It's been over a year and my landlord has still not returned my deposit ("kaution") money

31 posts in this topic

26 minutes ago, fredadi said:

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


That was about what our ex landlady kept…. Maybe a little less.  Once the lawsuit was settled, she ended up paying about 7000 euros.  Our maybe her insurance did. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t still really pissed off about it, but at least we were able to prevail. 
 

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1 hour ago, theGman said:

 

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.

Did you write him a formal letter citing BGB 548? Do you have a template that I can use? Because mine is so stubburn as you can see in this forum thread.

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17 hours ago, fredadi said:

Did you write him a formal letter citing BGB 548? Do you have a template that I can use? Because mine is so stubburn as you can see in this forum thread.

 

No formal letter. We just brought it up friendly but clearly in the email exchange we were having. I find it (sometimes) helps when dealing with Germans to not ask questions or solicit a response. We were apologetic and all that but we simply stated that legally, he was not allowed to keep out kaution that long and that he should transfer it to us immediately (and provided our bank details again). Not a question. Just a statement of something he must do.

 

I dunno, just wondered if it was worth trying before getting a lawyer involved.

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Update:

I hired a tenancy lawyer last year (Note: I don't have a legal insurance and am not part of any Mieterverein). The lawyer first went out-of-court "außergerichtlich" to demand the "Nebenkostenabrechnung" for year 2020 and a timely return of the "Kaution" money. After a week or so, the landlord settled the matter as follows:

  1. He provided the "Nebenkostenabrechnung" where he deducted around 500€ extra for year 2020
  2. He provided an offer ("Angebot") from a construction company regarding the repair costs of the water damages. (a bill of around 1500€ which he also deducted from "Kaution"). He claimed that since I did not inform him about the damages in a timely manner and simply painted over it, I am to be held accountable for the damages
  3. He transferred the rest of the "Kaution" money after deducting the above, which was then 3000€ - 500€ - 1500€ = 1000€

I had to pay my lawyer a fee of 345€ for his out-of-court work ("außergerichtliche Tätigkeiten").

 

A note and a tip here: According to my lawyer, this 345€ can't be reimbursed later by my landlord even if/when we win the case, since it was for his out-of-court work. For all of you out there who do not speak perfect German, be careful before saying "Yes" to your lawyer, they're also in for the money. Had I known this before, I would have asked my lawyer to not do anything out-of-court and take the matter directly to the court so that I could reimburse all my legal costs from my landlord in case I won.

 

My landlord told my lawyer that the matter should be considered settled, and we mustn't contact him again. Needless to say, my lawyer filed a lawsuit for the unjustified deduction of 1500€ in the name of water damages. I then again had to pay around 300€ court fee (which I will get back if/when I win the case). An additional 250€ must be paid to my lawyer by the losing party when the case is over.

 

After my landlord received the letter from the court, he contacted my lawyer and asked for an out-of-court settlement ("außergerichtliche Einigung"). I asked him to pay back the water damage costs (1500€) and to bear 2/3 of the legal costs (300€+250€). So all in all I demanded roughly 1900€. He rejected the offer saying he won't bear any legal cost and that if I don't drop the lawsuit he will press additional charges for the other damages mentioned in the "Übergabeprotokoll" which according to him he ignored before. I told to ****off and let the court decide our fate.

 

I'll update here again once I have new information.

 

P.S. A little rant about my lawyer:

My lawyer initially convinced me that the landlord has no case against me since the water damages are clearly not my fault and that he had many such cases in the past where he fought and won. As the time passed, I noticed that all he did so far is, forward my email to the landlord and forward his to me. When I ask him for his opinion, he would not help much by saying it's up to me to decide. What really pissed me off was when recently he said I might consider out-of-court settlement since he's not sure if we'll win the case and that the landlord might have something up his sleeves. Sometimes it feels like he not my but my landlord's lawyer. Lol.

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1 hour ago, fredadi said:

... be careful before saying "Yes" to your lawyer, they're also in for the money.

 

They are only in it for the money. Certainly the ones I worked for were not in it for any charitable cause.

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Hello everyone.

I am posting my case here as I have a similar issue with my landlord. Here is my case.

I left my flat more than 1.5 years ago. I asked my landlord several times to do the final calculations for utilities (Nebenkosten) and the supplementary payment (Nachzahlung) so that I can get my deposit (Kaution) back.

In my last call, he said that the flat is renovated after my leave and my deposit goes for that. It was surprising for me. I asked him for a letter with details. He sent a letter along with a list of changes and repairs at home, which many of them has nothing to do with me. He also sent the Nachzahlung bill for utilities after 1.5 along the letter and gave me a few days to pay that. A few points:

  1. I paid the Nachzahlung (~75€) before the deadline he gave me in the letter, even if he sent me that after I asked for it. Normally, he would send a letter asap, asking for a payment. It was like, I did not want to ask you for this money, but now that you are insisting, you should also pay this.

  2. I was in the flat from April 2014 to September 2020.
  3. When I told him that I want to leave, a few weeks before my leave he come to the flat without a notice and had a look at the flat. He said that everything is fine, and it was a pleasure for him having me there!
  4. On the day before I move out, we had the last meeting for visiting the flat, key delivery, and signing the papers. He did now show up. He called me and told that he had an accident so that he cannot come. So, there was no official handover (Übergabeprotokoll). I did not sign anything showing that I accept  his claims. The neighbor gave him the keys later. I had to leave as I had a moving-in appointment in another city.
  5. I could not meet him again after that. It was due to corona situation, work pressure and moving to another city being far from the previous one.
  6. After ~1.5 years, he sent me an invoice showing that he spent ~10K for the renovation and he kept my 1200€ deposit. It was like, be happy that I do not charge you more (He is a bit old, rich, having many buildings in Germany and in Spain!).
  7. When I entered the flat it was not painted or renovated. I also cleaned up everything before my leave like the day I entered.
  8. As I see all his expenditures were for renovation, e.g., removing all the wallpapers, fixing the issues in Toilet, ... . There was no damage to anything from my side.
  9. I was there for ~78 months and based on the contract, he had to do some of these renovations after 84 or 96 months. I just do not now  how long the tenant before me was in the flat.
  10. I wrote a letter to him saying that the things you paid for was part of the renovations and have nothing to do with me and asked him to pay my deposit back until the end of March. He did not do that. I know he received the letter as it was a registered mail (Einschreiben).
  11. I also once had an issue with him for the mold (Schimmel) in the flat. He would not accept that there is an issue with the flat that I have always mold at the corners. A German friend of mine I knew in my neighborhood at that time called and warned him and he accepted and quickly fixed the issue, however temporary. I guess a serious warning before a legal action may help, but I am not sure.

 

The main point for my case is that, there was no official handover (Übergabeprotokoll). I do not know if this makes the case easier for me or makes it more difficult.

Unfortunately, I do not have a lawyer’s insurance ("Rechtsschutz") I am not a member of any Tenants' association ("Mieterverein"). I was not aware of that! What should I do now? Any ideas? Do you think, as a second letter, going for a Mahnbescheid and citing BGB 548 helps? If it does not work out, I am not sure if Mieterverein can help, as the case is for a time prior to my membership.

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If he just now sent you a letter for nebenkosten for 2020, it's too late and you did not have to pay it.  Did your rental contract state anything about renovations?  Some rental contracts do and some of these clauses are illegal while some are not.  Depending, you could be responsible for removing wallpaper or painting the walls but you shouldn't be required to pay for a lot of the other things on the list.  You should join the mieterverein because it doesn't cost too much and they can advise you on your rights and help you write letters to your landlord which could possibly help.  However, as you are joining after the fact they will likely not help you take him to court.

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I will ask mieterverein for help on that. I just do not know if it is better to join the mieterverein in my current city of the old one where my flat was and the landlord lives.

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1 hour ago, AWGN said:

I will ask mieterverein for help on that. I just do not know if it is better to join the mieterverein in my current city of the old one where my flat was and the landlord lives.

Just ask them whether it makes a difference. My guess is it won´t.

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Hi all.


My ex landlord sent me a very stupid final bill after I moved out, demanding that I pay for various things (from the deposit, basically he didn't ask for money, he asked me for my bank account so that he can send me back the rest of the deposit minus these costs).

I am going to contest some of these things, so I thought to ask for help.

 

 

1. He says that 3 hangers were missing after I moved out. I am not interested to contest that (they were not missing but not the point), but he claims that he paid 10 euros each for 3 new hangers. Therefore I have to pay 30 euros.

 

2. I accidentally broke one of the plates of the apartment (it was a furbished apartment so the plates belonged to it).  I offered to replace it but he never answered to this offer. Now he claims that I have to pay him 240 euros for the new set that he bought.

 

3. This is actually true as I had stepped on the couch trying to reach the curtain rod and one of the legs gave in. Anyway he claims costs of 105 euros for fixing the couch. This I don't want to contest as my liability will probably pay for it. But I need a receipt.


So, I spoke to my legal insurance, but unfortunately they cannot support me legally (in court or writing letters for me) with this case as I only acquired it a few months ago and the tenant support (against landlords) has not kicked in. Still they offered me free advice on the phone.

 

Referring to points 1 and 2, they told me that according to paragraph 548 of the Civil Code, the landlord cannot charge me the cost of buying new items to replace the ones I broke. He has to prove the cost of buying the original items and has to charge me the value today (if the items are really old he can't charge full price).
This means that instead of paying 240 euros for the new full set, I would have to pay the price of the one plate that I broke, amortized over their lifetime.
Is this correct?

And if yes, does someone have a link to the law that states this so I can use it in my letter to him?

 

Referring to point 3, is it true that I can demand that he sends me the receipt for these 105 euros, so that I can send it to my liability insurance?
Again, if someone can point out to me where the law says so, that would be great.

Thanks in advance.

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Hi, just to add, that my landlord also wants to charge me 50 euros for "Verwaltungsaufwand Schadenbeseitigung/Ersatzbeschaffung ".

This also sounds illegal as it's supposed to be part of this job as a landlord, but is this case?

Can someone please show me where the law says that it is illegal?

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