If you are renting a property, you have concluded a rental contact with the owner of a property. It is an important document that governs many details of the tenancy and is legally binding between you and the owner of the property.
The rental contract has to be read thoroughly by you, before you sign it. In general, the rental contract is concluded in written form. However, it can also be done verbally.
Before concluding the rental contract, it is an absolute must that you inform yourself about:
- the amount of the rent
- how much the additional costs are (including heating costs)
- how much the deposit is
- a possible broker commission, if the property was mediated by an estate agent
- duration of the rental period
- period of notice
- renovation agreements
In addition to the rental contract, a handover certificate is being made when moving in. This has to be signed by you. With your signature you declare that you agree with the current condition the property is in.
Do read the handover certificate very carefully and check all statements. All damages that were not stated within the certificate, the owner can make you accountable for, at a later time.
The owner normally requires the deposit in advance upon concluding the rental contract. It may be kept by the owner if the property is in a bad condition or rents have not been paid full or not at all. The deposit cannot exceed the maximum of three months basic rent without additional costs.
Basic rent and operating costs
Besides the rent for the living space (basic rent), operating costs (cold additional costs) have to be paid. Operating costs consist out of costs for heating, water, sewage and more. For example, garbage collection, janitor service or stair cleaning. In general, a certain amount is paid on a monthly basis in advance.
Once a year, the total costs are accounted for with the owner. This bill should be checked by you with care.
When you have signed the rental contact, you get one copy of it, plus in addition, you also normally get a set of house rules. The house rules regulate the cohabitation of all house inhabitants. Upon signing the rental contract you also declare your consent with the house rules.
Nighttime peace is, independent of any house rules, from 10 pm to 6 am, statutory.
As a tenant you habe certain obligations, such as the regular payment of the rent or respecting the house rules, but you also have entitlements that you may use. For example, repairs that generally have to be done by the lessor.
If you have any questions concerning the tenancy low, you may contact the German Tenants Association or the local consumer advice centre. Partially these consultations have to be paid for. Prior to the consultation you can inform yourself about how much it will cost you.
Moving, change of address
As soon as you have moved and have a new address, you have the obligation to let the competent registration office know as well.
Upon re-registration you will receive a written certificate that you can present, if necessary, at the bank, the insurance, any additional administration offices and other institutions.