Landlord Deposit and Contract Issue

9 posts in this topic

Hello everyone,

 

I was wondering if I could try and get some advice/ideas from the community regarding an issue I'm having with my deposit on a flat I've been renting in Bavaria.

 

We have recently told the landlord we plan to move out, giving him the agreed three months notice and we will be gone by the end of March. In the meantime I still will pay two months rent (totalling 1,700 Euros).

 

We recently met with the landlord to discuss moving out and that is when our problem started. When we first moved in over five years ago the apartment was owned by someone else, and he was our landlord. About eighteen months into living there the old landlord sold the apartment to the current landlord and he took over our tenancy and raised the rent by fifty Euros which we agreed to.

 

When this changeover occurred we signed a new tenancy agreement with the current landlord. I have copies of both the agreements for the two landlords still. The first one mentions the 1,950 Euro deposit we handed over to the original landlord, unfortunately the second one does not. At the time we mentioned this to the current landlord and he told us he had the deposit now and would give it back to us when we eventually moved out and we took him at his word (stupidly). Unfortunately we never got anything in writing about this which is certainly our mistake, (I think because we were just relieved that we were staying there as the new landlord had initially told us that his plan was to move us out and try and offer the flat to the government for refugee housing).

 

Anyway now the current landlord is telling us he never received the deposit from the previous landlord and as far as he is concerned we never paid him a deposit. Our original contract with the first landlord mentions the deposit however. Our current landlord wants us to take out some sort of insurance so that when we move out he can claim against our insurance for repairs that he wants to make (which I am pretty sure is insurance fraud). In addition he still expects that we paint and restore everything (as agreed in the contract admittedly) even though he has no intention of giving any of our deposit back. So not only will it cost me my 1,950 Euros but also all the time and money to put the apartment back to ship shape.

 

So I was wondering what you think my options are. I have been trawling the other posts on Toytown and I can see that I am not the only one to have landlord issues. I did find one post where someone mentioned that a new landlord is bound to the terms and conditions of the original contract, but I can't find it anymore.Is that true? A few other things of note;

 

- I am pretty sure none of our rental agreements are above board. The contracts have just been made up by the landlords themselves and we never put the deposit into a third party bank account like you have to do in the UK (and from reading other Toytown posts about this it seems like this should also be the case in Germany?)

- The second landlord originally wanted to evict us to try and rent the flat to the government but I am quite sure that the reason that this didn't happen is because the apartment failed the inspection for housing (it's a great apartment but there are definitely multiple shortcuts in the construction, it was previously burned down and I think rebuilt on the shady side).

- Both of the landlords are Turkish, I didn't know that this was/is an issue, but my German wife seems terrified of this fact and seems to think this is reason alone to let the (my) 1,950 Euros go.

- Our current landlord says the old landlord is in the wind and cannot be contacted. I have found him on Facebook however and sent him a message asking if he ever transferred the deposit over, but so far no reply.

 

I am not a member of the Mieterverein (I had never heard of the Mieterverein until I started to read all the other posts here) either. Can I still contact them for assistance?

 

Once again any help/advice is greatly appreciated.

 

Thanks!

 

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Yes, tell your German wife to take the two contracts to the Mieterverein as soon as possible. They can advice on most of the questions, except for her prejudice against Turkish landlords... 

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You can definitely join the Mieterverein now and they will advise you and maybe help you write letters but not help you take it to court because you didn't join beforehand.

 

If you hadn't signed a new agreement, your current landlord would have had to make good on the old one. Now that you have a new agreement, that's the one that counts. 

 

Maybe your recourse would be to go after the old landlord for the deposit. He can then go after the current if he has proof that the deposit changed hands. It's also possible that you can go after the current landlord based on that he took over the old agreement while the new one was made later and hence if he took over a contract with a deposit and later made you a new one with no deposit he must have given you the deposit back and should prove that he did. Talk to the Mieterverein about this.

 

As for insurance I guess he may be talking Haftpflicht which you absolutely should have if you live in Germany. It covers damage you make to a 3rd party property. Say you dropped something heavy in the sink or tub and chipped or cracked it, the landlord can go after your insurance instead of you. For normal wear and tear he can't. You should definitely get it if you don't have it but you shouldn't own up to any damage you didn't do.

 

As for renovating the apartment, some of the clauses in rental contracts are not legal so get it looked at by the Mieterverein and have them tell you what you need to do.

 

Your landlord could never have moved you out in order to rent to refugees. In Germany as long as you pay rent the only reason you can be kicked out is Eigenbedarf which is the landlord needs it for himself or close family. Even then you can fight it. In such a case, if you move and the landlord or his close family don't move in, you can sue them for your moving costs.

 

 

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I do have Haftpflicht, however I think the landlord wanted me to have something else on top of this which I won't be doing. There isn't much in the way of damage, it was a totally unfurnished flat when we moved in, but over five and a bit years there has been a bit of wear and tear and I would happily have given up some of the deposit for this, but not nearly two grand's worth.

 

I will indeed go to the Mieterverein and see what they say though. The landlord is coming to view the apartment again at the beginning of March once all our stuff is out to give us his assessment, however he never saw the flat originally when empty (he started to claim some of the things might have already been there but fortunately I have photos of the place empty when we originally moved in) so I'm not sure what he will be assessing against...

 

I guess I will cough up the rent in the meantime as I don't really get anything from withholding it except probably more trouble.

 

28 minutes ago, LeonG said:

Your landlord could never have moved you out in order to rent to refugees. In Germany as long as you pay rent the only reason you can be kicked out is Eigenbedarf which is the landlord needs it for himself or close family. Even then you can fight it. In such a case, if you move and the landlord or his close family don't move in, you can sue them for your moving costs.

 

To be fair I don't think he intended to kick us out the following day, but to give us the three months termination that was agreed in the contract from both sides. Not sure if that makes a difference, but I guess it doesn't really matter now anyway.

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13 minutes ago, Petedln said:

To be fair I don't think he intended to kick us out the following day, but to give us the three months termination that was agreed in the contract from both sides. Not sure if that makes a difference, but I guess it doesn't really matter now anyway.

 

It wouldn't fly here even with 3 months notice.  The tenant is free to give notice to move out but the landlord needs a reason. Same as a job. An employee can quit but an employer can't give notice without a reason.

 

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20 hours ago, Petedln said:

I guess I will cough up the rent in the meantime as I don't really get anything from withholding it except probably more trouble.

 

 

As others have said, contact the Mieterverein as soon as possible.

 

If the Mieterverein agrees to handle your case, then all contact will be between the Mieterverein and your landlord.

 

Don't pay anything at all before you have discussed your case with the Mieterverein. Make copies of all relevant documents, rental contracts etc. and take some ID with you. All correspondence will be handled by the Mieterverein.

 

You can also arrange for someone from the Mieterverein to come and inspect the flat and be a witness when you hand the keys back.

 

 

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On 1/24/2020, 9:41:52, White Rose of Yorkshire said:

 

As others have said, contact the Mieterverein as soon as possible.

 

Thanks, I will. Unfortunately I am away working for the next three weeks, and during that period I will pay another rent installment. I don't want to withhold it as I think it will leave me, the flat and all my things vulnerable whilst I am away and I already suspect that both the landlords have in the past been in the flat without my permission (I caught the first one coming out once!)

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1 hour ago, Petedln said:

I already suspect that both the landlords have in the past been in the flat without my permission (I caught the first one coming out once!)

They are not allowed to hold keys without your consent. You´d be allowed to change locks (but when moving out you´d have the undo the change).

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5 hours ago, Petedln said:

 

Thanks, I will. Unfortunately I am away working for the next three weeks, and during that period I will pay another rent installment. I don't want to withhold it as I think it will leave me, the flat and all my things vulnerable whilst I am away and I already suspect that both the landlords have in the past been in the flat without my permission (I caught the first one coming out once!)

 

Change the cylinder in the lock but keep the old one in order to swap back before you hand the apartment over.  The landlord does not have a right to keep an extra key unless you let him and even then, he is not allowed to use it unless there is an emergency such as a blown water pipe or similar.  If the landlord has let himself into your apartment without an emergency situation being present, it is illegal and you can file charges against him.

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