Can landlords evict you or refuse to fix problems because you are not fluent in german?

26 posts in this topic

Before anyone says - yes! I am joining a mieterverein, and have an appointment on tuesday. But before my appointment I wonder how much I have to worry about this...

 

I moved in January, and have a 4 year rentals lease. Since moving, I have had a few problems with the pipes (toilet and sink not draining properly) plus a new problem where my mailbox won't open. The hausmeister and landlord refuses to fix it because I do not speak German. Today he finally called me back after endless chasing because the flat is not really liveable right now (no access to mailbox, no working toilet, no working sink...) and he said he a) won't help because I don't speak german, and b ) he will get a lawyer involved because he thinks I shouldn't live there if I don't speak german. I said to him this feels discriminatory, and he then yelled at me and said I shouldn't insult him (a bit ironic considering he is threatening me simply because I'm not a german national?). 

 

I should mention, in every correspondence I have had, it has been in German -- I have written to them in German, worked with the german contract, always communicated with them in German, and when necessary asked friends to help translate. To be clear, I have never insisted they speak english, and rather I make every effort to speak with them in German... Nonetheless, despite my efforts to communicate with them in German, he says because I'm not German myself he doesn't want me as a tenant. 

 

I just moved and spent loads fixing this flat up and I would rather not move... does he really have the power to refuse help or worse to evict me just because I am not fluent yet? 

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This is not legal. This is discrimination covered under German law - discrimination on the basis of national origin. So, that's one thing. Also, since you have made the effort to conduct all business in German and have not communicated in English, it really seems like he has no basis. 

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7 minutes ago, AlexTr said:

This is not legal. This is discrimination covered under German law - discrimination on the basis of national origin. So, that's one thing. Also, since you have made the effort to conduct all business in German and have not communicated in English, it really seems like he has no basis. 

 

 

thats what I thought too. even though I try to communicate in German and do all correspondence in German, is me not being fluent somehow enough of a reason? it's true I struggle to speak over the phone so I always prefer to communicate in writing (always a good idea anyway when dealing with creepy landlords) ... but I'm worried there is some loophole that allows them to discriminate on language proficiency even if discriminating on national origin is illegal.. 

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9 minutes ago, ExPattheDog said:

 

 

thats what I thought too. even though I try to communicate in German and do all correspondence in German, is me not being fluent somehow enough of a reason? it's true I struggle to speak over the phone so I always prefer to communicate in writing (always a good idea anyway when dealing with creepy landlords) ... but I'm worried there is some loophole that allows them to discriminate on language proficiency even if discriminating on national origin is illegal.. 

 

 

Nope

 

https://www.mietrecht.org/mietvertrag/vermietung-an-auslaender/#:~:text=Daf%C3%BCr%20m%C3%BCssen%20Sie%20nat%C3%BCrlich%20keine,Sprache%20ist%20hier%20v%C3%B6llig%20ausreichend.

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3 hours ago, ExPattheDog said:

I have had a few problems with the pipes (toilet and sink not draining properly) plus a new problem where my mailbox won't open.

 

Did you have a chance to inspect the place before signing?

 

3 hours ago, ExPattheDog said:

no access to mailbox, no working toilet, no working sink

 

4 hours ago, ExPattheDog said:

and he said he a) won't help because I don't speak german,

 

Did he know this before signing?

 

Four years is going to feel a lot longer than four years.  I'd negotiate a departure agreement (landlord credits the work you've done, debits the loss of use on your end) and he agrees to wait until you find a suitable replacement.

Starting out like this never gets better.

Get out.

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5 minutes ago, catjones said:

 

Did you have a chance to inspect the place before signing?

 

 

 

Did he know this before signing?

 

Four years is going to feel a lot longer than four years.  I'd negotiate a departure agreement (landlord credits the work you've done, debits the loss of use on your end) and he agrees to wait until you find a suitable replacement.

Starting out like this never gets better.

Get out.

 

No way, I've spent thousands installing the sink and getting other items build to fit the space. ESPECIALLY going through all the trouble of lost time and lost money simply because someone feels like they have the right to discriminate. By moving I'm essentially condoning a system of discrimination. It is my right to be here, and they signed the tenancy agreement too...

 

Yes, I inspected the place before signing and noticed some defects which they promised to fix but months later they still haven't. I notified them several times the pipes didn't drain properly and all outside consultants told me the same thing - the hausmeister needs to fix it. After his second visit he not only didn't fix it, but several items broke while he was here: 1. the toilet before barely flushed, but after he flushed it repeatedly again and again it stopped flushing altogether. 2. the mailbox stopped opening and the door lock was jammed -- I don't know if these two breakages are coincidental or not. In any case, it is the landlords responsibilities to fix blocked pipes, and to repair anything broken in the common area such as the mailbox. 

 

 

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4 hours ago, ExPattheDog said:

I am joining a mieterverein, and have an appointment on tuesday. But before my appointment I wonder how much I have to worry about this...

 

I moved in January, and have a 4 year rentals lease.

 

Limited time rental contracts are only allowed under special circumstances in Germany. Ask the Mieterverein to review this clause as well. 

 

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I´d set a deadline (via registered snail mail - "Einwurfeinschreiben") for the repairs and if your landlord doesn´t react I´d order the repairs myself and deduct the cost from the rent. In cases like blocked toilets you don´t have to do it in writing due to the urgency. For that I´d give him a call and for the sake of having proof send an email and sms (fax would be better).

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Are you living there? How do you live there if the toilet doesn’t work? 

 

Based on what you said, you should be reimbursed your rent or part of it and stuff if the flat is unlivable. 

 

But I’m not a lawyer and let’s see what the Mieterverein comes up with. 

 

Edit: Do you have legal insurance as well? This seems to be bordering on discrimination as well, but I’m not a lawyer. 

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2 hours ago, klingklang77 said:

Are you living there? How do you live there if the toilet doesn’t work? 

 

Based on what you said, you should be reimbursed your rent or part of it and stuff if the flat is unlivable. 

 

But I’m not a lawyer and let’s see what the Mieterverein comes up with. 

 

Edit: Do you have legal insurance as well? This seems to be bordering on discrimination as well, but I’m not a lawyer. 

Maybe read his post again. Why are people here so obsessed with legal insurance? He's going to join the Mieterverein so duh. I know quite a few Germans and none of them have legal insurance but hey in our part of Germany we don't have too many sticks up our arses. 😅

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3 minutes ago, McDee said:

Maybe read his post again. Why are people here so obsessed with legal insurance? He's going to join the Mieterverein so duh. I know quite a few Germans and none of them have legal insurance but hey in our part of Germany we don't have too many sticks up our arses. 😅

Because it's the most cost effective insurance you can have!

Why?

  • It's not much money
  • Just saying "I have legal insurance" will scare many idiots that take advantage of the ignorant foreign
  • You have free legal advice. Example: I wanted to sue my previous landlord after leaving the flat. I called insurance, they sent an expert. The expert said I had no claim. Great, saved me tons of money in a useless lawsuit
  • In the rare case you go to court, you are not concerned with expenses.
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You have free legal advice! Read that again and think about it. You missed my point by the way.

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5 hours ago, MikeMelga said:

Because it's the most cost effective insurance you can have!

 

Is it though?  I got legal insurance years ago, probably shortly after I moved here, based on loads of people here saying it was necessary.  I paid for it for several years and then I finally had a problem.  So I talked to the legal insurance and they said, oh, we don't cover that.  I'm looking at my contract saying hey, should be covered though? and they say no.  So I cancelled them.  A friend of mine had the exact same experience.  So what do you do when you have a dispute with the legal insurance?  Get legal insurance for it?

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On 16.4.2021, 17:38:50, ExPattheDog said:

Yes, I inspected the place before signing and noticed some defects which they promised to fix but months later they still haven't. I notified them several times the pipes didn't drain properly and all outside consultants told me the same thing - the hausmeister needs to fix it. After his second visit he not only didn't fix it, but several items broke while he was here: 1. the toilet before barely flushed, but after he flushed it repeatedly again and again it stopped flushing altogether. 2. the mailbox stopped opening and the door lock was jammed -- I don't know if these two breakages are coincidental or not. In any case, it is the landlords responsibilities to fix blocked pipes, and to repair anything broken in the common area such as the mailbox. 

 

There is a way to get things fixed and take it off your rent if your landlord wont do it.  This is called "ersatzvornahme".  Bit of info here: https://www.promietrecht.de/Mangel/Mangelbeseitigung/Ersatzvornahme/Ersatzvornahme-durch-Mieter-Maengel-beseitigen-Reparatur-beauftragen-E1129.htm

 

To do this, you have to communicate to the landlord in writing that you have a problem, what the problem is, that they have to get it fixed by a certain date, otherwise you will get it done and take it off your rent.

 

Ask the mieterverein about this.  Another option would be rent reduction but that means you reduce your rent by a certain amount until things get fixed.  However, I don't recommend that because if the landlord doesn't care, you will still be living with the problems.

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53 minutes ago, LeonG said:

So what do you do when you have a dispute with the legal insurance?  Get legal insurance for it?

AFAIR in this case they will have to pay for a lawyer to sue them. Check the smallprint.

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6 hours ago, McDee said:

Maybe read his post again. Why are people here so obsessed with legal insurance? He's going to join the Mieterverein so duh. I know quite a few Germans and none of them have legal insurance but hey in our part of Germany we don't have too many sticks up our arses. 😅

 

Some things are not covered by the Mieterverein, duh. I have a problem with my landlord who refuses to take my ex-husband’s name off the lease. I would need to go through lawyers in family law for this. I don’t have legal insurance and I’m planning to get it this year, but that issue will not be covered. I anticipate having more issues with my landlord, so I’ll need it. She harasses me. The Mieterverein can do nothing about this. 

 

It sounds like the OP is feeling discriminated against and that could cost him money. Getting it now won’t help him, but it was just a question, duh. 

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15 minutes ago, jeba said:

AFAIR in this case they will have to pay for a lawyer to sue them. Check the smallprint.

 

As in my case they refused to cover, they might just say sorry again, don't cover that.  What will you do?

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5 minutes ago, LeonG said:

 

As in my case they refused to cover, they might just say sorry again, don't cover that.  What will you do?

Pay for a lawyer to sue them.

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