What to do with crazy tenant (Wilmersdorf)

27 posts in this topic

Hi,

 

Normally, I would be very sympathetic to renters rights, especially during a time like now, but my family possibly in a special situation.  We own a lovely one bedroom apartment in Berlin, where the tenant has not paid rent for 7 months (He was contracted to stay less than that.  We actually like to stay there as well.).  Furthermore, he has changed the locks on the doors, so I could not physically get into the apartment if I was in Berlin.  So basically, someone stole our home.  I could share the company (not sure if it's real based on the website) that this guy claims to have started, but I think for now I will not make everything so public.

 

There is a hearing scheduled to happen this week, but I have a feeling that due to COVID and the trend that the courts generally favor the renters over the landlords, he will be allowed to stay.  So, I guess I am asking if anyone has experience on:

 

-Eviction

-Restraining Orders

-Compensation for damaged property

etc.

 

All new to us admittedly.

 

Thanks!

 

 

 

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oh boy... that may be tough right now, but... there's hope.

 

Did you have a valid Zeitmietvertrag? (like they describe here: https://www.finanztip.de/mietvertrag/zeitmietvertrag/ )

 

There needs to be a clear reason, stated on the contract, why and when the tenant had to move out. If you really have that,  it may be easier for you, to get this non-paying "tenant" out.

 

Since it is really hard to have a legal valid "Zeitmietvertrag", chances are your contract will be considered just a regular rental for "indefinitely". Even then it is not impossible to get a non-paying tenant out. It may take a bit longer with this current COVID-19 situation, depending on when you first sued the person. Was that before the new regulations? Hasn't been paying for the past 7 months - i.e. since October/November 2019 - suggests that.

 

Now, collecting your back rent, or even damages, will be next to impossible. Be prepared to spend lots of time and money - just to get nowhere, or maybe a return of cents to the Euro.

 

Heres a pretty good description of the process (if you know enough German)

https://www.rechtsanwalt-schwartmann.de/kundigung-des-mietvertrages-und-der-mieter-raumt-nicht-was-tun/

 

I had a similar situation with one of my tenants - stopped paying, made all kinds of excuses, changed the locks on the apartment, was never there... it took me a full year to have him evicted. The apartment needed major repairs afterwards, and I never saw a penny from the guy.

 

I learned a valuable lesson: being "socially responsible" doesn't get you anywhere. Now I thoroughly and personally check out every potential tenant before I hand over the keys.

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So I assume you already gave him notice, he didn't leave and you took him to court?  Do you have a lawyer?  It may help you to join haus and grund which is the home owners association.  They might be able to give you some tips.

 

You should not complain about him changing the locks though because the only way you would know that he did was if you tried your key in his door.  This is a big no-no here.  It's not your right to enter your rented out apartment, even if the tenant isn't paying.

 

A friend of mine did look into having some tenants evicted although it didn't come to that in the end.  We were told that the court would take 3 to 6 months making their decision depending on how busy the court is.  This could end up being longer if the tenant fights it.  So I guess this is the stage where you are at.  If he shows up and defends himself during that hearing, he may be allowed more time. 

 

If you are allowed to evict him, you talk to a court bailiff who will usually give him another 3-4 weeks to leave.  If he doesn't leave, he will eventually be evicted at your cost.  You can either have the bailiff take his things to a storage or you can go with the Berliner model which is cheaper as they will just kick him out and change the locks and leave his items in the apartment.  This is however tricky for you as well because you have to be extremely careful to document and take care of his items because he may exaggerate what was in there and accuse you of having stolen something.

 

It may be less costly for you if you pay him to leave.  However, if you do that, don't give him money until you get the new keys at the same time and be ready to change the locks again immediately.

 

As for compensation for damaged items, this doesn't sound like a person who has money.  If I'm right about that, good luck.  Even a court bailiff can not get money from him that he doesn't have.  If I'm wrong and he has money, just doesn't feel like paying rent for some reason, you can get a verdict against him and send a bailiff to his house to collect money or remove assets.

 

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40 minutes ago, LeonG said:
42 minutes ago, LeonG said:

So I assume you already gave him notice, he didn't leave and you took him to court?  Do you have a lawyer?  It may help you to join haus and grund which is the home owners association.  They might be able to give you some tips.

 

You should not complain about him changing the locks though because the only way you would know that he did was if you tried your key in his door.  This is a big no-no here.  It's not your right to enter your rented out apartment, even if the tenant isn't paying.

 

 

  That's good to know, but I should make clear that noone else attempted to enter the building

40 minutes ago, LeonG said:

 

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Good advice from above posters. As you have now realised- tenants have very strong rights here in Germany.

You cannot just arrive at your apartment and demand to be allowed in.

You need to have tenant's agreement for inspection checks. Emergency situations and repairs might warrant a forced entry.

So many Germans are happy to have long term tenants, and generally seem to work with their tenants.

You seem to have a lawyer? 

Much might depend on your contract, as already mentioned. It will take time, and money.

Good luck.

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4 hours ago, LeonG said:

  It's not your right to enter your rented out apartment, even if the tenant isn't paying.

But the OP said the guy overstayed the agreed lease period. That might make him a squatter, not a tenant. Would he still not be allowed to enter?

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3 hours ago, jeba said:

But the OP said the guy overstayed the agreed lease period. That might make him a squatter, not a tenant. Would he still not be allowed to enter?

 

Not paying rent for 7 months makes him a squatter/Mietnomad.

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The user name Overlord annoys me. Just saying. Possibly a little bit of info missing as usual. 

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8 hours ago, jeba said:

But the OP said the guy overstayed the agreed lease period. That might make him a squatter, not a tenant. Would he still not be allowed to enter?

 

It might make him a squatter and it might not.  Many fixed term agreements are unlawful because they are formulated wrong so if the tenant were to challenge that and wins it, he's no longer on a fixed term agreement.  Of course he still hasn't paid his rent in 7 months but they still have to go to court to evict him.

 

Now, even if he was a squatter, does that mean the landlord may evict him himself?

 

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4 hours ago, LeonG said:

Now, even if he was a squatter, does that mean the landlord may evict him himself?

No, but he should be allowed to enter and it might shorten the legal process.

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1 hour ago, jeba said:

No, but he should be allowed to enter and it might shorten the legal process.

 

So you mean it's your personal opinion that he should be or you mean that he legally is?  Personally I wouldn't have a problem if the landlord were allowed self justice in cases like this but I'm afraid that the German law usually takes the tenants side and the landlord can get a nasty surprise if he oversteps his boundaries.

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1 minute ago, LeonG said:

 

So you mean it's your personal opinion that he should be or you mean that he legally is?  Personally I wouldn't have a problem if the landlord were allowed self justice in cases like this but I'm afraid that the German law usually takes the tenants side and the landlord can get a nasty surprise if he oversteps his boundaries.

Of course, it´m only my layman´view and I was referring to the question of whether the OP would be allowed to enter - not whether he can forcefully evict himself.

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20 hours ago, overlord_jake said:

Furthermore, he has changed the locks on the doors, so I could not physically get into the apartment if I was in Berlin.

Isn't this normal?! Surely when you move into a new place you change all the locks???!!! And if you're renting, you at least switch them to your own locks for the time you are there???!!! Otherwise you have no idea who is getting into the property whilst you are out!! Also, if there is a theft by a person who happens to (still) have a key, your insurance might not pay out for your loss as there would be no evidence of a forced entry or break-in!! 

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24 minutes ago, lunaCH said:

Isn't this normal?! Surely when you move into a new place you change all the locks???!!! And if you're renting, you at least switch them to your own locks for the time you are there???!!! 

It is normal in Chicago.

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33 minutes ago, lunaCH said:

Isn't this normal?! Surely when you move into a new place you change all the locks???!!! And if you're renting, you at least switch them to your own locks for the time you are there???!!! Otherwise you have no idea who is getting into the property whilst you are out!! Also, if there is a theft by a person who happens to (still) have a key, your insurance might not pay out for your loss as there would be no evidence of a forced entry or break-in!! 

 

I don't know if it's normal but it's certainly not illegal.  Some advise you to change the cylinders in the locks when you move in and change them back when you move out.  In some countries, your landlord may be entitled to a key but in Germany they are not.

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Changing locks really doesn't make a difference.  Anyone with locksmith tools (available for order online) and a few minutes of viewing a Youtube video can open a door in seconds.

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1 hour ago, Space Cowboy said:

Changing locks really doesn't make a difference.  Anyone with locksmith tools (available for order online) and a few minutes of viewing a Youtube video can open a door in seconds.

 

That might be true for the old style cut key, but not for the newer style security keys. 

 

I recently replaced the lock cylinder on an apartment for a friend in Berlin.  The new cylinder and five keys were 40 euro at BauHaus.  Took all of three minutes to remove the old cylinder and install the new one.  

 

S.

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2 minutes ago, Shenandoah said:

 

That might be true for the old style cut key, but not for the newer style security keys.

 

Nope.  I recently managed to lock myself out.  Neubau, modern "security key" lock.  The guy with the tools had the door open in about 4 seconds.

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If you locked yourself out, the door is shut only, right? You left the keys indoors. It's not the same when you turned the key twice and secured the door.

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