Obligations in a flat

What obligations do I have in my flat?

In Germany, there are various obligations that you must fulfil when you rent a flat. Some important points are listed below.

In addition, individual agreements may be made with the landlord.

Rent

Rent must be paid regularly and on time. If, for technical or personal reasons, you cannot pay on one occasion, you should contact your landlord to discuss the matter.

If on a second occasion, you fail to pay or only make a partial payment, the tenancy may be terminated without notice.

Heating obligation

As a tenant, you are obliged to heat your rooms to a reasonable degree in cold weather so as to prevent mould. The room temperature should be approximately 20 degrees. Heating is usually required from 1st October to 30th April – the “heating season”.

Do not forget to ventilate the rooms properly every day!

Hallway service/“sweep week”

In many multi-tenant buildings, the landlord will employ cleaning staff to sweep and mop the stairways and hallways once a week. This is paid for on a pro rata basis by the tenants. In other buildings, the tenants are required to take turns cleaning the hallway on their floor.

Often this information is also posted on a notice board in the entrance hallway.

Winter service

In Germany, there is an obligation to clear the snow and spread grit outside the front door and on the paths leading to the building. In multi-tenant buildings, a “winter service” is often employed, but sometimes the tenants take turns to clear the snow and spread grit.

You can usually find this information in your rent agreement. If not, then you should ask your landlord.

Mutual consideration

You should avoid playing your music too loud or having arguments, for instance, in your flat. In Germany, there are generally recognised rest periods. During these times, you should not use power tools, for example, or mow the lawn. The daytime rest period is from 1pm till 3pm and the night-time rest period is from 10pm till 6am.

On Sundays and bank holidays, the entire day is classed as a rest day. If, in exceptional cases, you really have to work loudly between these times, advise your neighbours and tell them why. Most people will tolerate it. Should you violate these rest period rules, your neighbours are entitled to call the police and report you for noise pollution. Being reported like this may lead to a warning from your landlord.