Landlord Rental Contract Termination

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  • The termination must be in writing, as a letter
  • The reason for the termination must be stated in the letter

When can the landlord terminate the contract?

In Germany, Rental contract termination by the landlord only applies in exceptional cases (Section 573 Ordinary notice of termination by the landlord BGB). For landlords, the notice period also depends on how long the tenant has lived in the apartment. The longer the tenant lives in the apartment, the longer the notice period is.

When terminating the rental contract, the landlord must adhere to the following formal requirements:

  • The termination must be in writing, as a letter. That means no email, no fax, no text message, and no phone call.
  • The landlord must sign the notice of termination. If several people rent the apartment, they must all sign. When a manager, lawyer, or just one of several landlords signs on behalf of the letter of termination, an original power of attorney must be enclosed.
  • If there are several tenants in the contract, the termination must usually be addressed to all tenants listed in the contract.
  • The notice of termination must state which apartment or rental contract the termination relates to.
  • As a rule, termination without notice must be preceded by at least one warning.
  • The reason for the contract’s termination must be stated in the letter.
  • A period of notice must be included in the notice of termination. This means the landlord must inform the tenant by which date he must vacate the apartment or house.

Can the landlord shorten the notice period?

For landlords, the notice periods can be shortened, namely when it is not reasonable for a tenant to stay longer in the apartment. For example, if the tenant has not paid his rent for two months. The landlord can then terminate the rental contract without notice.

The landlord can terminate a rental contract if there are legitimate interest in the tenancy termination. Termination for rent increases is excluded (Section 573 BGB).

In minor cases, such as disturbing the peace at night or keeping a dog despite the ban on keeping animals, the landlord must first send a warning before terminating the contract. Link Section 543 Extraordinary terminations without notice for good cause BGB.

With the reasons for termination as use contrary to the contract and disturbing the peace of the house, something pretty blatant must have happened for the landlord to be able to terminate the contract without notice.

According to case law, these terminations without notice were lawful:

  • more than 100 birds fly free in the apartment
  • installation of a window on your own
  • heroin trafficking
  • frequent feeding of pigeons
  • electricity theft
  • intentional damage to property
  • serious insults and physical attacks on the landlord or other tenants

The notice period for landlords

If the rental agreement contains a more extended notice period than prescribed by law, this period applies only to the landlord. If the tenant and the landlord have agreed on a notice period shorter than that defined by law, that notice period does not apply to the landlord. The landlord must comply with the legal deadlines, while the tenant can terminate the contract with a shorter agreed notice period.

Rental PeriodNotice Period
up to 5 Years3 Months
5 to 8 Years6 Months
from 8 Years9 Months

The landlord’s notice of contract termination must be delivered by the third working day of the month for the count that month under the notice period.

For example, in case of 3 months’ notice, if you receive a termination notice on 3 February, the tenancy will end on 30 April. On the other hand, if the notification is received after 3 February, the last day of occupancy will be postponed by one month to 31 May. Link Section 573c Deadlines for ordinary termination (BGB).

Rental Termination Contradiction

There are situations when the landlord’s termination is unjustified.

Under Section 574 of the German Civil Code (BGB), a tenant can oppose a termination if the termination would mean an unjustifiable hardship for the tenant, family, or another household member.

This hardship is, for instance, if no reasonable alternative living space can be found, if the tenant is disabled, seriously ill, or if a final examination is imminent.

According to Section 574b of the German Civil Code (BGB), the objection to a notice of termination must be made in writing. When you send it, it must be received by the landlord no later than two months before the expiry of the notice period. The prerequisite for this is that the landlord has informed the tenant in good time of the possibility of an objection. In a situation like when the landlord hasn’t informed you, your objection can be lodged later.

Must-Read Info

If you are looking for information on terminating a rent by a tenant, you will find it in the article How to Terminate the Rental Contract?

After handing over the apartment or house, the lessor must return the deposit – details in the article Rental Deposit Refund.


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Landlord Rental Contract Termination
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