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Renting an apartment from a company vs a private owner

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Hello all,

we're looking to move cities and starting to look for a new flat.

So far we have only rented from big management companies and it has some nice advantages. For example, they have said "sure" to every request we have made (like installing a security net on the balcony, etc) and we mostly never hear from them which is ideal. However most of the places we've liked so far seem to be privately owned. 

We've heard horror stories about invasive landlords so I've always been opposed to the idea of renting from an individual. One of my friends had the landlord enter her flat with his spare key while she was at work. I wouldn't want to live like that, so I'm wondering, is it possible to have a good private landlord with whom you have a good relationship with, or are they invariably problematic? How can you tell a good landlord from a psycho one in advance?

What are the pros and cons of each option (renting from a private owner and renting from a management company)?

 

Thanks in advance!

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IMO,  the biggest disadvantage of a private owner landlord is that they do have just cause to evict you if they or a family member need the property to live in. It is not impossible for a company to evict you without just cause but it it much more difficult and can take a very long time.

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5 hours ago, virginiavedder said:

One of my friends had the landlord enter her flat with his spare key while she was at work. I wouldn't want to live like

Nobody wants to live like that.

Nobody but the tenant should have the keys. The landlord needs to hand over all keys to the tenant. What your friend's landlord is doing is illegal. Alternatively your friend can change the lock. Problem solved. The landlord doesn't even need to be consulted about the change of lock.

Just need to change it back again before handing back the flat. ;) 

 

Please note: if the landlord (or anyone else who gets hold of spare keys possibly from the landlord), steals something from the flat or causes damage inside - the household contents insurance probably won't pay out, because there will be no sign or evidence of a break-in. 

You could return home to an empty flat - and other than report it to the Police, there'd be no way of getting your stuff or its value back. ;)

 

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About the key, many renters  (and buyers) change the main door lock on day one. This is perfectly legal, is done in 5 min and only costs a few €€. 

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The landlord cannot enter your flat without your permission.

 

I would join a Mieterschutzverein. Mine costs about EUR 45 a year. I've not had cause to use them. If you have a problem with your landlord, however, they are like your tame rottweiler.

 

I've been in Germany for half my life - back since 1999. In the last 20 years, I've had two flats and the landlords have been great. No problems with them. Any minor complaints are dealt with quickly and I can do what I like with my flat: I've wallpapered and painted walls, changed the showerhead and the tap on the washbasin in the bathroom, for example.

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