Landlord selling apartment: Can I point out flaws to potential buyers?

20 posts in this topic

Hello!

 

Short version:

Our landlord is trying to sell the apartment we rent from him. Is there any legal reason that requires tenants NOT to point out flaws/faults/defects (including opinion-based ones) to potential buyers during visitations?

 

Long version:

In 2019, we rented a freshly renovated apartment in an old building. We assume the apartment was bought as an investment.

Now with the rent freeze and cap, the landlord probably decided it's no longer a profitable investment (rent dropped by about half), and is trying to sell it since early 2020.

So far we've been nothing but accommodating - we almost never refuse a visitation, and when we do, we have a good reason.

But recently, exactly 3 months before the mandatory 2 years in the contract end (in which both sides cannot back out of the contract), he served us a letter claiming "personal use" for a family member... We are STILL getting visitations and the apartment is still listed on https://www.immobilienscout24.de/. We hired a lawyer and won't back out that easily.

So this is the cause of our initial question - he's making life hard for us, and we are wondering if it's legal to point out flaws/faults/defects (even opinion-based ones) to potential buyers during visitations? Don't get me wrong - the apartment is fine to rent, and we really don't want to search for a new one and move, especially in this market. But we would never buy it, since it's an old building, and we've lived long enough to spot issues that are a deal-breaker.

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Your question is: Is it legal to sabotage your landlord's attempts to sell your apartment even though you have no intention of buying it yourself?

 

Probably legal, and an enormously assholeish thing to do.

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Hmmm got a PM from kosman objecting to my objection.

 

Objection to objection noted. I still think you're being an asshole.

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54 minutes ago, MadAxeMurderer said:

Your question is: Is it legal to sabotage your landlord's attempts to sell your apartment even though you have no intention of buying it yourself?

 

Probably legal, and an enormously assholeish thing to do.

 

Ditto.

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IMO it depends on what it is.  If the place has major flaws that your landlord is trying to hide, you'd be doing potential buyers a favour by telling them beforehand.  However, if it's minor issues and you are just trying to sabotage your landlords sale, it's kind of a jerk move.

 

In any case, potential buyers will probably assume that whatever flaws you point out is a tenants attempt to sabotage the sale and hence will dismiss it anyway.

 

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We have always told the landlord/estate agent we will never lie about anything we are asked. 

We won't walk through with a stick pointing out the problems, but should a question come about something we know to be a problem, we will be honest.

 

So far we have been there for visits (flat had no issues, was ran by a company) and for visits where the flat had no actual problems itself but was in a noisy area. 

The flat we had with lots of problems they started the viewings after we had moved out. We only got to meet the people who took it over afterwards and they asked us questions, so we were honest. 

 

Although the OP sounds like they want to hit back at what they see as unfair behavior from the owner. I'm not saying this is right or wrong, but i'd suggest checking with your lawyer (or mietverin if you are a member) to see what is your responsibility here. 

Are you liable if you lie to the person buying the flat etc, for example, they find something that would have been obvious to someone living there, you lie, can they come after you legally etc.

 

Chat with your lawyer, find out your legal responsibilities here and work from there (also check if you make yourself liable for anything by pointing out any issues etc).

Law can have it's own logic that makes no sense to normal people, check with your lawyer.  

 

 

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18 hours ago, kosman said:

So this is the cause of our initial question - he's making life hard for us

 

How so? Your 2 years are up. What do you care if he rents it out or gives it to family?

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8 minutes ago, fraufruit said:

 

How so? Your 2 years are up. What do you care if he rents it out or gives it to family?

 

I guess it wasn't clear - the contract is unlimited in time, but there was a clause which prevented both sides from giving notice in the first 2 years. Also he pretends to want to give it to a family member - we just scheduled a visitation with potential buyers next week...

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15 minutes ago, kosman said:

 

I guess it wasn't clear - the contract is unlimited in time, but there was a clause which prevented both sides from giving notice in the first 2 years. Also he pretends to want to give it to a family member - we just scheduled a visitation with potential buyers next week...

 

If you are not already a member of the mieterverein, maybe you should be.  It sounds like the landlord wants you out so it will be easier for him to sell. Surely a new owner could give you notice based on personal needs as well but many people do not want to buy a place with a sitting tenant with the intention of kicking them out.  In this case, the landlord giving you notice to vacate the apartment for a family member is bogus if he's showing it to potential buyers at the same time.  If after you move, he sells, you can sue him for your moving costs for giving you a bogus notice.  The mieterverein can help you with this. 

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6 minutes ago, fraufruit said:

Are you looking for a new place in the meantime? 

 

Yes, we are. But the market has shrunk significantly with the rent freeze and cap in Berlin. We are yet to find a better (or even comparable) deal to what we have right now.

 

3 minutes ago, LeonG said:

In this case, the landlord giving you notice to vacate the apartment for a family member is bogus if he's showing it to potential buyers at the same time.  If after you move, he sells, you can sue him for your moving costs for giving you a bogus notice.

 

Yes, of course. If he manages to kick us out based on this false claim, we will seek legal action if it turns out he sells it afterwards.

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The trouble is, from the point of view of the owner, that he has to give a legally recognised reason for ending the rental contract. As far as I understand it, wanting to sell the property is not per se an adequate reason. So what is he to do? 

Even if you want to let an apartment for a limited term, say a year or two, you still have to give a reason in advance. Whereas the tenant can leave having given the correct notice.

I would be very chary indeed about letting out a place, knowing that if I did need to sell it might be a nightmare to get the place back empty, even having given a tenant a generous notice period, or alternatively having to sell the place tenanted, maybe at a loss.

(I'm not defending big money grabbing property developers here, just thinking of the point of view of a small private owner.) 

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1 minute ago, kosman said:

Yes, of course. If he manages to kick us out based on this false claim, we will seek legal action if it turns out he sells it afterwards.

 

You could tell him you know his game and he might take the notice back but I think I would recommend the mieterverein to deal with this.  They know the law.

 

4 minutes ago, Feierabend said:

The trouble is, from the point of view of the owner, that he has to give a legally recognised reason for ending the rental contract. As far as I understand it, wanting to sell the property is not per se an adequate reason. So what is he to do? 

 

IMO, the landlord should follow the law and not give them notice if he can't legally do so.  This means it'll be harder for him to sell and he might take a loss or he could offer them a bit of cash to leave.  The landlord either went into this with full knowledge of German law and tenants rights in which case he knew what he was getting into or he went into this blind without doing any research which means it is his own fault too.

 

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Sounds like the Landlord is the asshole at the moment to me. But that is not really clear from what you wrote in the first place

 

But you really need to contact a mieterverei, like  @LeonG, says

 

Also keep records, of who visited and time and date, this is important, as it shows the Landlord has no real family members, to use the property, his real intension to get rid of you so he can get more money for the flat

 

 

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If he is now claiming Eigenbedarf, you probably don't need to allow any more viewings. Something else to ask the Mietverein.

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53 minutes ago, yesterday said:

Also keep records, of who visited and time and date, this is important, as it shows the Landlord has no real family members, to use the property, his real intension to get rid of you so he can get more money for the flat

 

I keep all the e-mails that the real estate agent sends me about setting up visitations. Is this enough, or should I also do something else?

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thats good enough

 

But you need also to get the add placed on immoscout24 copied to your email address with an immoscout24 ID number, does the add on immoscout24 say its rented out or vacant ?

 

Go see your lawyer, but it will be cheaper with a Mietverein :rolleyes:

 

As said by FF, just above ask the lawyer/ Mietverein , if you can stop showing people around anymore

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24 minutes ago, yesterday said:

But you need also to get the add placed on immoscout24 copied to your email address with an immoscout24 ID number, does the add on immoscout24 say its rented out or vacant ?

 

I regularly print the immoscout24 ad to PDF. I believe the ad says it's vacant (bezugsfrei).

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So obviously a bogus notice that he gave you regarding family member when he is advertising it online for sale and showing it to buyers.  You should either join the mieterverein or talk to a lawyer.  It may be better to officially refute his notice as being bogus rather than just ignore it and then not leave when it's up.

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