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German Rent Control - a tool to significantly reduce your rent

Learn how you can use the rent control act to reduce your rent

  • The rent control act limits the maximum permissible rent amount
  • Your landlord must not ask for more than 10 % above local rent index
  • Check now whether the rent control act is applicable to your lease

The key facts about German rent control in brief

Rents ought to be affordable

The aim of German rent control is to keep rents affordable in areas where demand exceeds supply.

Limit at 10 % above rent index

In case of new leases the rent must not exceed the local rent index by more than 10 %. This is aimed at preventing excessive rents

Local rent index

The local reference rent ("ortsübliche Vergleichsmiete") is determined by a comprehensive set of various criteria. For that purpose, cities publish local rent indices that determine the local reference rent.

No repercussions for landlords

More than 70 % of all relet flats are too expensive. Only if tenants take action the rent control law is applicable. The law is not applicable in retrospective.

The wenigermiete.de rent calculator

Our rent calculator offers you the possibility to check immediately whether the rent control law is applicable to your tenancy. You just need the following information at hand:

  • Beginning date of your tenancy
  • Your present address
  • A couple information regarding your flat (living area, basic rent, paid security deposit, construction date of the building)

The provided information will be matched automatically with the current rent index of your city and the applicability of the rent control law.

Introduction of the rent control law
Berlin 06/01/2015
Munich 08/01/2015
Hamburg 07/01/2015
Stuttgart 11/01/2015
Dusseldorf 07/01/2015
Cologne 07/01/2015
Frankfurt 11/27/2015
FINANZTIP

„We perceive wenigermiete.de as fair and legitimate, the service is transparent and their T&Cs are consumer-friendly.“


Stiftung Warentest

„The rent control calculator of wenigermiete.de is for free and quickly usable.“

How the calculation works

  • 1. Determine rent-spread

    The rent-spread and the associated average can be derived from the rent index chart. Therefore, criteria such as readiness for occupancy, facilities and living area will be considered.

  • 2. Determine residential characteristics

    Based on various criteria your flat will be reviewed for characteristics that justify a rent above or below average. The following example of a flat in Berlin has two out of five positive characteristics. Hence the local reference rent is 40 %above the average rent-spread.

  • 3. Determine maximum rent

    The landlord is allowed to demand a rent which is 10 % above the local reference rent. The gap between your rent and the determined maximum rent is your savings potential.

Calculation of the local reference rent
rent-spread / m2 5,18 - 7,62 EUR
average 6,09 EUR
 
features of the flat + 20%
features of the building + 20%
features of the kitchen + 0%
features of the bathroom + 0%
quality of residential environment + 0%
spread classification + 40%
 
local reference rent (including 10% allowed rent increase) 7,37 EUR

example of a flat in Berlin - Wilmersdorf

The so called ”Mietpreisbremse“ is an act of parliament, applicable since June 2015 in most German States (except for Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Saarland, Sachsen und Sachsen-Anhalt). It states that landlords are not allowed to demand excessive rents and therefor rents are limited to the current rent index plus 10%. In case you are paying more than allowed, you can request the landlord to lower the rent – even during tenancy. Wenigermiete.de supports you in enforcing your rights – without hassle and cost risk.

The basic principle is simple: in case of a new lease agreement, landlords are only allowed to demand a rent equal to the local rent index plus 10%. If you realise that you are paying more rent than allowed after signing the lease agreement, you can request the landlord to lower the rent. From the time of the complaint forward you can reclaim the overcharged rent from the landlord.

The devil is in the details: the tenant has to “activate“ the rent control by issuing a so-called qualified complaint (qualifizierte Rüge). To be valid the complaint must be in line with some legal requirements and based on the current local rent index. But you don’t have to worry about that: wenigermiete.de is taking care of the qualified complaint for you.

Furthermore, landlords can try to invoke certain exceptions, arguing that the tenancy is not affected by the ”Mietpreisbremse“ – wenigermiete.de will verify those arguments for you (see next question).

Yes, in order to protect certain interests of the landlords. In the following cases rent control is not applicable:

1) Newly constructed buildings that were first rented after October 1st 2014.

2) First occupancy after comprehensive modernisation (“umfassende Modernisierung”). Note: to qualify as comprehensive modernisation an amount equal to at least one third of the cost of a comparable newly constructed building has to be invested. Just installing new windows or a new kitchen is therefore not sufficient. Many landlords try to invoke this exception but fail to provide proper. Wenigermiete.de enforces tenants’ respective information claims.

3) In case previous tenants already payed a rent in excess of the local rent index the landlord is allowed to demand the same rent from a new tenant. Note: prior rents are only relevant if the former tenant moved in before applicable deadline regarding the introduction of the “Mietpreisbremse” andif the previous rent was not otherwise violating the law. You don’t have to research that, wenigermiete.de is taking care of that, too.

No. Landlords are required by law to provide information of previous rents and modernisation measures. Wenigermiete.de will enforce you information claims for you. You don’t have to take care of that.

No, first the tenant has to activate the “Mietpreisbremse” issuing a a qualified complaint to the landlord. Only from that point of time onwards the overcharged rent can be reclaimed by the tenant. That’s why it is so important that you act quickly and mandate wenigermiete.de before the end of the calender month.

Yes. Your landlord is allowed to charge a reasonable extra amount for the furniture, but he has to justify the charged amount by disclosing the furniture costs. So he cannot charge 100 € extra a month by putting in two old shelves from Ikea.

Don’t worry. Just fill out the questionnaire applying with your best knowledge. You are not a real estate expert and you don’t have to be. It’s sufficient if the statements are plausible for you. Most important are correct statements regarding net rent (without service charges), area of the flat, address and year of construction.

Step 1: Within 3 minutes you calculate your savings potential – with our free online rent calculator. The result will be more reliable when you type in as accurate as possible information.

Step 2: By mouse click you instruct wenigermiete.de to enforce the reduction of your rent.

Step 3: Lean back and relax. We will now contact your landlord and claim your right in a friendly and professional manner. As soon as we are successful you simply pay less rent. We will inform you.

When you engage us to lower your rent you only have to send us a copy of your lease agreement (e.g., via E-Mail) and a send us a signed copy of your engagement confirmation via mail, because some landlords demand to see the original mandate.

We enforce your right by issuing a qualified complaint vis-à-vis your landlord. In that complaint we inform then landlord abou the potential violation of the rent control act and ask the landlord to agree to a reduced rent. Furthermore, we ask for disclosure of information regarding potential exceptions (see question regarding exceptions of the “Mietpreisbremse”).

No, we simply try to enforce your rights.

Background information: We – Frederik Gärtner and Daniel Halmer – are certified lawyers. Mietright GmbH – the company behind the platform wenigermiete.de – is not a law firm but a legal services company and therefore not allowed to give legal advice. In case you wish to seek legal advice which goes beyond enforcing your rights, we gladly connect you with one of our contract lawyers.

If the landlord shows no signs of reaction or doesn’t fulfil the claims within a given deadline, he will receive a reminder. During any phase within the process we try to find an agreement between you and your landlord.

We only receive a compensation if we are able to successfully lower your rent. If we are not successful, for whatever reason, the service is completely free. In case of a successful reduction of your rent we receive the rental savings for four months (incl. VAT). But you don’t have to pay us anything. We receive the amount from your landlord because we offset your refund claim with our compensation.

We are.

Yes, for sure.

When you engage us to lower your rent you only have to send us a copy of your lease agreement (gladly via e-mail) and a signed confirmation of engagenment via mail, because some landlords demand to see the original mandate.

And then: lean back and relax.

No, the landlord is not able to terminate the lease agreement just because you enforce your rights with respect to the “Mietpreisbremse” or engage us. Moreover, he is not allowed to pressurize you in any way. It is crucial that you keep paying your full rent in time and that don’t otherwise violate your lease agreement (e.g. not keeping an unannounced pat or subletting a room without permission).

Most landlords respond in a neutral and reasonable way. In many the property management company is handling the case. Some landlords call in a lawyer. Which is good, because it helps to keep the process professional.

You know your landlord better than we do and should think about that with care. That said, please note the following:

1) - At any given point during the process we act in a professional and friendly manner and are open for an agreement between you and your landlord.

2) - It’s not you who violate the law – it’s your landlord who might act in violation of the law.

3) - Many of our customers calculated savings potentials of a couple of thousand EUR per year. Even if you are a peaceful person it could be worth enforcing your rights in light of the specific EUR amount in question.

In the end it’s you who has to make the decision.

Absolutely. From a legal point-of-view you can activate the “Mietpreisbremse” even if you knew already that the rent is too high when you signed the lease agreement. If you ask your landlord about the rent control upfront you end up not getting getting the flat at all.

Yes, we created our online rent calculator on the basis of the qualified local rent index. On average tenants calculated a monthly savings potential of more than EUR 200. If your savings potential is much higher it might be due to modernisation measures of your landlord. He is allowed to forward a certain fraction of those costs to the tenant – but he has to provide proper evidence of such costs.

The length of the process mainly depends on the reaction of the landlord. Some act right away, others take their time. Basically we try to handle the process as fast as possible, without putting too much pressure on the landlord. That’s why we set appropriate deadlines. Usually we are able to achieve an agreement within two to three months. If the case is brought to court it may take considerably longer.

Of course. If you seek to find an agreement between you and your landlord – which we recommend – you can record online a specific rent stating the maximum amount you would be willing to pay. If the landlord does not react in time on all claims, we give him the opportunity within a reminder to propose a settlement offer. For that specific case we created an online-agreement-tool which helps the landlord to comprehend the calculation of the max. allowed rent and give him the opportunity to propose a settlement offer from his side.

Yes. If no out of court settlement seems possible and we assess the case as promising, we are going to bring the case to court. Of course we carry all related costs.

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