Extendable limited rentals - is it not unfair for tenants?

23 posts in this topic

Hello everyone! I have been an avid Toytown reader for quite a while, but this is actually my first post. 

 

Having been twice through the awful experience of the Munich rental market, I have encountered often landlords that rent on a 6-month limited basis. Now, I wouldn't have a problem if this limit is established and enforced from the beginning - for instance if the landlord's relatives plan to move in afterwards. Here the Tennant wouldn't have any illusions of staying for a longer time. 

 

The issue here is that landlords advertise the rent first over a six-month limited period (as established in the rental contract), and explicitly say that they will renew the rental for a longer period "unless it doesn't work between you and me".  I thought this couldn't be that bad until a landlord actually didn't renew me over completely irrational reasons, which totally felt like an eviction  on which I didn't have any legal grounds to dispute. 

 

What I want to ask: is it even legal that landlords rent for a limited time without a reason? Since I have found more and more ads like this, I am wondering if this can be somehow denounced. The landlords are always in a position of power, and if things go wrong for them with a terrible tenant there is always a (huge) Kaution and proper legal processes of eviction. 

 

Forgive my complaining - it's just that after paying the rent on time and being a clean and silent tenant it frustrates me how much power still lies on the landlords, and how unfair they can be sometimes...

 

 

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13 hours ago, KaffeinPotato said:

What I want to ask: is it even legal that landlords rent for a limited time without a reason?

No. If they haven't given any proper reason the tenant can legally demand to stay. (§ 575 BGB)

As in any country: you need to stand up for your rights. If you move out "only" because the landlords says so ...

 

13 hours ago, KaffeinPotato said:

Since I have found more and more ads like this, I am wondering if this can be somehow denounced.

Difficult. Authorities don't really seem to care.

 

13 hours ago, KaffeinPotato said:

The landlords are always in a position of power, and if things go wrong for them with a terrible tenant there is always a (huge) Kaution and proper legal processes of eviction.

I disagree. Damages can quickly exceed any Kaution and the "legal processes of eviction" are long and often unsuccessful. Basically, the landlord has the power when deciding on who to rent to. Once a tenant has moved in the landlord has lost his powers. That's why German landlords are very careful/picky about who they choose. For a small landlord letting the wrong tenant move in can end in financial ruin.

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Sneaker is spot on.

 

 
 
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13 hours ago, KaffeinPotato said:

 

The issue here is that landlords advertise the rent first over a six-month limited period (as established in the rental contract), and explicitly say that they will renew the rental for a longer period "unless it doesn't work between you and me".  I thought this couldn't be that bad until a landlord actually didn't renew me over completely irrational reasons, which totally felt like an eviction  on which I didn't have any legal grounds to dispute. 

 

 

Unfortunately he pulled the wool over your eyes. 

 

Quote

Section 575
Fixed-term lease

(1) A lease may be entered into for a fixed period of time if the lessor upon termination of the lease period

1.  wishes to use the premises as a dwelling for himself, members of his family or members of his household, or

2.  wishes, admissibly, to eliminate the premises or change or repair them so substantially that the measures would be significantly more difficult as a result of a continuation of the lease, or

3.  wishes to lease the premises to a person obliged to perform services

and he notifies the lessee in writing of the reasons for the fixed term when the agreement is entered into. Otherwise the lease is deemed to have been entered into for an indefinite period of time.

 

Unless there was a valid reason specified on the lease for the lease to be fixed term you could have just carried on living there and it was your landlord who had no leg to stand on.

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Are these furnished appartments, let under Wohnen auf Zeit arrangements? Then the law would indeed be different. Just to clarify.

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2 hours ago, Feierabend said:

Are these furnished appartments, let under Wohnen auf Zeit arrangements? Then the law would indeed be different. Just to clarify.

 

I am not aware of this different law for furnished apartments. As far as I know, furnished and unfurnished properties are treated the same with regard to indefinite or time-limited leases. 

The leases of furnished rooms inside the dwelling of a landlord can be rescinded at short notice but this is something different.

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second Smaug's post.  

 

and in fact, even wrt pricing, furnished apartments should still observe legal pricing for the kaltmiete (ie based on the mietspiegel), then add on some factor based on actual value of the furnishings - I posted about this a while back who knows where.

 

that's not how it works in practice, I suspect since most limited term, furnished apartments are rented by foreigners who don't know the law and/or don't care.  And it doesn't help that the common perception even among natives/long term residents is that furnished, short term rentals are allowed to set whatever terms they want.   

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Ah, I think I'm puzzled because how then do people let furnished appartments on a short term basis e.g to people on short term business projects who definitely want just a few months rental? There are many agencies that offer this service to landlords/renters, so how is that done legally? What do the landlords then write into the lease to make it legal?

 

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Just now, Feierabend said:

Ah, I think I'm puzzled because how then do people let furnished appartments on a short term basis e.g to people on short term business projects who definitely want just a few months rental? There are many agencies that offer this service to landlords/renters, so how is that done legally? What do the landlords then write into the lease to make it legal?

 

 

I am such a landlord and I let through such an agency and I will now reveal this closely guarded secret for you. My agency (HomeCompany, I am not going to keep that secret) writes in the contract that the lease is limited until date dd.mm.yy. This is their doing, not mine--it's just their standard contract. There's nothing illegal about this, it's just that the clause is invalid unless it complies with Section 575 of the German Civil Code. 

But the immense majority of tenants aren't experts in rental regulations. Certainly, none of the tenants I've ever had are and they always ask for extensions to the lease, which I always grant because I have no problem with them staying as long as they want. If I refused, two things could happen: they move out by the date specified in the contract, or, they inform themselves on their rights and realize that the lease is indeed indefinite and they can just do nothing and stay in the property.

There's nothing illegal going on: The tenant moves out voluntarily. The system works because of the "common [mis]perception" that @lisa13 talks about in the previous post: That letting a furnished apartment gives the landlord carte blanche to set their own terms.

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Sounds like the landlord is keeping his end of the contract, but you don't want to keep yours.

On 7/30/2019, 1:43:12, KaffeinPotato said:

completely irrational reasons

"irrational" to whom?  You?  The landlord?  Just because you disagree with someone, it doesn't make them irrational.

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it's extremely irrational for a landlord to write a contract that is unwirksam if for no other reason than they will be the ones "suffering" if they ever get called out on it.

 

oh that's right, you don't know jack about German rental laws and/or you think they're irrelevant :)

 

nevermind

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Can't seem to get the quote function but regarding fixed term leases, isn't that just an agreement that you will rent the property for a period of time, say 24 months which at the end you will move out. The landlord can extend the lease but he doesn't have to. No eviction necessary as the lease for agreed in advance to be for a specific period of time and you must move out. This verse a normal lease where there is no end date. 

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6 hours ago, Smaug said:

 

5 hours ago, catjones said:

Sounds like the landlord is keeping his end of the contract, but you don't want to keep yours.

"irrational" to whom?  You?  The landlord?  Just because you disagree with someone, it doesn't make them irrational.

You didn't understand my point. This was not an agreed short time stay, rather a long term (verbally agreed one) with a 6 month "probezeit" (which happens to be illegal, as I have learned here). When I visited the flat, he told me I could stay for long time, and that he would renovate the lease every six months "as long as it goes well between you and me". Which didn't happen because of irrational reasons ?‍♂️ that don't matter much now. 

 

6 hours ago, Smaug said:

 

I am such a landlord and I let through such an agency and I will now reveal this closely guarded secret for you. My agency (HomeCompany, I am not going to keep that secret) writes in the contract that the lease is limited until date dd.mm.yy. This is their doing, not mine--it's just their standard contract. There's nothing illegal about this, it's just that the clause is invalid unless it complies with Section 575 of the German Civil Code. 

But the immense majority of tenants aren't experts in rental regulations. Certainly, none of the tenants I've ever had are and they always ask for extensions to the lease, which I always grant because I have no problem with them staying as long as they want. If I refused, two things could happen: they move out by the date specified in the contract, or, they inform themselves on their rights and realize that the lease is indeed indefinite and they can just do nothing and stay in the property.

There's nothing illegal going on: The tenant moves out voluntarily. The system works because of the "common [mis]perception" that @lisa13 talks about in the previous post: That letting a furnished apartment gives the landlord carte blanche to set their own terms.

Thanks a lot for your explanation! I certainly thought of the opposite. Shouldn't this be common knowledge? 

 

Anyway, it doesn't make sense to stay there since the relationship with the landlord turned quite bad since the episode, but... what would happen if I dispute the contract?  

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you really need to join the mieterverein.

 

for now and for the future.  Join the mieterverein.  There are several in Munich so have at it!

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2 minutes ago, lisa13 said:

you really need to join the mieterverein.

 

for now and for the future.  Join the mieterverein.  There are several in Munich so have at it!

Thanks! Which one do you recommend me? :) Do they mind if you're in one of the nearby towns in another Landkreis? (e.g. Garching in Landkreis Freising)?

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not sure how it would fly if you joined in munich then moved to Freising - you should call them to see

 

I myself am with mieter helfen mietern.  advantage is they have open advice sessions in different locations all over the city every night during the work week, no appointment needed.  Down side is it takes a bit of effort to get them to write a letter on your behalf (but I've never needed that so no big whoop for me) and they don't guarantee help in english (I've been able to manage with that too).

 

the münchner mieterverein offers support in english afaik but I didn't go with them as the wait for an appointment was really long (it was august, so...)  But I had a coworker who joined there and he had a very good experience.

 

the others I don't know anything about.

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23 hours ago, lisa13 said:

oh that's right, you don't know jack about German rental laws and/or you think they're irrelevant :)

 

if Germans behaved as you insist that they should, TT would vanish.

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Hello! Thanks for your answers. 

 

I have another question about this landlord. I (mistakenly) let the landlord access my room with a worker when I was not present. I have now learned that on this day that landlord took photos of the state of some things in my room, and has been showing them to other people. Does he have the right to do that? What are my options? ? The mietverein doesn't seem to be an option because the plan is moving to another Landkreis. 

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52 minutes ago, KaffeinPotato said:

I have another question about this landlord. I (mistakenly) let the landlord access my room with a worker when I was not present. I have now learned that on this day that landlord took photos of the state of some things in my room, and has been showing them to other people. Does he have the right to do that? What are my options? ? The mietverein doesn't seem to be an option because the plan is moving to another Landkreis. 

 

The landlord has no right to take photos without your permission, see  https://mietercoach.de/2017/11/07/vermieter-hat-kein-recht-auf-fotos-fotografieren-einer-vermieteten-wohnung-ist-nur-mit-zustimmung-des-mieters-erlaubt-aber/

 

I suggest you print out the above page, then go to the police, show it to them and file a report.  I don't think it's likely that much will happen but I think the police will talk with the landlord to delete the photos and not try this again.

 

On 8/4/2019, 10:14:50, KaffeinPotato said:

Anyway, it doesn't make sense to stay there since the relationship with the landlord turned quite bad since the episode, but... what would happen if I dispute the contract?  

 

If you don't leave when the lease is up and just continue paying your rent, it would be difficult for the landlord to fight this.  A time limited contract would only be allowed if given special grounds in the contract such as landlord needs to use the housing for himself or his family.  According to  https://www.focus.de/immobilien/praxistipps/befristeter-mietvertrag-wann-ist-ein-zeitmietvertrag-zulaessig_id_7258394.html  even if he tried to give you notice later based on eigenbedarf, it might not fly based on the fact that he tried to give you a time limited contract to begin with without stating that as the reason.

 

However, if you are only renting a furnished room in the landlords apartment where he also lives, other rules may apply.

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