Mietendeckel rent reduction - speak up now or wait until court settles it in 2021?

24 posts in this topic

Rather than hijacking someone else's thread, I thought better to post my own thread. I'll try to be brief.  We're not Mietverein members. We should be and we will do that ASAP. 

 
We've been in Berlin (Prenzlauer Berg) for 4 years. We pay quite a high monthly rent and according to the Berliner Mietverein calculator we're paying about 400 EUR more than what we should be paying. Apparently we're precisely the type of tenants who are most likely to be being ripped off, and whom the Mietendeckel is aimed at helping. 
 
I understand that the Mietendeckel laws come into effect from 30/11/2020 and that legally I can ask my landlord to reduce our rent by the 400 EUR amount. 
 
I'm aware that the Berlin court rulings could be overturned by the Constitutional Court in 2021 making this whole discussion null and void.  
 
My preference is to not risking pissing off my private landlord by demanding a rent reduction, if there's a chance that it'll be overturned. 
 
My question is therefore, quite simple. 
 
Do I risk anything by staying quiet and waiting until the Constitutional Court rules next year? If that Court upholds the ruling in say June, will I then be able to go to my landlord and ask for the equivalent of the last 7 months (all rent since 30/11/2020) in overpayments, to be returned to me?  Or do I need to say something now to make landlord aware that we're aware of the legal landscape shifting and that we need to have a discussion about the Mietendeckel? 
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Is Mietendeckel a Berlin thing or Germany wide?

 

I think it's a disastrous idea. It doesn't make a wave of reasonably priced apartments float onto the market. Instead it dries up the supply of apartments.

 

Investors are not going to build in locations where rent is capped because they want the highest return possible. Even worse is if only some apartments generally older, bigger ones have a rent cap.

 

Because then an old couple with grownup children won't move from their 6 room capped apartment to a more suitable 3 room open market apartment because the rent would increase. Even though the smaller newer apartment with better disabled access, and better noise/heat insulation would suit them better.

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5 minutes ago, MadAxeMurderer said:

Is Mietendeckel a Berlin thing or Germany wide?

 

Berlin is the first state to have introduced it.

 

5 minutes ago, MadAxeMurderer said:

I think it's a disastrous idea. It doesn't make a wave or reasonably priced apartments float onto the market. Instead it dries up the supply of apartments.

 

Well Rot Rot Grün is all about ideology and not so much on actual policy solutions. <_<

 

5 minutes ago, MadAxeMurderer said:

Investors are not going to build in locations where rent is capped because they want the highest return possible. Even worse is if only some apartments generally older, bigger ones have a rent cap.

 

Because then an old couple with grownup children won't move from their 6 room capped apartment to a more suitable 3 room open market apartment because the rent would increase. Even though the smaller newer apartment with better disabled access, and better noise/heat insulation would suit them better.

 

This is already a problem due to renters with large apartments and old contracts; a smaller apartment with a new contract costs more than the current rent on a large apartment with an old rental contract.

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Its clearly anti-capitalism and not great for landlords. Be that as it may, can anyone advise me on my bolded question? 

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I´d send the landlord a registered letter stating that until the constitutional court has spoken you´re paying the contractual rent without acknowledgement of a legal obligation and under reservation of claiming back the part which will be deemed in excess, if there will be any.

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Unfortunately I can't answer the OP's bolded question with certainty, but I can say that the Mieterverein is undertaking two claims on our behalf. One is to lower our rent to the rate commensurate with the rental cap (Mietendeckel or MietenWoGBin) and the other is to recoup the excess rent that we paid from the time the rent freeze (Mietpreisbremse) came into effect and when we made the complaint.

 

There's another angle - which I haven't quite got my head around - concerning a limitation on the amount the rent can be raised following a re-letting. You have the right to get information from the Landlord about how much the previous tenant was paying. Check out article 2 on the Mieterverein page I've linked below. In our case I think it adds to the argument concerning the rent cap but the technical details are beyond my impoverished understanding of German.

 

I do know that the Landlord is required by law to lower eligible rents to meet the requirements of the Mietendeckel and failure to do so can technically incur a fine (see article 3 and tips 1 and 2 on the Mieterverein page). Thinking about your bold question, it could be that their failure to lower the rent might give you some leverage in a later civil-law action, but this is only the speculation of a layman. I reckon you should wait for advice from the experts.

 

On that note: the Mieterverein will give you advice and also send letters on your behalf (if you allow them Power of Attorney) but because you joined after the date the contract was signed, they probably won't insure you against costs. Ours have provided us with a list of possible legal representatives but of course we're hoping it won't need to go that far.

 

One last thing: our Mieterverein said that if the Mietendeckel is overturned or runs its course in 5 years, "reduction claims from the rent freeze will continue to exist". Could this help you get arrears? Keine Ahnung, but it might be one of the first questions you ask the Verein people.

 

Good luck with it all.

 

https://www.berliner-mieterverein.de/mietendeckel/the-berlin-rent-cap.htm

https://www.dw.com/en/berlin-landlords-forced-to-reduce-rents/a-55704047

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That was expected, so now the damage is done and it is big.   The whole idea was bad from the beginning and the implementation was horrible, you can't make a blanket cap based just on the property size.  The only possible effect if it stayed was driving the quality of the places to the bottom.

 

And when they asked the people what they wanted with the Tempelhof area they wanted a park.  Well.  That was your cake, you ate it.

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31 minutes ago, Krieg said:

That was expected, so now the damage is done and it is big.   The whole idea was bad from the beginning and the implementation was horrible, you can make a blanket cap based just on the property size.  The only possible effect if it stayed was driving the quality of the places to the bottom.

 

And when they asked the people what they wanted with the Tempelhof area they wanted a park.  Well.  That was your cake, you ate it.

 

What do you expect?  RRG is all about the ideology. Thinking through the consequences of ideology driven changes to the law is not their strong suit. <_<

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So what does it mean practically? Will everyone's rent get raised or just no caps on new rentals?

 

I may be barking up the wrong tree. I always associated the Berlin rent cap with the Mietspiegel in Munich.

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2 minutes ago, fraufruit said:

So what does it mean practically? Will everyone's rent get raised or just no caps on new rentals?

 

It basically means even more chaos in Berlin than usual. The regular rent cap defined by the federal government applies and the additional restrictions put in place by Land Berlin are void. Most landlords in Berlin have been issuing rental contracts with 2 different amounts, I.e. the price at which they want to rent and the price permitted by Berlin's rental cap. All tenants who've been paying only the lower amount will probably now receive letters from their landlords demanding backpayments and then their will be many court cases where the landlord and tenant disagree on the wording of the contract. 

 

2 minutes ago, fraufruit said:

I may be barking up the wrong tree. I always associated the Berlin rent cap with the Mietspiegel in Munich.

 

You are mixing a few different things up, but don't worry about it; this particular snafu in Berlin does not effect you in Bavaria.  :) 

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The affected ones are planning a massive demo today at 18:00.   Let's see what happens and how massive it is.

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9 minutes ago, Krieg said:

The affected ones are planning a massive demo today at 18:00.   Let's see what happens and how massive it is.

 

And how socially distanced it is. 

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Thanks for the info, Engelchen. 

 

Wondering why someone would sign a Mietvertrag with 2 different amounts on it especially if it indicated that the higher rent could be charged and backpayments. Wow. I guess if they all did it, though, there would be no choice.

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2 minutes ago, fraufruit said:

Wondering why someone would sign a Mietvertrag with 2 different amounts on it especially if it indicated that the higher rent could be charged and backpayments.

 

The two amounts were due to the law in Berlin that was the subject of the constitutional challenge. I think my explanation was a bit too short. Here is the recap:

 

1. The federal government enacted rent control legislation in 2015.

 

2. The RRG coalition in Berlin introduced a law about a year ago further limiting increases to rents in Berlin. 

 

3. There were was much controversy over the Berlin law and many speculated that the state overstepped its authority and that the law wouldn't stand up in court.

 

4. Since many landlords assumed that the law was going to be thrown out, they figured out how much they were allowed to charge with and without the new law with the understanding that once the Berlin law was thrown out they would only be subject to the federal law.

 

 

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From my reading of it, the Land simply had no authority to make law in this area, because the Bund had already done so in 2015 (Bundesrecht bricht Landesrecht). It's kind of surprising it took so long to come to this conclusion if that's all it came down to.

 

 

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6 hours ago, engelchen said:

You are mixing a few different things up, but don't worry about it; this particular snafu in Berlin does not effect you in Bavaria.  :) 

Had to look this one up: Situation Normal All Fucked Up 👻.

 

 

26 minutes ago, murphaph said:

It's kind of surprising it took so long to come to this conclusion if that's all it came down to.

Since when do things go fast in court 🤔?

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With humans, the courting phase is short, Luke! 😂

 

Have an old-fashioned snafu, Luke!

Free of charge! No “ going Dutch.”

❤️

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