Need help on German law & the rights of tenants


It’s seems whenever I get the opportunity to post something in elysiun, all I got is bad news :-?

Nothing is really working out for me here in Berlin, Germany and I it’s time for me to return to the UK.

The problem is, I am currently unemployed in Germany, and the unemployment agency are no longer going to pay me benefits when they know that my intentions are now to return home as opposed to finding a job.

No benefits means no money for my rent. I would really like to go home but the apartment owners (Howoge) tell me that I must remain for the 2-3 month lease period. I told them that I don’t have enough money to stay so long and they threatened to sue me.

I am really confused as to know what I should do next. I have very little money and I would really like to go home. What rights do I have as a British EU citizen stuck in Berlin, Germany?

I could really use some helpful advice, preferably from someone who is familiar with German law.

Thank you


Did you sighn a contract ?

Yes I did. You can’t really get an apartment in Germany without having to sign a contract.

I just think it’s really stoooopid that I have to stay here for 2 or 3 months just so I can pay rent to an apartment that I no longer wish to stay in with money that I don’t have.

Makes no sense to me :frowning:

will they take any negotiations? or are they playing hard ball?

if you look them in the eye and say your situation then say “what are the sollutions you want to offer” they may likely be smart and take one.

basicly say “we could both lose or we could both win”

the laws here are way different, but my parents are landlords and will always make reasonable deals… infact they have never put in a term contract, you mearly need to give 3 weeks notice.


Hey, you’re leaving the country. They can’t sue you if they don’t know where you are. :wink:

Really though, is there anyone you could borrow money from? Family? Friends?

Or maybe you could “forget” to inform the unemployment agency that you’re planning to leave until just after your last month’s rent is due. Though, that might not be possible (or ethical, for that matter).

Well actually, I never really intended to tell (Howoge) that I was leaving. My ex-girlfriend has the 2nd key to the place and I was thinking of dropping off my keys in the post box and head on over to EasyJet.

…but somehow, Howoge new that I was planning to leave very shortly. How they found out, I do not know…but I think my ex-girlfriends parents had something to do with it.

Anyway, I told Howoge that I was thinking of leaving whenever I want and they said that then I would owe them a lot of money and that they would come looking for me and sue me.

About two months ago, my parents back in England had to apply for bankruptcy due to crdit card debts. I felt really shocked when I found out but I guess they had no choice. So there`s not really anyone I could borrow money from, not that I would want to anyway.

The problem with the unemployment agency, is that they are pretty much in bed with the school I was attending and the teachers all know that I’m leaving for England so I can be sure that the unemployment agency will find out sooner rather than later.

If I return to England, will they really come looking for me? And if they find me, what can they do? I don’t want to be a criminal…but I want to go home and be with my family and friends.

tell them your situation, the more you ignore them the worse it will get for you, work somthing out were you can leave and send payment.
it will suck having to pay for a apartment your not renting but if you dont want to be sued, or go to jail, or be a crimnal you will have to suck it up and do it.
first work it out for sending payments, then move back to home with family or friends, get a job, send payments.
bottom line is you have to take responciblity for signing, they did nothing wrong.
or you can put an ad in the paper and get a renter to replace you, most apartments allow this, and to get someone in their fast you could offer to help pay part of the rent, so you are not stuck paying the whole thing.

or you could just get a job and be a real man… :smiley:

Wu wrote

or you could just get a job and be a real man… :smiley:

Thanks for your help

Sorry it didn’t work out for you in Germany and with your girlfriend. I think it’s a smart decision moving back to the UK though. I hope you have success with that.

About the apartment, what would happen if you don’t pay them? Surely the worst they can do is evict you, which is what you want. That’s what happens to my dad anyway, he doesn’t pay enough on time so they send out an eviction notice telling you to get all your stuff out by a certain date and if not, they kick you out.

I don’t see how they could sue you if you have no income. I would just stay in the apartment but say to them well, if you want me to pay you then give me a freakin’ job already.

Alternatively, you could blow up your apartment and claim it was destroyed in an act of terrorism thus invalidating your contract.

Hi osxrules,

Nothing like going out with a bang it’s also a great way of destroying the evidence that I even exist :wink:

…I could fake my own death I suppose, that should invalidate my contract indefinitely.

Anyway, jokes aside? :-?

I think I will try my best to try and get the lease period shortened to a month. I should be able to afford another months rent if I sell a few things. I just don’t think it’s fair that (Howoge) can expect me to pay the rent when I don’t have an income. I know I signed a contract, but I did have a job at the time.

My situation has changed quite dramatically over the past 3 years.

PS: Thanks for still being one of the most understanding people I know. You’Ve never judged me wrong from the things that I’ve said and even to this day, you make me feel good about being me.

If there’s ever a time you feel that you don’t have a friend, just remember that you will always have a friend in me.



That’ll always be the dream :).

Sadly, people like them are so low, even a real death doesn’t stop them sometimes. I’ve read about loan companies harassing the families of people who have committed suicide because of the situation they’ve been driven too. It’s depressing to see how companies are so willing to value a credit payment more than someone’s life.

I think I will try my best to try and get the lease period shortened to a month. I should be able to afford another months rent if I sell a few things. I just don’t think it’s fair that (Howoge) can expect me to pay the rent when I don’t have an income. I know I signed a contract, but I did have a job at the time.

Do you think it would be possible to tell the benefits office that you decided to stay in Germany and find work so that they will pay your rent and then just leave without telling them? I bet the job centre would be easier to deal with.

You’Ve never judged me wrong from the things that I’ve said and even to this day, you make me feel good about being me.

If there’s ever a time you feel that you don’t have a friend, just remember that you will always have a friend in me.

Have you been watching Toy Story? j/k. I’m glad I could be of some use, it doesn’t happen often. I think out of all the people on Elysiun you are the one I share the most common ground with. I was worried that sometimes I was coming off as narcissistic instead of empathic but my intention was exactly as you figured, to try and make you feel better about yourself even though it seems like a lot of people you came across in Germany were doing the opposite.

Hopefully you will meet more helpful people in the UK and at the very least there won’t be the language barrier.

All the best my friend. :wink:

How does the contract look like? Is it in English? Do you know German? Do you get a resit every month?
How are they going to sue you if you don’t have money.
Even if you went outside the country they cant nothing. If they bring you to court they have to pay the court from their own pockets. Most likely they wont do anything.

Thanks again osxrules :wink:


I can understand German quite well. My German speaking is also ok apart from the occasional grammatical error :-?

I can read a lot of German, but not the kind of German that’s written in more complex things such as contracts etc…

A lot of the questions you have asked are the same questions I keep asking myself. Can they really do anything to me when I’m back in the UK? Of course they’re going to tell me that I can’t just leave and that they’re going to come searching for me…but what’s the real story?

I personally find it hard to believe that they’re going to search the UK looking for me for a breach of contract (of which I didn’t even understand when I signed it.) I could just say that I misunderstood the text or particular details of the contract became lost in translation.

Here’s my plan so far:

I’ll try and get a deal with Howoge to shorten the lease period to 1 month. That’s really all I can afford.

If they can’t accept that and threaten to sue me, I’ll make sure the next time they get in touch, that it will be via a long-distance phone call 8)

I’ll pack my things, close my German bank account, and be gone before the end of this month.

Howoge will receive the security deposit of 420 Euros (= 3x cold rent) & I will be home with my family and friends.

…I have an appointment to see them either tomorrow or Thursday so I guess it won’t be too long before I know what to do. I just don’t think it’s fair to make someone pay a rent for three months (that they can’t afford) on an apartment which they no longer want to live in.

I would much rather be with my family, than live somewhere I no longer wish to live, paying a rent that I can no longer afford. What am I suppose to do in Berlin for three months? I don’t even have friends here :-?

Yea, How the contract look like %| It looks like paper “a thin sheet” with writing on it “I think they use a type writer, a machine that makes letters to form a word” Then a person have to sign the contract with something called a signature which is a agreement that you must fellow. %|

Sadly, that one won’t wash but it’s not that relevant as there is a pretty straightforward solution.

The deposit which you paid is to cover the expenses incurred by a landlord when you leave in case:

  1. The property requires cleaning, redecorating, maintenance due to misuse.
    2: You are unable to pay your rent or leave without serving your notice.
    3: The notice period is not served and there will be an appreciable delay in finding a new tenant which will result in the property “not earning” an income.

So the questions you need to answer are:

  1. Is the property in comparable decorative condition with when you intially leased it.
  2. Are there any areas which would require, maintenance or renovation due to “misuse” during your tenancy.
  3. Is your rent currently paid in full and up to date.
  4. Would the deposit cover the rent for the period of notice required if you were unable to fulfill the lease.

If you can answer yes to 1 & 3 and no to 2 then things look pretty rosy so far.
Consider how much your deposit is and how much serving the notice period would set you back and make your decision based on that. If the notice period is covered by the deposit then post the keys and leave.
The issue of sueing you is simply to ensure that they gain the maximum amount of time generating income whilst they advertise for a new tenant.

Would they give you 3 months notice if they found a new tenant tomorrow?

The most fair way for you to proceed is to see if you can arrange to sublet the property for the remainder of your lease. (A friend or aquaintance) Or pass on the lease to another interested party. If you can organise a new tenant they may be more likely to waive the notice period in order to get a guaranteed and stable income.

The most logical way to proceed is to post the keys and head on out. Let them keep the deposit and you can go make friends with easyjet. The chances of them “coming looking for you” are virtually nil but even with the worst case (an highly unlikely) scenario that they do you are likely to be in a better financial position while residing in the UK.

Feel free to bat some ideas back and forwards, I will keep an eye on the thread and let’s see what comes up.

Take care,

Thanks for the constructive post chimp. It’s 3 a.m. here in Berlin while I write this post. I guess it’s hard to sleep with so much on my mind.

Still…I would much rather replay to your post then lie in bed staring at the ceiling.

  1. Is the property in comparable decorative condition with when you intially leased it.

Well…my ex-girlfriends dad kind of knocked a whole in the kitchen wall while attempting to fit a nail for my cork-pin board. Still not sure how extensive the damage is. The whle looks rather deep :expressionless:

…another thing, the people that live above me neglected the condition of their radiator. Over the perioud of about 24 hours, water came dripping from the ceiling. Gravity took it’s toll and a part of the ceiling collapsed.

I know I should have got it repaired ages ago but I never get around to DIY these days.

I guess there’s no need to start on the 2nd question so I’ll move on %|

  1. Is your rent currently paid in full and up to date.

Yes. I have already paid the rent for this month and I have never been late on payment before. I have no debts with Howoge or any other firm for that matter.

  1. Would the deposit cover the rent for the period of notice required if you were unable to fulfill the lease.

From what I’ve read & understood on the contract, the lease period is for 2 months, but the deposit contains 3 months of cold rent. Apparently though, the deposit has nothing to do with the rent. It’s just that the housing firms aren’t allowed to demand a deposit worth more than three times cold rent for that particular apartment.

Apparently in Germany, the deposit is only to ensure that the apartment is left in the same condition that it was previously in. It has nothing to do with the lease period, atleast that’s what they told me today.

Another thing that I noticed that bothered me is that in order to quite the apartment, I have to write down a forwarding address. All I get is spam in my post box and news papers that I can’t read. Besides this, I don’t really want this firm to know where I’ll be staying in the UK.

Do I have the right to with hold my home address?

Thanks again for the helping me out at these difficult times

Cool, the leaking radiator is not your concern. The landlord are responsible for that unless the tenant upstairs owns their property, in which case your landlord can make a claim against the upstairs tenants home insurance.

Hole in the kitchen wall…depending on the size you have 2 options.
If it’s a small hole stuff it with newspaper and then whack some plaster over it. Quick sand down and a spot of paint later and it’s good to go.
Larger hole? That’s a cut and paste job. Cut out a section of the plaster board that is slightly larger than the hole. Aim to uncover at least 2 struts…so at least 6 inches wide.
Cut a square of plasterboard to fit. No plasterboard? Bang in anything, cardboard will do at a push. Run a thin skiming of plaster over it and let it dry, sand, repeat, sand and then whack it with paint.

In both cases if you can’t get paint to match, just make sure that the plaster is well sanded and stick a poster over it :slight_smile:

If you are feeling generous, the same thing applies to the ceiling. Whack a bit of plasterboard up there and then a light skimming of plaster to cover the seams.

Ref. the lease:
Screw 'em. They’re getting an extra months rent on top of the two months lease for nothing. What they tell you and what the law dictates are probably two different things. They will very likely base their statement regarding the deposit on the fact that if you can’t afford the lease, then you can’t afford legal advice. Tell you what they want and then reap the rewards.

Quitting the apartment and leaving an address is pretty lame. They can’t enforce that one if you just dip the keys through the letterbox.

My other thought is the amount of stuff you would need to move out of there. If there’s not a lot to move then organise a flight and a B&B somewhere for the 2 nights before you leave. (In case they catch wind that you have booked a flight)

Carry on as normal and then pop the keys through the letterbox and spend 2 nights de-stressing before flying home.

I can sympathise as landlords are a pain in the ass when they decide to screw you over. My wife and I were ripped off by a landlord who didn’t return our deposit. 3 months later I got asked by an aquaintance to knock up some business cards for his new salesman as a favour. He sent me the details and it was none other than the dick who stiffed us on the rent. He was most pleased when the business cards came back from the printer with a nice watermark on them. His name <watermark>loves the cock</watermark>. Revenge is sweet.

I’m on an all-nighter tonight finishing some coding so feel free to bat the ball back :wink:


Just go. They will do whatever they can to keep your security deposit anyways.

Sorry to hear things did not work out.

and E420 for 3 months! I live in a 2 bedroom apt in a rural area, and it costs $715 a month! Thats like E600!

Let us know if things are going according to plan Solo.

Wondering how it’s working out.


Hi again Chimpoid,

Well in about half an hour I am going to Howoge to dicuss some terms with them. If I have to stay for the next 3 months…I’ll have to try and convince the unemployment agency to cover my rent for this period.

If the unemployment agency refuse to provide me with the financial support that I need…I’ll just pack up and go. I would rather be in debt with Howoge, as opposed to being in debt with my bank where it will be subject to interest. They don’t leave me with much choice.

I can’t even sell some of the stuff in the apartment to cover the costs because most of the things in the apartment belong to my ex-girlfriend.

I guess I will have to see how things progress over the next couple of days. Thanks for your continued concern.