Tenancy law

Letting and renting are two central legal acts of considerable significance, which come up both in private and in business life. Over the past years the German Federal High Court of Justice has time and again passed judgments  which either interfere with or have a direct impact on existing lease relationships –  with repeated rulings concerning not only subjects such as interior decoration repairs and ancillary leasing costs such as costs of utilities, but also concerning increases of rent, notice of termination of a lease, notice periods in so-called „long-established tenancy agreements“  and a reduction of rent to be paid on the grounds of  reduced rental value, or more or less than contractually specified floor space  in both residential and business premises.

  • In looking at the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court of Justice in the matter of interior decoration repairs over the past years one is faced with the question in how far a landlord can actually demand such repairs at all. As a matter of fact a landlord may still demand such repair work to be done and paid for provided that the tenancy agreement contains valid provisions in that respect. But what is the proper and valid wording which will entitle a landlord to make such a demand ? Is the tenant really obliged to renovate the rented premises at the latest when the tenant moves out ? Is it worth the while to try and enforce such a right by going to Court ?
  • In our day and time everything is getting more and more expensive. In order to be able to let premises with some it is often necessary to update a rent, especially when it comes to long-term tenancies. In this context it is one of the lawyer’s duties  to verify whether agreed-upon payments of rent are still on the local custom level or whether an increase of the rent can be enforced by having reference to a rent index or a contractual agreement following a modernization of the premises concerned.
  • Living in an apartment building often means that a variety of human characters and personalities encounter in the same premises with their occasionally incompatible concepts and ideas of how their lifestyles should be. Conflicts which arise on these grounds include, amongst others, nuisances such as noise and the smell of tobacco smoked on balconies or the keeping of pets, etc. In many cases conflicts beween tenants also have their repercussions on the contractual relationship between tenant(s) and landlord. Thus tenants demand quite frequently that their rent be reduced, that other tenants be given a written notice of warning or that their  tenancy be terminated without prior notice. Cases like these require in-depth verification of the claims or complaints which the parties concerned assert amongst and against each other.
  • The statutory provisions concerning the deposit of security for rent, the agreement thereon, its investment and use have been further specified and supplemented by current jurisdiction such as it was passed with reference to specific individual cases. It goes without saying that problems arising in this field can hardly be solved without detailed specialized knowledge. The contracting parties need to have information regarding permissible amounts, ways of payment and the interest which such security is to bear. Special knowledge is also required in cases of a change in ownership or in cases where receivership is ordered for a rented property.
  • Contrary to tenancy agreements for residential housing, landlords have vaster freedoms in drafting tenancy agreements for business or industrial premises. This fact holds out prospects for both chances and risks. There are a few issues which need to be provided for by way of a contract, such as, for instance, an increase of the rent and the prerequisites which must be met in order to allow for such an increase, as German law does not contain any provisions in that respect. In the case of tenancy agreements which are limited in time  the parties’ compliance with the written form requirement means that the contracting parties have to give even more attention to the contents and the wording of the tenancy agreement Here it is of major importance to detect the weak points of an already concluded business tenancy agreement  and avoid mistakes when concluding a new contract.

These and similar problems including questions concerning the effects of current jurisdiction and its impacts on an owner’s right to terminate a tenancy agreement on the grounds of the owner’s own need of the premises, reasons entitling tenants to reduce their payments of rent, the validity of overhead and running cost accountings and other claims which the tenants may assert are part of constant legal practice and the problems which are arising in connection with the same will be solved by those of our office’s certified lawyers who are specialists in tenancy and condominium law issues.


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