Huge rent bill after three years of letters from Meiterverehin were ignored by landlord

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Hi

 

My landlord has sent a lawyers letter asking for thousands of euros in two weeks. I have been having an ongoing dispute with him over renovation the core of which is whether it is over or not. As long as the renovation continues I have reduced rent. He did just basic work and after his renovation, the apartment is in a far worse condition than it was before. The local Meiterverehin send him scores of letters explaining why the reduced rent still holds but now he has sent me a lawyers letter saying that the renovation was long over and that I must pay the full rent.  He never responded to any of the Meiter's letters. Can he do this? Is he not legally obliged to respond to letters from the Meiterverehin or to warn me if my rent is falling short of what he expects? He has pushed all the other tenants out of the building, and I am the only holdout.

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Did you show the landlords lawyers letter to the Mieterverein? If they are already involved, they are the best source of information for you right now short of hiring a lawyer specializing in Mietrecht.

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2 hours ago, solomongrundy said:

He has pushed all the other tenants out of the building, and I am the only holdout.

Are all of the other flats empty?!

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To get the rent from he will have to go to court there is simply no other way to do this. No w you have 2 options, you can continue with the Mieterverein and as long as you joined 3 months previously they will cover your court costs. The other option is to hire a lawyer yourself and sue him. The thing is if you win he will be responsible for your costs, if you lose you will be responsible for yours and his costs. I'd expect he has legal insurance so he won't be worried about the cost on his end.

 

Edit: I'm assuming he could get a mahnbescheid and hope you don't fight it

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so, just to clarify...

this story started 3 years ago, when your landlord announced they would start a "renovation project", and you announced that you would reduce your rent payment accordingly?

Was the local Mieterverein involved in the process from the beginning?

Did you keep all available documentation, letters, etc. sent by any of the involved parties?

When did all the other tenants move out? Have you really been living there for years, in an uninhabitable building, all by yourself?

 

read this thoroughly, and apply it to your situation:

https://www.mietrecht.com/mietminderung-sanierung/

What I find strange is your "three years" - are you sure you're not talking about three months??

 

I believe you will need a lawyer, not just the Mieterverein.

 

Good luck!

 

 

 

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Hi thanks so much for all the answers! I joined the Meitverehin three years ago, and yes, it started three years ago. Once the renovation was over, they left the apartment in a far worse state. For example, a huge hole between my wall and the next apartment, construction debris, openly exposed pipes etc. Yes, the building is empty except for me, and yes, the Meitverehin kept on sending letters about the damage saying that I would be paying a reduced rent. No reply ever. It s a company that manages the place. Yes, the lawyer of the landlord send a copy to the Meitverehin too so they are aware. I have already asked for an appointment.

I had agreed to the higher rent after rennovation, but they send me an eviction without notice instead. That s when I took it to the Meit. Never heard back after they send that notice back. Then now this.

They offer that I sign over the apartment to them and they will forgive the debt but I must decide in a day or two! 

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15 minutes ago, solomongrundy said:

Hi thanks so much for all the answers! I joined the Meitverehin three years ago, and yes, it started three years ago. Once the renovation was over, they left the apartment in a far worse state. For example, a huge hole between my wall and the next apartment, construction debris, openly exposed pipes etc. Yes, the building is empty except for me, and yes, the Meitverehin kept on sending letters about the damage saying that I would be paying a reduced rent. No reply ever. It s a company that manages the place. Yes, the lawyer of the landlord send a copy to the Meitverehin too so they are aware. I have already asked for an appointment.

I had agreed to the higher rent after rennovation, but they send me an eviction without notice instead. That s when I took it to the Meit. Never heard back after they send that notice back. Then now this.

They offer that I sign over the apartment to them and they will forgive the debt but I must decide in a day or two! 

 

Not knowing all the details it is difficult to give you advice. To me it seems that they need the building empty. Ever considered to ask them to pay you money to leave? 

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10 minutes ago, solomongrundy said:

They offer that I sign over the apartment to them and they will forgive the debt but I must decide in a day or two! 

 

Sure they will, they clearly want you out most likely so they can sell all the apartments unoccupied or whatever. Speak to the Meitverehein and see what they say about this latest letter but you may want to consider a counter offer of a payment to you for voluntarily getting out ( I would suggest a large one sufficient to cover all your moving expenses etc and quite a lot for all the trouble). Hope it all works out.

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Thank you so much. I ll do that. However, are they not obliged to reply to letters from the Meitverehin with clear deadlines? My lawyer also send reminders but they ignored all of them. Not a single one was replied to. If they ignored all that, can they then claim money?

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13 minutes ago, solomongrundy said:

 Not a single one was replied to. If they ignored all that, can they then claim money?

They may try through the courts but you will be informed by the court of any action and you or your lawyer will have an opportunity to protest it and from the sound of it kill it dead.

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Thanks a ton Keith. Takes a load of my mind. I ll keep everyone posted of developments so that if anyone runs into a similar situation, they can manage.

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1 hour ago, solomongrundy said:

are they not obliged to reply to letters from the Meitverehin with clear deadlines?

No, but it will likely be to their disadvantage in court.

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18 hours ago, solomongrundy said:

Yes, the building is empty except for me

Must be fairly quiet to have the building to yourself, nice. But what are the Nebenkosten like and how long have you been the only tenant left? 

I had friends who were in a building of about 20 flats and there were only 3 that were occupied. The rent was low, but the Nebenkosten for some reason kept increasing.

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Looks like you got this. Don't let them intimidate you. They are being absurd. Also, as jeba said, they are not obliged to answer letters from your lawyers. But when this gets to court, the judge will not be too pleased when they read the file.

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6 hours ago, lunaCH said:

I had friends who were in a building of about 20 flats and there were only 3 that were occupied. The rent was low, but the Nebenkosten for some reason kept increasing.

 

That's because the overall maintenence costs for the whole building (which also includes all kind of insurances etc.), which were previously shared through 20 occupiers were in the end being shared through only 3. 

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55 minutes ago, bramble said:

 

That's because the overall maintenence costs for the whole building (which also includes all kind of insurances etc.), which were previously shared through 20 occupiers were in the end being shared through only 3. 

I thought the owners were responsible for the insurance. I don't know if this is passed on to tenants. 

Other costs like water and electricity (for lights and lift etc.) in communal areas should have also decreased if anything owing to these things being used less.

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6 minutes ago, lunaCH said:

I thought the owners were responsible for the insurance. I don't know if this is passed on to tenants. 

Other costs like water and electricity (for lights and lift etc.) in communal areas should have also decreased if anything owing to these things being used less.

 

Insurance such as Gebäudeversicherung and Haftpflichtversicherung is indeed passed on to the tenants. Also the Grundsteuer. These costs can be quite hefty depending on how many tenants are sharing the costs. 

 

https://www.anwalt-suchservice.de/rechtstipps/nebenkostenabrechnung_was_muss_drinstehen_23085.html

The apportionable operating costs include property tax, the costs of water supply, sewage, heating costs (or the costs of heat supply), the costs of hot water, the elevator, street cleaning and refuse collection, building cleaning and vermin control, garden maintenance, lighting of stairwells and other common rooms, chimney cleaning, property and liability insurance, caretaker, operation of a common aerial system or broadband distribution system, of facilities for laundry care and other operating costs. The last point often causes problems. Here the landlord must not simply settle everything that comes to his mind. The rental agreement must specify in more detail what is meant by this. One example is the maintenance of smoke alarms.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

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1 hour ago, bramble said:

Insurance such as Gebäudeversicherung and Haftpflichtversicherung is indeed passed on to the tenants.

Yes, but only prorated for the area they´re renting. The landlord can´t have the remaining tenants pay for the insurance contributions and property tax for his empty flats. I think.

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30 minutes ago, jeba said:

Yes, but only prorated for the area they´re renting. The landlord can´t have the remaining tenants pay for the insurance contributions and property tax for his empty flats. I think.

 

When I rented, some of my utilities were calculated according to the size of my apartment as a percentage of the whole, for example, the house tax, insurances etc.  Some were according to use like water and garbage and some were mixed like the heating which was part according to use and part according to size of apartment.  This was done by a company so I am sure it was all legit.  According to  https://ratgeber.immowelt.de/a/verteilerschluessel-in-der-nebenkostenabrechnung-ein-ueberblick.html however, the landlord might have other ways to split it up such as according to number of people in each apartment or split even per number of units.  It does say though that if it's by a number of people, they should for fairness, count an empty apartment as one person.  Otherwise I'm sure the tenant can take it to court.

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11 hours ago, lunaCH said:

Must be fairly quiet to have the building to yourself, nice. But what are the Nebenkosten like and how long have you been the only tenant left? 

I had friends who were in a building of about 20 flats and there were only 3 that were occupied. The rent was low, but the Nebenkosten for some reason kept increasing.

I can help you out with that. I asked my lawyer because the same happened to me. They are supposed to make allowances when most of the building is unoccupied. However, often they try to pass the cost on the remaining tenants especially if they want to push them out My lawyer wrote a letter to the company. No reply of course.

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