozialwohnung?

 

No, the Sachbearbeiter will not give you any information. In view of the housing shortage in Munich, he probably couldn't tell you anything anyway - and of course he's not allowed to. 

 

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  1. If we increase their rent, would they also get more Sozialgeld to afford the rent increase? 

 

 

Probably, but you are only allowed to increase the rent in Munich by 15% within three years. This is not a good way to exert pressure. 

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Thank you very much for your answer.

Till today we were convinced by markler and previous owner that we will be able to move in in 3 months at max in case of new contract and 9 months with Eigenbedarf.

 

1 hour ago, someonesdaughter said:

 

 

Strictly speaking, the tenant must notify the landlord of the admission of close relatives - whether this was done is not clear from your remarks (and even if not, this would not justify termination, since as I said the landlord's consent is not required anyway).

 

 

Yes. Everytime we asked Tenant about the daughter and grandchildren, they said there daughter and grandson are only visiting them on Sunday.  They are living illegally therefore.

 

Would it be possible to prove that there are more people living in the apartment then mentioned in the contract?

Would you also please advise us what could be best solution for us to move in soon?

 

Best,

James

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21 minutes ago, james patek said:

Till today we were convinced by markler and previous owner that we will be able to move in in 3 months at max in case of new contract and 9 months with Eigenbedarf.

Sorry, but you were misled. Buying a tenanted apartment to claim Eigenbedarf is always tricky, but even more so if the tenants are on welfare.

 

I hope you have a good lawyer, because something tells me you're going to need it.

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good lord, NEVER trust a seller and worse - a makler - to know what the hell they're talking about.

 

At best they may be wrong, and at worst - I suspect in this case - they'll shine you coming and going.

 

gah!

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So, lots of things you should have done BEFORE buying the property, and no easy way to get rid of those tenants going the legal route. 

Alternatively, as you are their new landlord, why not introduce yourself to them? That way, you can explain that you bought the house for personal use, and you understand that will mean that they will need to leave. Perhaps you could assist them, by making a financial gesture to help them move: for example, you could offer a few thousand if they can be out by Easter next year? That way, they won't need to worry about saving up for a deposit, and you can have the house you want sooner? You can also suggest you could waive any obligations on them tidying/painting the property etc prior to leaving.

If they aren't prepared to show some sort of flexibility then it looks like you may need your lawyer. Also, if the estate agent wrote to you explaining that you could have the property within 3 months, that might be actionable against him/her, but I imagine that this was explained in person/over the phone, so there is a likely evidential problem.

Good luck.

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"financial gesture"? 

 

dude they are on welfare.

 

in Munich.

 

I daresay their flexibility is very very limited.

 

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Also... dont forget the Deposit paid by the tennant is to be transfered from the vendors "accout to yours... along with all the interest"... 

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28 minutes ago, dstanners said:

Alternatively, as you are their new landlord, why not introduce yourself to them? That way, you can explain that you bought the house for personal use, and you understand that will mean that they will need to leave. Perhaps you could assist them, by making a financial gesture to help them move: for example, you could offer a few thousand if they can be out by Easter next year?

 

While I think that's logically the obvious way to go given limits on the other options, a few thousand is barely three month's rent for many family sized properties in Munich now and of course they would have to reenter the market at 2019 prices.  It'd not pay deposit and agent fees.    You'd be looking at being substantially larger to tempt, unless they took a very short term view of cash in hand now.    I doubt most of us would easily give up our home in an expensive sought after place and try to look for another one for a few grand in 2019, really.  It'd need to be a lot more.

 

But that's just the equation of course.   The property was cheaper with a sitting tenant, so it balances.   The agent was just evasive about how much that later cost might be.

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Yes,  Eigenbedarrf will work, but this is going to be an uphill process:

tenants have been there 11 years and on Hartz4.

Tenant's rights are strong here, so they cannot be easily evicted.

Still, you will have bought the place for a good price! Think of it as a long term investment and rely on your lawyer to get the process expedited !

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16 minutes ago, swimmer said:

a few thousand is barely three month's rent

I live in the Eifel, so a few thousand goes much further around here...and there isn't quite as much difficulty finding empty places! So, the amount of the offer may need to be different to reflect the relevant location, but the point holds (and in any event, money is just part of what you can offer). Lawyers aren't going to be cheap, and dealing with litigation will be stressful as well as time consuming for all involved. There is a real misconception that you can just call a lawyer and wait for the problem to disappear.

 

My advice is also based on my experience of getting rid of a tenant (he'd been in the flat for 13 years). A welcome gift and a long chat when we met, a fair payment offer (Eifel specific!), waiver of his obligation to paint or tidy his flat, and a discussion about when/where he could move. I let him keep some stuff in the flat for a while, and helped him move out. So, with relatively little effort on my part, we parted on good terms, and have a chat (sometimes a drink) whenever we bump into each other.  

 

You're dealing with people - just talk to them first.

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2 hours ago, james patek said:

 

Would it be possible to prove that there are more people living in the apartment then mentioned in the contract?

 

 

As the owner you have the right to know who's registered at your apartment. Ask at the Wohnanmeldeamt.

 

If they are registered, there's your proof. If they aren't, check the post box; are their names on it? That also constitutes proof that they live there.

 

If none of the above, that's a harder case to crack.

 

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46 minutes ago, RedMidge said:

Eigenbedarrf will work

 

But it might not.  My understanding is that essentially, the owner has to show they *need* the place more than the current tenant does and it has to be "appropriate" - eg a single owner doesn't get as much traction claiming eigenbedarf for a large apartment with a couple or family living in it.  On this basis, going up against long term tenants on Harz IV could ultimately fail, or at the very least take a very long time to win.

 

Even if you can prove the daughter and child are living there full time, I don't think that will get you very far.  As someonesdaughter pointed out, close family is generally allowed without landlord approval, yada yada - read her response again as it's valid.

 

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4 hours ago, james patek said:

Till today we were convinced by markler and previous owner that we will be able to move in in 3 months at max in case of new contract and 9 months with Eigenbedarf.

 

I'm afraid they painted your chances in too bright a color. The tenants would be very stupid if they signed a new contract which only has the purpose to get rid of them quickly. 

 

And as the rental agreement is in force for more than eight years, the regular statutory period of notice is nine months anyway. 

 

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Yes. Everytime we asked Tenant about the daughter and grandchildren, they said there daughter and grandson are only visiting them on Sunday.  They are living illegally therefore.

 

No, sorry.

 

Tenants may accommodate close relatives in their apartment without the permission of the landlord. They have the right to do so. 

 

 

In case law, close relatives include spouses and registered civil partners, parents, children, grandchildren, even nieces and nephews, etc. The tenants do not need the consent of the landlord and even if they do not inform the landlord about the admission, this does not justify termination. 

 

Even if the family members were not registered there, this would only be a violation of the (state) registration requirements - this does not entitle you as a landlord to terminate the contract. 

 

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Would it be possible to prove that there are more people living in the apartment then mentioned in the contract?

 

Yes, about the query at the Einwohnermeldeamt. But as I said, this does not justify termination of the contract. You are only allowed to adjust the additional costs (Nebenkosten) accordingly. 

 

 

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Would you also please advise us what could be best solution for us to move in soon?

 

Sorry, I don't see any except personal use/Eigenbedarf, if (!) it's justified. And that will take time and the tenants can defend themselves in court, this is not a self-runner. By the way, "Sozialgeld" means that at least one tenant is not able to work, for example due to illness. In case of doubt, this makes it considerably more difficult to terminate the tenancy. 

 

How do you live now? What is the Eigenbedarf based on? Do you as a tenant have to move out of an apartment yourself, are there special difficulties like many children or illness? Do old or seriously ill relatives have to be cared for by you and you therefore need the apartment? 

 

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I agree that it important to understand the tenants' rights.   Going round accusing others of acting illegally has to be considered carefully anyway (and also may be libel / slander) but will definitely not help, such hostile actions usually make our motivation look suspect (especially toward a disadvantaged group).

 

And also that it is necessary to build your own case around how you have a need for it that you cannot otherwise meet etc according to law.   I'd say that is the priority.  Forget how the tenant lives.   Focus on building yourself and that.   Get advisory support if needed, it will be worth paying for from people who know what typically works in persuading the authorities.   Starting the process will also indicate you are serious - putting the markers down. 

 

Not sure there's much need to be angsting: it's normal process with a choice to buy place with a sitting tenant.  A usual next step.   Money and legal process tend to work efficiently and effectively in a way speculation and accusations (especially false ones) don't.   This situation may work best if you keep your cool, not let get heated.

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So... First of all, increase the rent by the legally permitted amount... Increase the Nebenkosten too as there is more waste produced and more wear and tear on the apartment floors, doors and bog-seats etc.

 

Also, if their kids are living there, demand to see the rental contract... 

 

Then laywer-up..

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If you bought the apartment at a foreclosure, you have a sonderkündigungsrecht which allows you to give them 3 months notice to vacate regardless of them having lived there for so long.  You would however have to make use of that within the first month of having bought the place.  Otherwise, it's eigenbedarf and you would have to give them 9 months.  They can still protest the notice based on not having found another apartment they can afford, being on benefits etc. etc. and so it could take even longer to get them out.  You can either join Haus & Grund or talk to a lawyer about your options and expectations.  It's possible that they'll leave if you give them notice and it's also possible that they'll dig their heels in and fight you all the way.  If they do, it'll be very stressful for you both.  You will eventually get them out but at what cost?  Or as others have said, you can go and have a chat.  You can tell them that you bought the place to live in it and ask them what it will take for them to move out quietly.  Maybe you will agree on something.

 

In the meantime, in order to slowly correct the low rent, you should start by giving them 3 months notice of a rent increase of 15%.  I don't think you can increase the nebenkosten though without knowing if they overpaid or underpaid for last year.  Is there a way to find out from the former owner?  If they underpaid, you can raise their nebenkosten.  The job centre should not have a problem even with a 15% raise if their rent is way low right now and they should pay their nebenkosten as well.

 

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If there are 5 people in the house and there are only supposed to be 2, then its probably that the HV dont know about the extra3 ... Therefore 3 more people create double the household rubbish... 

 

 

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40 minutes ago, SpiderPig said:

If there are 5 people in the house and there are only supposed to be 2, then its probably that the HV dont know about the extra3 ... Therefore 3 more people create double the household rubbish... 

 

It is possible that the garbage is split by apartment size as opposed to per person.  The OP would need to have a look at the nebenkostenabrechnung for the last year to find out.

 

Another thing I thought of.  A couple living in an 80 sq. m. apartment on Hartz iv isn't really kosher, is it now?  A single person gets 45 sq.m.  Sometimes they will turn a blind eye if it's 50.  A couple should get 60.  But 80 is a bit much.  Of course it's possible that the daughter is also on Hartz iv and they are considered as a bedarfsgemeinschaft?

 

The social worker will not give the OP any info.  They are not allowed to.  The OP could volunteer the info that the couple is living with daughter and grandchildren in this 80 sq.m. apartment.  The social worker may not comment but they might do an investigation into it although it's possible they don't really care.

 

It is also possible that the apartment was listed as smaller in the contract in order for the job center to pay.  A friend bought a house with 2 persons in it.  They were a couple.  The house was 120 sq. m. but in the rental contracts, it was listed as two apartments, 45 and 50 sq.m. and each of them was renting one.  Their social worker wanted new rental contracts and so we made new contracts and emailed the social worker that the apartments were larger than in the original contracts and that we would increase the rent.  He only replied that he was not allowed to discuss their case.  The job center still continued paying their rent.

 

My friend later decided to move in himself and so he gave them notice due to eigenbedarf and they moved.  However, it's not Munich and it's easy to find housing here.

 

 

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24 minutes ago, LeonG said:

 

Another thing I thought of.  A couple living in an 80 sq. m. apartment on Hartz iv isn't really kosher, is it now?  A single person gets 45 sq.m.  Sometimes they will turn a blind eye if it's 50.  A couple should get 60. 

 

The "get" part is the is the crucial point here. If the rent has never been increased since they moved in (as James said) it will be quite low – lower than a rent that had to be paid if they are moving now. The social welfare office (or whoever pays the rent) will have more interest in taking over a low old rent than one that is at the high level of 2018. 

 

24 minutes ago, LeonG said:

 

But 80 is a bit much.  Of course it's possible that the daughter is also on Hartz iv and they are considered as a bedarfsgemeinschaft?

 

James said that they get "Sozialgeld". Sozialgeld is is a welfare benefit for persons in need of assistance, who are not employable and have no requirement on ALG II, which live however with an employable person in a Bedarfsgemeinschaft.

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