Mieterverein doesn't answer, what now?

35 posts in this topic

Many people have told me that the Berliner Mieterverein is a reliable and helpful institution, this has unfortunately not been my experience so far and I don't know how to proceed with them.


I've been a paying BMV member for 6 years, I'm the hauptmieter of the apartment that I live in.

I was referred to the "hauptstelle" and I sent the signed "mandat" + all requested information 19May20.

It took 4 months and many follow up emails + phone calls for them to initially respond by letter, where they unfortunately answered only a part of the questions and did not address all issues.
Since then I have had to consistently send emails, and call on the phone, I have provided all information whenever they asked for it but today, 10 months later, they still have not sent a letter to the hausverwaltung to address the issues.

The contact person simply doesn't respond to emails and when I call them (singular), they shout at me without actually addressing the issue. (before you think this is a cultural issue, I've been here 8 years, I know the difference between cultural dissonance and non-functional interactions, they are actually literally shouting at me.) The first time we spoke on the phone it became clear very quickly that they were overworked and not in a place where they could be helpful to my issue but I thought if I stay reasonable and solution oriented, we could figure it out. Unfortunately, this has not proven to be the case.

After trying fruitlessly to engage with this representative, I gave up hope on 22Jan21 and I sent a letter of complaint and requested a change of "mitarbeiterin" to the mieterverein, I've sent 5 reminders since and heard nothing. I also called the regular help line at the end of March but was told that "I need to be patient" and "until the letter was answered they could not do anything for me".

What can I do? The issue is still open and time is passing, I'm worried that I will lose my right to object and request rent discount if this drags on.
Does the mieterverein actually have an obligation to fulfill their mandate? If they don't respond to me, as is the case now, can I hire another lawyer at their costs? Is there a larger institution where I can file a complaint?

Many thanks,

Jamie.

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I have a question, I'm not sure where to post it, but here seems the most logical place.

 

My daughter and I own my apartment and we have an owners meeting every year.  We got an email last week giving us the date, time and place, a room in a local hotel where we usually have it.  I've spoken to my daughter and I don't want to sit in that room with 7/8 other people just now and neither does she, so we wrote to the management company and suggested having the meeting online.  She wrote back insisting that the room is safe and that, legally, we're not allowed to have this meeting online.  She quoted numerous reasons, 2 of which are data protection and lack of equipment (?) and she claims that the room is fine for us.  My daughter is responsible for health and safety in her company and knows that the room isn't big enough, plus the windows are inside the building and open out into the hallways of the hotel.

 

I'm not sure the management company is right, 2 other owners have joined in wanting the meeting online, but she still says very definitely no.  She says that if we don't want to go, we can give her our power-of-attorney, but neither my daughter or I want to do that.

 

Does anyone have any knowledge of this, if it's legal or not legal to hold an owners meeting online?  We're not sure where to go with this now.  The woman from the management company says we can discuss, at this year's meeting, having next year's online, but hopefully, we won't need that.  I feel we're going around in circles and I don't want to cause bother, but this doesn't seem right.

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If you - and the other two owners who want an on-line meeting - don't go, and you and they don't give her POA, she may not be able to hold the meeting. Maybe you just have to insist very definitely (like her!) and see who is the most stubborn. It sounds so German. Sigh.

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Quote

Does anyone have any knowledge of this, if it's legal or not legal to hold an owners meeting online?

 

Have you talked with all the other owners about it yet? It seems to be possible if you can convince the majority. 

 

https://www.ergo.de/de/rechtsportal/mietrecht/eigentuemerversammlung-trotz-corona-krise-erlaubt

 

Quote

  We're not sure where to go with this now. 

 

First look up your city's official corona restrictions. It might not even be possible to meet at the moment. 

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My daughter has just spoken with the legal advisor in her company who says it's not allowed to hold a meeting like this just now. His advice is to wait a couple of days to see what the Government decide, as he's expecting new restrictions.  I think it's more the tone of this woman's emails, there's absolutely no compromise with her, as far as she's concerned, we're having the meeting and the room is safe.  Also, if my daughter goes to the meeting, she won't want to see me for another 2 weeks. My 3 children are trying to protect me as best they can by us all not coming together, which we didn't do over Easter.  This meeting doesn't make any sense, but we'll have to see what happens over the next week or so.

 

2 other owners actually live in the building, if I see them, I'll ask them what they think. One of them has a partner who is in the middle of chemotherapy for breast cancer, so I can't imagine he'll want to sit in a room with a bunch of other people.

 

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Just to briefly get back to the OP's question...

 

Yes, communication with the Berliner Mieterverein can be incredibly slow and frustrating. For one thing, they don't like communicating via email which if (like me) you don't like phone conversations, means that most correspondence is going to be through snail mail.

 

Individual case managers might certainly be feeling the stress (can't blame them) and start yelling on the phone, but if your case has been going on for almost 12 months now, then you really should be at the stage of dealing with the head office in Spichernstr. to cut through the personal BS and get the job done.

 

It sounds like all you need from them is assistance negotiating the rent reduction - which should have been adjusted by your landlord anyway, as required by law.

You weren't specific about this in your original post - it came across as a general gripe about the Berliner Mieterverein. If what's most important to you is getting the rent reduction, then I'd suggest you do some research about that issue here:

 

https://www.stadtentwicklung.berlin.de/wohnen/mietspiegel/index.shtml

 

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

 

Then, if you're sure that the BMV isn't responding clearly to your clearly communicated request for help (and I would recommend writing letters, which are received by head office and go into official archives rather than emails or phone calls) then consider using a different Mieterverein or a commercial service such as: https://www.conny.legal/

 

Also, check out the threads on Toytown that have already addressed this issue:

 

https://www.toytowngermany.com/forum/topic/389195-mietendeckel-rent-reduction-speak-up-now-or-wait-until-court-settles-it-in-2021/


or https://www.toytowngermany.com/forum/topic/389195-mietendeckel-rent-reduction-speak-up-now-or-wait-until-court-settles-it-in-2021/

 

Anyway, I hope this helps, and good luck with sorting it all out.

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48 minutes ago, bauman said:

It sounds like all you need from them is assistance negotiating the rent reduction - which should have been adjusted by your landlord anyway, as required by law.

You weren't specific about this in your original post - it came across as a general gripe about the Berliner Mieterverein.


Hi Bauman,

thanks for responding to the question.

The issue that I need legal help with is about damages in the apartment caused by renovations and construction work in the building, it's not related to the mietspiegel.

My question is: how do I actually get the mieterverein to act in accordance to the mandate and how (and to whom?) can I escalate when the mieterverein doesn't act as mandated?

I had understood that when there is a mandate, there is a legal obligation of the BMV to act in best interest of the client, is this not the case? Perhaps I am mistaken and it's simply that I have given them the right to speak on my behalf to other parties. I've read some articles but find many quite unclear and am still sketchy on this.

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21 minutes ago, jeba said:

 

That was suggested by one of the other owners, he also suggested waiting a week or so until the weather is a bit better. The answer came back that any changes to the agenda have to be submitted at least 3 weeks before the date of the meeting is set, which we didn't know was being set for April 15th.  So, it's too late to make a change of venue or date.  She also added that if we didn't want to give her power of attorney, then we will have to attend the meeting. She really is unmovable in this.

 

 

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8 minutes ago, Tap said:

set for April 15th.  So, it's too late to make a change of venue or date.  She also added that if we didn't want to give her power of attorney, then we will have to attend the meeting. She really is unmovable in this.

 

 Talk to the other owners, she can't force any of you to give her a Power of Attorney. If she doesn't want to be reasonable then you might want to consider membership here:

 

https://www.wohnen-im-eigentum.de/artikel/7-tipps-fuer-eigentuemerversammlungen-corona-zeiten

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9 hours ago, jamiemorrow said:

My question is: how do I actually get the mieterverein to act in accordance to the mandate and how (and to whom?) can I escalate when the mieterverein doesn't act as mandated?

Okay, I understand your situation better now.

 

When I signed off on a mandate with the BMV, I assumed that it gave them the power to act on my behalf - without also obliging them to take any particular course of action. I can't imagine that they'd formulate a contract that would be otherwise - it would leave them open to all kinds of litigation from their own membership and would be unworkable.

 

As for where you take it from here - I can only offer general advice and it would be not to search for ways of forcing the BMV to do what you want (and I speak as someone who's been very dissatisfied with my own dealings with them), but look at other agencies who might help you with legal action. There are other, smaller un/official tenancy advice organisations and collectives who advocate at a local Kiez level, and then there are lawyers specialising in tenancy issues, if you feel confident enough to risk going to court.

 

I can't help with any specific names here, but I think I would go to a local adviser like AWO to get some pointers in the right direction.

 

And it's just very general advice about dealing with individuals in a large, hierarchical organisation: that you can sometimes get things done by keeping cool and clear and cc'ing someone else in the organisation in your email correspondence. Ideally this would be someone higher on the ladder, but the emphasis is on clarity and good manners.

 

Good luck.

 

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10 hours ago, Tap said:

She also added that if we didn't want to give her power of attorney, then we will have to attend the meeting.

 

Well no. Is she going to hold a gun to your head if you don't? Has she noticed there is a pandemic ?

 

If you tell her you will not be present and you will not give her a POA what then? More her problem than yours.

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Given that the legal situation doesn´t seem to be clear (unless there are local bans on such gatherings) I´d tell her beforehand and in writing that I reserve the right to contest the results.

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More than 50% have to show up for our owner's association meetings in order to have voting. Otherwise, if we don't show up we simply don't get to vote. Have you gotten the agenda for the meeting yet? What will they be voting on?

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Yes, if we are the only ones who don't give the Hausverwaltung our Vollmacht and don't attend the meeting, then we don't have a vote.  At the moment, it looks like 3 out of the 6 owners are against the face-to-face meeting.  2 owners have given their power of attorney already and the last one we haven't heard from.

 

We have the agenda and there is only 1 important point, which is the repair of a crack on the outside wall.  There are two offers, one for 2,000 Euro to repair it, and the other for 5,000 Euro.  We were to discuss this at the meeting and vote on which offer to take.  Not being an expert on wall repairs, I was hoping to hear the views of the other owners.  Of the other 2 owners who don't want to attend the meeting, one lives in Stuttgart and the other in Munich, so I can really understand their reluctance to drive up here just for this meeting.

 

We may have to give her our power of attorney in the end. We've never had a problem before, I was just curious if a management company can be so pedantic when the owners request something which I would consider quite reasonable in the current circumstances.

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1 hour ago, Tap said:

There are two offers, one for 2,000 Euro to repair it, and the other for 5,000 Euro.

 

Looks like a no brainer to me. Who would vote for 5k unless they get a kickback from the company doing the work?

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Repairing a crack in a wall may cost 5k...  BUT I would first of all find out why the wall has seperated....    

 

Many wall problems originate from the foundations or lack of them...  Water/errosion ...    

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The structure of the building has already been checked and is fine, this is a tear on the outer plaster

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On 2021-04-06, 6:29:10, Tap said:

My daughter has just spoken with the legal advisor in her company who says it's not allowed to hold a meeting like this just now. His advice is to wait a couple of days to see what the Government decide, as he's expecting new restrictions.  I think it's more the tone of this woman's emails, there's absolutely no compromise with her, as far as she's concerned, we're having the meeting and the room is safe.  Also, if my daughter goes to the meeting, she won't want to see me for another 2 weeks. My 3 children are trying to protect me as best they can by us all not coming together, which we didn't do over Easter.  This meeting doesn't make any sense, but we'll have to see what happens over the next week or so.

 

2 other owners actually live in the building, if I see them, I'll ask them what they think. One of them has a partner who is in the middle of chemotherapy for breast cancer, so I can't imagine he'll want to sit in a room with a bunch of other people.

 

The laws may well vary from state to state, but our last two owners' meetings (in Berlin) were done completely in absentia, only through limited power of attorney. The usual rules of qurom applied. Granted, there were no major issues on the agenda.

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