What is the legal right of the tenant

10 Tenant Rights and Obligations

The rental agreement forms the basis of every tenancy. This may lay down various regulations and thus rights and obligations for the tenant. Here you will find 10 common points of contention with the corresponding regulations.

What is a rental deposit?

To protect against possible damage or against payment defaults, landlords often require a rental deposit, depending on the contractual arrangement.

The amount of the rental deposit

This must be recorded in the rental agreement. This can be a maximum of three months' rent (net cold rent). If you had to pay a higher deposit, this was not permitted and you can claim back the excess amount from the landlord.

Payment of the rental deposit

You can pay the deposit in full at the start of the rental period. However, you also have the option of paying the same rate for the first three months.

Repayment of the rent deposit after moving out

If the tenancy has been properly terminated, the tenant is entitled to reclaim the rental deposit paid in full, including interest.
Before the payment, the landlord has the right to check the apartment and payment claims. As a rule, the deposit must be settled within three to six months and the corresponding amount paid back.

In principle, tenants have the right to an orderly and faultless rental apartment. This means that the landlord must eliminate defects both when moving in and during the tenancy. The lease specifies which minor defects in the form of cosmetic repairs the tenant is responsible for. The landlord does not have to rectify any defects that were accepted with the conclusion of the rental agreement. All major defects that occur during the tenancy must be reported to the landlord.

Danger: If you as a tenant do not report defects to the landlord and consequential damage occurs, you may be obliged to pay compensation.

What counts as a deficiency?

A defect is understood to mean any condition that deviates from the contractually agreed condition. This includes defective electrics, for example.

3. On-time payment of rent

The tenant is obliged to pay his rent regularly and on time. In addition to withholding the deposit, failure to pay can, in the worst case, lead to termination without notice.

Termination without notice due to non-payment of the rent

Two rents that have not been paid in full in a row and the arrears of more than one month's rent can lead to termination without notice. Termination without notice must also be expected in the case of rents that are permanently unpunctually paid.

4. Compliance with the house rules

Which regulations are permitted in the house rules?

Use of common areas
The landlord can specify the use of common rooms. This includes, for example, how much space each tenant is entitled to dry their laundry.

Rest periods
The generally applicable night's quiet period from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. must be observed. Noise disturbances and other nuisances are prohibited.

Cleaning obligations
The landlord has the right to lay down rules for cleaning common rooms as well as for the stairwell and the hallway. The same applies to regulations on shoveling snow or sweeping leaves.

What is inadmissible in the house rules?

The house rules must not regulate anything that speaks against personal rights. Inadmissible regulations in this area are, for example, the following:

  • General ban on visits (even if there are restrictions at certain times)
  • Ban on playing music
  • Prohibition of noise from children
  • General bathing and showering ban at night
  • General prohibition of washing machines in the apartment

The tenant may only carry out larger installations and conversions in the apartment with the permission of the landlord. This also applies if the tenant pays for the change himself. The reason for this is that all fixtures are the property of the landlord.
These major renovations include, for example, the renovation of the bathroom. You can make minor changes, such as painting the wallpaper, without prior consultation. However, you must note that when you move out, the apartment is left as agreed in the rental agreement.

As a tenant, you must ask your landlord for permission to sublet the apartment. It doesn't matter whether it's just a room or the whole apartment.

Danger: This also applies if another person such as your partner moves into the apartment. However, in this case the landlord may only prohibit moving in if the conditions of the apartment are unreasonable for another person in the household.

In principle, the landlord may not prohibit the keeping of animals. However, the landlord can make animal husbandry dependent on his consent. Before taking in a dog or cat, you should ask your landlord for permission. The request must not be refused without justification, so it is often decisive how many animals of which species there are already in the apartment and how much space is available.

As a tenant, you have the right to a functioning heating system, but you must also operate it. If there is mold because of a poorly or unheated apartment, the tenant has to pay compensation in the worst case. Because not only is mold harmful to health, wallpaper and plaster can also be attacked by it.
If your heating system does not work, the landlord is obliged to repair it accordingly.

Your landlord may not forbid you to smoke in your apartment or on your balcony. He only has the right to prohibit smoking in the common rooms and the stairwell.

The landlord has the right to include a general ban on barbecues in the rental agreement. If you don't have such a regulation, you can grill on your balcony. In order not to annoy the neighbors with smoke nuisance, it is advisable to use a gas or electric grill.