What is Rent Reduction (Mietminderung) in Germany
Mietminderung – a German term that refers to the legal right you as a tenant to rent reduction if your rented property has defects or is otherwise uninhabitable.
We can translate Mietminderung into English as Rent Reduction.
Under German law (Section 536 – Rent reduction for material defects and defects of title – German Civil Code (BGB)), tenants can request a rent reduction when a rented flat or house has defects. You should know that you can request a rent reduction only when these defects significantly impair the quality of life in the rented property.
How much the rent can be reduced depends on the type of defects and how these defects affect the use of the rented apartment or house. The tenant must inform the landlord about arisen defects. If this is forgotten, the right to rent reduction will be lost.
You can’t stop paying or reducing rent, as it could lead to legal problems. Instead, you should document the defects and follow the proper procedures to request a rent reduction. Unfortunately, many foreigners and immigrants in Germany are unfamiliar with the right to rent reduction, and some landlords take advantage of that.
- Reasons for a Rent Reduction
- The Landlord Refuses or Ignores the Rent Reduction
- When the Rent Reduction Does Not Apply
Reasons for a Rent Reduction
Here are some typical situations for rent reduction:
- Defective heating or lack of heating during cold weather
- Water damage or dampness in the property
- Noise from neighbors, traffic, or construction works
- Pest infestation, such as rodents or insects
- Non-functioning appliances, such as a broken stove or refrigerator if are included in the rent
- Lack of hot water
- Problems with electrical installations or gas supply
- Unsanitary conditions or lack of cleanliness in common areas or shared facilities
- Structural damage or hazards, such as cracks in the walls or ceilings
- Failure to provide agreed-upon services, such as garbage removal or snow removal
These are just a few examples, and there may be other situations where Rent reduction (Mietminderung) can apply depending on the specific circumstances. It is important for tenants to document any issues and follow the proper procedures to request a rent reduction in accordance with German law.
The Landlord Refuses or Ignores the Rent Reduction
If your landlord refuses your request for a rent reduction or fails to make necessary repairs to your rental property, it can be a frustrating and stressful experience. However, remember that you have legal rights as a tenant in Germany.
If you find yourself in this situation, you may want to consider seeking advice from an advisor or a lawyer who specializes in rental law. They can help you understand legal rights and options, and guide you through the steps you need to take to resolve the issue.
An advisor or a lawyer can also help you prepare a formal written notice to your landlord, file a complaint, or take legal action if necessary. They can also represent you in court if the dispute cannot be resolved through other means.
That legal representation can be expensive, but many advisors or lawyers offer initial consultations for free or at a reduced rate. Contacting an advisor or lawyer can help you determine the best course of action to take in your specific situation and help you achieve a favorable outcome.
When the Rent Reduction Does Not Apply
Not every defect entitles you to a rent reduction.
Rent abatement requirements may vary depending on the circumstances and terms of the rental contract. It is always a good idea to seek legal advice to understand your rights and options.
Here are some examples of when rent reduction is not possible:
- If the tenants caused the defect or problem through their negligence or misuse
- If the tenant knew about the defect or problem before signing the rental agreement and agreed to accept the property in its current condition.
- According to Section 536 Paragraph 1 Clause 3 of the German Civil Code (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch – BGB), if the defect or problem is minor and does not significantly affect the tenant’s use of the rental property. For example, a small crack in a window may not warrant a rent reduction, but a broken window that cannot be closed or locked may.
- When the tenant has not given the landlord a reasonable opportunity to make necessary repairs before requesting a rent reduction (the tenant must first deliver the landlord written notice of the defect or problem and a proper amount of time to make repairs).
- If the rental property is already rented at a reduced rate due to known defects or problems.
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