Tips for Home Seekers

Costs and financing

  • Costs:
    • non-recurring costs
    • rent
    • monthly running costs
    • heating and electricity
    • loans
  • Excessive rent: you may apply for a rent reduction (assessment of chief rent) with the Arbitration board (Schlichtungsstelle) three years into the tenancy agreement.

Who is entitled to sell or rent out

  • check the abstract of the real estate register at the district court (against payment)
  • check the landlord’s purchase or tenancy agreement

Legal status of an apartment

  • community-owned, rental, co-operative apartment or condominium
  • chief or subtenancy
  • limited or unlimited (tenancy law)
  • subsidized rental apartments may not be sublet by the tenant
  • never sign a rental or purchase agreement without prior advice (for information and assistance turn to tenants organisations: Service centres - housing (German).

Non-recurring costs and compensations to outgoing tenants

  • investment compensations for useful improvements undertaken by the outgoing tenant (rent must not be higher than for the outgoing tenant )
  • advance rent payment if the sum can be allocated to a set time
  • contributions to construction costs for non-profit building societies
  • no compensation without valuable consideration
    exceptions:
    • apartments built after 30 May 1953 without subsidies
    • rental of condominiums built after 8 May 1945
    • rental of single dwellings or duplexes, secondary residences or company apartments

Unlawful compensations may be reclaimed via the Arbitration board (Schlichtungsstelle) within three or ten years, as the case may be. For assistance and information contact Tenants organisations: Service centres - housing (German).

Agents’ commission

Real estate agents are required to carry a licence. They may ask for their commission only after having successfully negotiated a rental or purchase agreement. Commissions are calculated on the basis of the monthly gross rent. Commissions may amount to a maximum of two months’ rent. For tenancy agreements limited to three years a maximum of one months’ rent may be charged as commission.

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