It's been 9 months and my landlord has still not returned my deposit ("kaution") money

23 posts in this topic

A little background:
So I left this apartment in November 2020 and upon last inception ("Übergabeprotokoll") among other small things there were water stains on kitchen ceiling which my landlord said is not a problem since it's most likely caused by the apartment above.

 

A screenshot of a part of "Übergabeprotokoll" can be viewed below or here: https://ibb.co/wNQfH5f

 

image.png.cc4b7a20d7d3da6311135932d67d90

 

A month later upon my inquiry for "Kaution" money he said that he's been waiting on some authority regarding the kitchen ceiling issue and as soon he gets an answer from them he'll let me know. Months after months passed and he slowly stopped replying to my email and/or phone calls and when called from a new number would say the same thing that there's no answer from the authorities yet so I have to wait.

 

After a discussion with "Wohnungsamt" I wrote him a formal letter with a date to pay back or face legal charges he replied this:

 

"bezugnehmend auf Ihr Schreiben vom 03.08.2021 möchte ich Ihnen mitteilen, dass ich weiterhin auf Rückmeldung zur Regulierung des Schadens an der Decke der Küche warte.

Alternativ kann eine Abrechnung davor erfolgen, wenn Sie die Kosten des Neuanstrichs vorbehaltlich einer Regulierung durch die WEG übernehmen. Wenn dies Ihr Wunsch ist, kümmere ich mich gerne um eine entsprechende Beauftragung.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen"

 

My questions are:

 - I am unsure on what he's actually trying to say here in this email reply?

 - What is the right course of action for me here?

 

Some addition info:

 - No, I do not have a lawyers insurance ("Rechtsschutz")

 - No, I haven't got any "Endabrechnung" yet, only the "Übergabeprotokoll"

 - No, I am not a member of any Tenants' association ("Mieterverein")

 - I know that my landlord is supposed to put the "Kaution" money in a separate account and also pay me the interest on top of it

 - Yes, I have already asked my landlord to pay me at least some part of the "Kaution" money, which he refused

 

 

Any help would be highly appreciated. Thank you.

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Also your Kaution should be in an account that has your name on it as well. It isn’t the landlord’s responsibility to put it into a second account. 

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30 minutes ago, klingklang77 said:

Also your Kaution should be in an account that has your name on it as well. It isn’t the landlord’s responsibility to put it into a second account. 

I didn't ask him explictly for that at the start of my contract. So I am not sure where the Kation money is at the moment. Does this give him any benefit over my claim of return?

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1 hour ago, fredadi said:

The claim expire after 6 months even if is listed in the "Übergabeprotokoll"? If I go against him via a lawyer can my landord use this as an argument?

I am not a lawyer, so get professional advice either by joining Mietvereign or consulting a lawyer (whose consultation might be more expensive than the Kaution itself). I think, the landlord had 6 months to get the expert opinion and withdraw part of the Kaution. Since this did not happen you have a right to demand the whole Kaution.

 

Another solution will be: demand returning the Kaution citing BGB 548, then do Mahnbescheid. Find a German speaker who will write a passive-aggressive letter threatening Mahnvervahren. Basically, this is what Mietverein does for their small fee. 

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1 hour ago, fredadi said:

I didn't ask him explictly for that at the start of my contract. So I am not sure where the Kation money is at the moment. Does this give him any benefit over my claim of return?

 

I am not sure. I am not a lawyer. All I know is the account that you share for the Kaution protects you. I know you said you weren’t a member of the Mieterverein, but I suggest you go to them for advice or the local Beratungsstelle in Frankfurt. I had a similar problem in Frankfurt and the Mieterverein helped me get my Kaution back. I was a member, though. 

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On 8/16/2021, 3:16:01, yourkeau said:

I am not a lawyer, so get professional advice either by joining Mietvereign or consulting a lawyer (whose consultation might be more expensive than the Kaution itself). I think, the landlord had 6 months to get the expert opinion and withdraw part of the Kaution. Since this did not happen you have a right to demand the whole Kaution.

 

Another solution will be: demand returning the Kaution citing BGB 548, then do Mahnbescheid. Find a German speaker who will write a passive-aggressive letter threatening Mahnvervahren. Basically, this is what Mietverein does for their small fee. 

So I send him the "Mahnbescheid" 2 weeks ago (paid ~60€ for it) to which I got the reply that he objected ("Widerspruch") to the entire claim without any reason provided. Now the letter from "Amtgericht" says if I want to proceed with conflict resolution and bring my landlord to court I need to pay an additional fee of 279€.
Does it make send to pay this additional fee? Or it's better to go to a lawyer maybe?

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Do you have legal insurance? If so, go to a lawyer and even if you don't the only way you are going to move this forward is via a lawyer. Unfortunately in Germany unless people/companies receive letters regarding legal issues from lawyers they just ignore things or drag their heels in the hope the other person gives up.

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1 minute ago, warsteiner70 said:

Do you have legal insurance? If so, go to a lawyer and even if you don't the only way you are going to move this forward is via a lawyer. Unfortunately in Germany unless people/companies receive letters regarding legal issues from lawyers they just ignore things or drag their heels in the hope the other person gives up.

 - No, I do not have a lawyers insurance ("Rechtsschutz")

 

So basically it will be wise to hire a lawyer and not proceed with the "Mahnbescheid" myself (since I have already paid 60€ and now have to pay 279€). Right?

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1 hour ago, fredadi said:

 - No, I do not have a lawyers insurance ("Rechtsschutz")

 

So basically it will be wise to hire a lawyer and not proceed with the "Mahnbescheid" myself (since I have already paid 60€ and now have to pay 279€). Right?

 

Yes, I don't think you are going to get any further without a lawyer

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fredadi,

 

If the apartment was in a building with a Hausverwaltung, your landlord may not even have the final house costs for 2020 as of yet. That could be why your Kaution has not been returned/refunded.  Once the landlord has the annual costs for 2020 from the Hausverwaltung, he can determine if your Nebenkosten cover the 2020 costs for your time there.  If the costs are higher than what you paid each month, you will owe the difference.  If the costs are less, you should be refunded the difference.  The landlord can't calculate the amount he owes you until he has the 2020 annual costs.  You should get a copy of those annual costs (and should have in the past) from your landlord. 

 

I'm sure others will post with additional information regarding this.  

 

S.  

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20 minutes ago, Shenandoah said:

fredadi,

 

If the apartment was in a building with a Hausverwaltung, your landlord may not even have the final house costs for 2020 as of yet. That could be why your Kaution has not been returned/refunded.  Once the landlord has the annual costs for 2020 from the Hausverwaltung, he can determine if your Nebenkosten cover the 2020 costs for your time there.  If the costs are higher than what you paid each month, you will owe the difference.  If the costs are less, you should be refunded the difference.  The landlord can't calculate the amount he owes you until he has the 2020 annual costs.  You should get a copy of those annual costs (and should have in the past) from your landlord. 

 

I'm sure others will post with additional information regarding this.  

 

S.  

Thank you Shenandoah for your reply.

You are saying that even when I left the apartment in November 2020 the costs may still not be available to him by now? I mean isn't the year 2020 long gone? After all 10 months have passed now.

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Fredadi,

 

Yes, the landlord may not have received the final, annual costs for the apartment for 2020.  

 

I own an apartment in Berlin and have received the "draft" 2020 costs for the house and my apartment from the property management company.  There will be an owners meeting sometime before the end of 2021 and the 2020 house costs will be finalized after that meeting.  Last year, the owners meeting was at the beginning of November for the 2019 house costs.

 

S.

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It might be cheaper for you to join the tenants association to get help from their lawyer on how to proceed but since you join after the fact, they will not go to court with you.  The other option would be to hire a lawyer and your landlord is dragging his feet banking on that you don't.

 

The landlord has until the end of this calendar year to send you the nebenkostenabrechnung for 2020.  Not saying that it's completely legal to keep all of your deposit for that long but he can keep a portion of it as far as I know until it's clear whether you owe nebenkosten.

 

On 16.8.2021, 11:55:05, fredadi said:

After a discussion with "Wohnungsamt" I wrote him a formal letter with a date to pay back or face legal charges he replied this:

 

"bezugnehmend auf Ihr Schreiben vom 03.08.2021 möchte ich Ihnen mitteilen, dass ich weiterhin auf Rückmeldung zur Regulierung des Schadens an der Decke der Küche warte.

Alternativ kann eine Abrechnung davor erfolgen, wenn Sie die Kosten des Neuanstrichs vorbehaltlich einer Regulierung durch die WEG übernehmen. Wenn dies Ihr Wunsch ist, kümmere ich mich gerne um eine entsprechende Beauftragung.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen"

 

He's being very cheeky there and offering you that if you agree to pay the cost to paint the ceiling, he will get it done.  I don't know why it takes 10 months to decide on painting a ceiling.  Just sounds like another tactic on dragging his feet in the matter until  you give up and let him keep the money.

 

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My husband sued our former landlords because they took over 80 percent of our Kaution.  Fortunately, we do have legal insurance and we're also in the Mieterverein.  Even with the lawyer, ex landlady was very difficult and dragged things out.  We sued her and she settled with us, but it took a long time.  Still, since we won, she had to pay our legal fees, her legal fees, court fees, and most of the Kaution she kept from us.

 

If the Kaution means that much to you and you strongly believe you're right, it may be worth it to fight.  At the very least, you'll have the satisfaction of not letting your landlord get away with thievery.  When it comes down to it, that's why we sued.  Because by letting ex landlady get away with her scheme, we would be encouraging theft.  It felt like the right thing to do, and ultimately, I think it was.

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On 9/19/2021, 10:04:06, knotheadusc said:

My husband sued our former landlords because they took over 80 percent of our Kaution.  Fortunately, we do have legal insurance and we're also in the Mieterverein.  Even with the lawyer, ex landlady was very difficult and dragged things out.  We sued her and she settled with us, but it took a long time.  Still, since we won, she had to pay our legal fees, her legal fees, court fees, and most of the Kaution she kept from us.

 

If the Kaution means that much to you and you strongly believe you're right, it may be worth it to fight.  At the very least, you'll have the satisfaction of not letting your landlord get away with thievery.  When it comes down to it, that's why we sued.  Because by letting ex landlady get away with her scheme, we would be encouraging theft.  It felt like the right thing to do, and ultimately, I think it was.

Yes it's almost 3000€ which he's holding back.

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On 8/16/2021, 3:16:01, yourkeau said:

Another solution will be: demand returning the Kaution citing BGB 548.

 

We had something similar in our last place and did exactly this. Our landlord said he was still waiting for the nebenkostenabrechnung and some other quote or other, but we just said that's his problem. We said give us our money back according to BGB 548 and if and when the time comes that he needs some money back then he can approach us then. He transferred the money to us and we never heard form him again.

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