Tenant Limit: Minor Repairs: What You Need to Know




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If something in the apartment breaks down, the question is in the room: is it now expensive? There are clear rules in the tenancy law for minor repairs. Tenants must prevent major damage.


It's the little annoyances of everyday life: The tap dripping, the window can not close properly, the bell on the door is broken. Who is responsible for repairing such things in a rented apartment? And where is the border between a small repair and normal maintenance?

What is a minor repair?

For the ongoing maintenance of the rented apartment is in principle the landlord responsible. The renter must inform him about defects or defects. Then the landlord has to take care of the immediate removal or repair. "Smaller maintenance can be contractually imposed on the tenant," says Siegmund Chychla, chairman of the tenants' association to Hamburg.

However, not every small repair must be passed on to the tenant. "Only repairs to objects to which the tenant has frequent and direct access, such as a dripping faucet, a broken light switch or a broken toilet flush," says Gerold Happ of the owners' association Haus & Grund Germany. And there are upper limits to the cost of minor repairs.

How expensive may minor repairs be?

"That is not exactly regulated," explains Beate Heilmann from the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Mietrecht and real estate in the German Bar Association. The case law did not agree on a uniform amount. "One rule of thumb is that tenants will not spend more than a month's rent on minor repairs over one year, and a single repair may not be much more expensive than $ 100."

What are these sums in this particular case? , is in the lease. "If the costs are higher than this upper limit, then the tenant has to pay nothing," adds Happ. In this case, the landlord bears the entire repair costs alone. Clauses according to which tenants are to pay partial amounts up to the maximum limit of approximately 100 euros are ineffective.

What if the landlord demands the payment of a repair?

Tenants should Do not settle the bill without an exam. "Because the repairs are basically to be paid by the landlord, the tenant should first ask what the landlord supports his claim," advises Chychla.

If the landlord then refers to a small repair clause in the lease, must be checked the scheme is effective or not. "In our experience, these clauses are invalid in nearly all leases signed up to the end of the 1980s."

When are minor repair clauses void?

Always then, if they unduly penalize the tenants. "For example, things are often billed to which the tenant has no direct and regular access," said Chychla. Or it is demanded that the tenant must repair the thing itself, with all consequences of the guarantee. Or the maximum limit for minor repairs is significantly exceeded.

Also ineffective are agreements that oblige the tenant to participate in all repairs with a certain amount. "In such cases, the invalid clauses are void, and the renter does not have to pay anything," Chychla explains.

Who must hire the craftsman?

Order Craftsman must basically give the landlord. A contract clause that should oblige the tenant to do so would also be ineffective.

As a tenant, is it advisable to do minor repairs yourself?

"Basically, it's not recommended that the small repairs are made by the tenants, "says Chychla. In many cases, it already lacking in the expertise. In addition, the renter comes to the landlord in warranty for the proper execution of the repair at a reasonable cost. "A clause that obliges tenants to carry out repairs is ineffective anyway."

When do tenants necessarily have to become active?

"The tenant is required to take all measures to prevent major damage, "says Gerold Happ. Not only does the faucet drip, but the water gushes out in large quantities, it must close the main tap. After that, it is sufficient if he informs the landlord, who in turn assigns a craftsman or the emergency service. If he does not reach the landlord, the tenant can immediately commission the repair in an emergency situation.

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