Problem landlords and rental deposit returns

690 posts in this topic

The security deposit, or Kaution, is only for repairs, cleaning, etc. that the landlord has to do when you leave. Apartments have to be left in the condition they were in when you started renting. If you have an invoice for 120 Euros, you should get the 380 Euros back. Now I don't know what else is in your contract or if other things are being deducted from the Kaution that you haven't mentioned. The Meiterverein would have been a good idea but too late for that now and a lawyer will cost more than 500 Euros so you may just have to pay the 500. But that said, I would make the landlord documents everything he claims needs repair, you should try to check on it and see if it actually gets done, and you can always tell him you "will talk to your lawyer" if you are trying to negotiate the charges with him.

 

(This is just my non-expert non-legal opinion gained from living here 5 years and putting up with 2 different landlords)

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Thanx again Gary.

 

My landlord is trying to screw me because I dont know German. She is changing her mind all the time, my only concern is whether Kaution money could be totally deducted using that clause. Her argument is that she may return the balance money (in installment) out of goodwill and not due to legal obligation.

 

What happens when the landlord has not deposited my money in an escrow account ?. Is there a fine for that or can I make use of that point ?.

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So you can't have the Mietverein deal with an issue that happened before you joined them?

In that case, if it better to go straight to the Mahnbescheid?

After how many months should you engage that course of action?

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Noone have any thoughts on this, or I am missing it somewhere in the thread?

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This is anticipating problems, but I'm trying to find out how landlords should account for damages when returning the Kaution. Relations have deteriorated with our landlady, and we are in a legal dispute with her, so I fear that she will now do everything she can to keep our Kaution. Any damages which we are responsible for, I expect to pay. But how can such damage be quantified?

 

We have 2 broken bathroom tiles - which we had already told her about, and she'd told us not to worry until the end of the tenancy. There are no spare tiles so we can't replace them, and there were already 6 broken tiles when we moved in (out of a total of about 500). In fact, one of those broken tiles had previously caused a lot of damage, with water damage in the ceiling below which we decorated over when we moved in, and has been covered with tape for at least the 8 years we've here. What would be fair to charge us in this situation?

 

Also,lots of people have told me that after a while kitchens become effectively valueless and so no damages can be taken off for these - our kitchen is beginning to look a bit tatty as it is pine and the wooden work top does look jaded. So really it is only wear and tear, but I just wondered if it is true about the age of the kitchen? The kitchen is somewhere between 16-18 years old.

 

We have still another issue which is a Kamin which is beginning to detach itself from the wall - again she has been shown this in the past, and not chosen to do anything about it. I suspect it is structural rather any damage we have caused or natural wear and tear,

 

I will go to the Mietverein to discuss any issues, but I'm just trying to gather up as much information as I can in advance. Many thanks for any tips about this, as I'm desperately trying to do the right thing and reduce stress in what has become quite a difficult situation.

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Do you have liability insurance? If so why not make your problem their problem?

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Yes we do, and we have house insurance as well, so obviously any damage we've caused could be covered by the insurance. But whilst that seems appropriate at least to check for the Kamin, I'm not sure it would be for the sake of 2 tiles. So I'm thinking about asking them for the stove, and if they come out I can ask them for the tiles as well. But I'm also intrigued as to how these things would be treated in terms of the Kaution.

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So I rented a room with a 3 months cancellation notice. There were a lot of problems with the room.

  1. Internet not working
  2. The owner entered my room 3 times in the first 3 weeks without notification
  3. Heating makes sounds
  4. Other less important problem

I told the owner that I wanted to leave because of these problems, he said he will try to fix the problems, and that I can leave before the notice period, just tell him and we will reach an agreement. I also told him I started looking for someone to replace me in the room, he said don't do this, I have my own website where this happens. Nothing was fixed, and I found another flat, so I told him I want to leave, that was 7th of Mai. He said that I have to pay the rent for May completely, which I agreed to. I moved to the new flat on the 10th of May, after notifying him, and then we met for me to give him the rent, keys, and get my deposit back. He didn't agree to give my deposit. Initially, he said I will get it when someone else goes into the room, then after some negotiations when I said I must have it by the 1st of June, he agreed. He also asked me to help him look for someone and claimed he never told me not to look for someone.

Last week I messaged him about when is he going to send my deposit, and he said I didn't find someone for the room, and the people you refereed also didn't take the room. I might have found somebody on the 20th of next month, so I will deduce 75% from your deposit, also I will deduce 50 euros for cleaning. Previously, he never mentioned anything about that, when I said if you didn't find someone I will need my deposit on the 1st of June, he agreed. He keeps pushing me to say okay to the deal, and he calls it

more than a fair deal

I tried negotiating with him, and telling him you never said this before, why are you changing your words, he responded with completely irrelevant stuff, like I gave you free blankets and curtains and some details that are useless to the case right now. He said he doesnt want to talk about it, and I will only get 100 euros.

 

A lot of our discussions were verbal. We talk about them over the email later, so I can't prove everything. But I have a signed paper from him that he received the keys and the complete rent for Mai. Now I do not have the keys, I should not be paying rent anymore, and it is not really easy for me to find someone for the room if I don't have the keys, I have to contact him, and it's really dodgy, maybe he is telling the people higher rent values, I don't really know.

 

I don't know what actions I can take. I am a student, I don't have that much money. I don't know how strong is my legal status and should I go for a legal action or what? I tried going to the Mietverein, but they said I cannot just go for 1 visit, I have to be a member, which will cost me 75 euros + 15 euros for the visit. I don't really know what will be the outcome. I am confused and don't know what to do. Any help would be really appreciated. I really need this money.

 

Thanks for your time and sorry for the long post

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I am not staying in Germany for long, It's just for 6 months, and already 2 months passed. I don't want to pay a lot of money, I just want a legal advice about my state...If I pay 100+ euros to join something just for 1 advice and they tell me I can't prove anything, then I lost even that small percent of my kaution back, or even more

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Thankfully you put the deposit into an account that requires both of you to sign in order to access the money...

 

You did do that, Didnt you?

 

 

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OK, it seems to me that your options are reduced. The only thing I can think of is you to look for a "one step" lawyer. These attorneys charge a minimal amount (e.g. 15€) to provide you with legal counseling. The thing is you can only use it once. This means that you need to go to court, you'd have to pay them whatever they charge for the entire hearings. I'd guess you'd be fine with the first appointment - they will tell you right there what are your options (if any).   

Are you a college student, on an exchange program? If yes, I might be able to help you out - PM me. 

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Another landlord problem here. We have had advice from a German friend who is also a landlord, and he has said that what our old landlord is demanding is not allowed. However, getting a lawyer involved is likely to be costly, especially as those I spoke to said that we would be unlikely to get legal costs back.

 

Basically, we moved out of our apartment in October 2014 having agreed to damages requiring repainting of a wall (charged at around 300 euro). On an 85 square metre apartment in Berlin, our Nebenkosten were around 320/month i.e. already high. As we had barely used electricity (had no lighting), water (showered daily at the gym) or heating (we hardly ever turned it on), we were expecting to be owed money back from the Nebenkostenabrechnung.

 

We received the Abrechnung for 9 months of 2013 in late December 2014 and were told that we owed around 600 euro extra. After arguing about many of the items in the calculation (including the incorrect size of flat and a charge for non-existent security) this was halved. However, there are still numerous items that are not allowed to be on the calculation, including many items that the agency have agreed were for the shops and offices, not for the flat. Other items (e.g. tax, insurance) were directly proportioned regardless of space use business vs residential. The Mietverein (we were not members but they agreed to advise use) agreed that this was not allowed, as did a lawyer we contacted. 

 

We have tried to speak with the agency numerous times, but they refuse to talk on the phone, so we are limited to sending emails, which they reply to after a few weeks by post. They refuse to change anything more on the calculation and seem to have passed our case onto their debt collection office. They still hold our deposit of 4000 euro and have said they will only pay it back when we agree to them taking out the value of the Nebenkostenabrechnung for 2013 and 2014 (calculation not provided to us for 2014). Thus, we either have to agree to their incorrect Abrechnung or risk our SCHUFA. It seems going down the legal route is likely to cost more than we can prove is incorrect on the Abrechnung. Does anyone have any advice other than pay up and next time join the Mietverein?

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OK, it seems to me that your options are reduced. The only thing I can think of is you to look for a "one step" lawyer. These attorneys charge a minimal amount (e.g. 15€) to provide you with legal counseling. The thing is you can only use it once. This means that you need to go to court, you'd have to pay them whatever they charge for the entire hearings. I'd guess you'd be fine with the first appointment - they will tell you right there what are your options (if any).   

Are you a college student, on an exchange program? If yes, I might be able to help you out - PM me. 

Thanks for this advice. This sounds interesting. What would the German be for such a lawyer? We found similar services online but would be good to be actually able to talk to someone.

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It seems that this thread is good to post an issue about my current predicament. I have already mentioned some stuff about this in the "Eigenbedarf thread", also under "Legal".

 

So long story short, Meant to move out, Girlfriend Pregnant, Went to court, made a deal to move out one month later. Landlord completely p**ssed.

 

So we found a place 300 km away. Landlord decided he was not going to do the handover on the moving day, rather he wanted me to do  a round trip of 600km to return the keys and do the handover otherwise he takes us again to court. Fine to save his ego and for a swift ending I was willing to do this. 

 

However now comes the situation regarding the deposit. The court effectively said "besenrein und geräumt", a lot of people mentioned this on the "Eigenbedarf" thread. Sweep the floor and leave empty. This deal was made to make me move out asap. However, this man is very bitter, he does not want his flat back (we gave him dates, much earlier than the date he gave us) he wants payback. he wants the ultimate revenge for making him wait 6 months.

 

How do I protect myself ? The kaution is in an account which requires 2 signatures (mine and his).  

 

There are small things wrong with the flat but only minor and were there when we moved in.

 

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I was living in a WG in Berlin for 5 months. I moved out just over two weeks ago and back to Ireland. The landlord checked the room before I left and said it was perfect and he took my bank details. I still haven't gotten my €600 deposit back. I've emailed the landlord twice over the last week and rang him a good few times with no answer. I had to pay the deposit and rent in cash so I thought it was strange that he told me it would be given back through my bank account.

 

My landlord was a cheapskate in general. The rent was higher than advertised; he had converted the kitchen into a bedroom so we only had a cupboard and sink/hob/fridge combo in the hallway. He told me that everything was included in the rent price when I asked, but after I had signed the contract I learned that electricity and heating were not included (by going home and translating the contract). Every pipe in the 'kitchen' and bathroom leaked and the internet that we had to pay €10 for was a broadband box in the corridor that was used by 6 apartments with just an extender plug in our apartment, it only worked for about 1/2 the time I actually lived there and when it did work it was painfully slow. The whole experience was a mess.

 

I've looked up the 'company' that I rented from and a couple of reviews said that they've committed deposit fraud and fraud in general.

 

Does it usually take a long time for deposits to be returned in Germany? Or is my landlord trying to pull one over on me?

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If you type in Kaution in search box, there are lots of posts about this.  According to Mietverein, it can be up to 12 months.  I know I had a landlord who  went the extra mile and we got it back in 2 weeks!  But, apparently there can be a long time before you receive it.

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We recently moved out of a furnished apartment in Berlin.  We left the apartment clean and in good condition.  Now the landlord has deducted over 800 EUR from our security deposit.  For example, he charged us over 300 EUR for cleaning (even though the apartment was left clean--we have photographs), including the cost for having all of the linens ironed (they were not ironed when we move in).  He has charged us for replacing all of the dishes, because they have a "Kalk" residue on them, even though we contacted him repeatedly throughout the year asking him to have the dishwasher serviced, since it was coating all the dishes in Kalk, despite our use of Regeniersalz and Klarspuler with every load (and running the dishwasher repeatedly empty with dishwasher cleaner), and he never had anyone come to look at it or repair it.  If he took a few hundred Euro out of our deposit, I would just ignore it and move on, but these charges are clearly incorrect and ridiculous.  But before we confront him about the charges, I want to be sure I know exactly what the Berlin laws are about what a landlord can charge for, and what rights a tenant has when money is withheld from a deposit.  I've tried searching online, but I don't think I am using the correct German search terms.  I was hoping someone might be able to point us towards a website (it is fine for it to be in German) that would outline these kinds of laws?  

Thanks for taking the time to read my post!

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