Legal Issues in Germany
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The main questions about renting apartments in Germany – in a new format

In which case the owner can maximize the rent? Is there a difference between the profitability of apartments and apartment buildings? Income from which objects are usually the most reliable? The new format from allows you to read and see the answers.

Ekaterina Demidova Ekaterina Demidova, General Director of the DEM Group, answers questions.

– How long does it take to search a tenant for a free apartment?

– The standard time to search for a new tenant is three months. Incidentally, this is also the period for which the tenant who wants to move out is obliged to notify the landlord of his intention. After that, the owner formally has the opportunity to offer an object on the market. That is, at this time, potential tenants can come and watch the apartment.

But this, of course, is an average indicator, and real terms depend on the condition of the apartment, its location and, of course, rental prices. If it does not correspond to the object and the market, then the owner may be left without a tenant.

On the other hand, we do not recommend renting an apartment to the first comer and we ourselves do a control check of potential tenants, as a result of which we simply exclude many candidates.

In our practice, the shortest time for renting an apartment was literally one day. On the last day of the month, the tenant was moving out, and already on the first day a new one came in, who made his choice the day before. But this happens if the apartment remains in good condition after the occupant is moving down. The longest search period stretched for six months.
– For which defects in a rented apartment is the owner responsible, and for which tenant?

– Generally speaking, the responsibility of the owner is the external perimeter of the apartment, the condition of the walls, doors, windows, balconies, as well as heating systems, plumbing and sanitary equipment. Everything else is the responsibility of the tenant. Since in Germany the tenant calls in a rented apartment with its own furniture, then, of course, her condition is also the area of ​​responsibility of the tenants. But, of course, each case should be considered individually.

For example, a breakdown of a crane in one case may be recognized as the fault of the tenant, in the other – the owner. Or consider the following situation: the tenant spoiled the floor, having lived in an apartment for a couple of months. In this case, you can keep a certain amount from it. If he lived in an apartment for five, or even ten years, normal wear and tear, of course, is unrealistic to compensate.

– How to avoid unexpected expenses immediately after the purchase of an investment apartment?

– Purchase of secondary real estate is always a certain risk. Accordingly, even in a German notarial contract it is always reflected that you buy an apartment in the same condition as it is. Another thing, if the seller knows about some hidden defect that can not be seen immediately, and does not report it. Legally, this is already the seller’s responsibility, and it is also notarized. For such defects, the former owner must report to you.

The second point is to look at the minutes of the last meeting of tenants, which contains a list of works planned for the coming year. Thereby you find out what additional expenses you will have. In addition, the documents should pay attention to the amount in the reserve fund of the house. It is better if there is such a fund and it has savings. Then, in the event of an unforeseen breakdown, the management company will not immediately collect money from all tenants – they will first spend the funds from the fund.

And during an internal examination, it is necessary to assess the condition of the heating boiler, because this is one of the most expensive things in the apartment and the need to repair it can lead to serious costs. It is also necessary to evaluate the roof of the house and the basement. If the roof leaks, and in the basement dampness, it is possible spending on repairs, which will later be divided among all owners. Accordingly, they will fall on our customers.

First of all, you should rely on your own everyday experience and ask for the opinion of realtors. Because it is unprofitable to involve a special appraiser or an expert from the outside for such cases.
– How to raise the rental rate in an apartment for rent?

– In Germany, there are restrictions on the growth of rents. You can increase it by no more than 10% in three years. Theoretically, raising fees in this framework is allowed annually, but usually nobody does this. Contracts for commercial properties are indexed regularly.

For residential, we recommend raising payments every three to five years, when your rental rate is already significantly lagging behind the market average. But again, you can only raise within 10%.

You can raise a fee for a larger amount after the tenant’s departure. For example, an apartment has become vacant, and a new lodger can be settled based on current market prices — it is much more profitable.

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