Renting out your property in Germany

Tenancy Agreements
  • In general, a distinction is made between fixed-term (befristet) and open-ended (unbefristet) tenancy agreements, but open-ended agreements are standard in Germany.
  • In principle, tenants with an open-ended tenancy agreement can always end the tenancy by giving 3 months’ notice. The length of the tenancy is irrelevant.
  • A landlord can use a standard lease agreement template. Within the lease agreement, there is a waiver for the right of terminating the agreement for a maximum of 4 years. (Original: A landlord can use a standard lease agreement template with a waiver of the termination right for a maximum of 4 years.)
  • A deposit is agreed in the tenancy agreement. The maximum deposit permitted is three months’ rent. Upon termination of agreement, the landlord must pay back the deposit plus the interest accrued in the meantime. The interest rate has to be consistent with market rates for savings.

What Costs Are Transferable and Non-transferable to The Tenant?

Transferable Costs Common charges which are transferable to the tenant include:

Water supply; Sewage and waste disposal; Heating costs (if central heating); Operation of a lift; Street, building and chimney cleaning; Disinfestation; Garden maintenance; Lighting and electricity; Property and liability insurance; Concierge; Common antenna installation; Use of laundry equipment; Various running costs as per BetrKV; Small repairs of up to EUR 100

The highest administrative court (BGH) has found that landlords cannot charge tenants excessive amounts for renovations. It is stated that apartments which had been rented out with “neutral decoration” should be given back in the same condition.

Non-transferable – Property tax. This has to be paid to the tax office and cannot be included in the rent.

Want to know more about the property taxes involed in German real estate?