Rent Reduction: This is how tenants proceed properly

Berlin – Broken heating, leaking windows, construction noise – there are many things that can make life difficult for tenants. If the landlord does not respond, a rent reduction can remedy the situation. For tenants, there is a lot to consider: how and when is this, what is allowed, how much money is involved? Answers to important questions:

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Picture: Code Image: © Viorika / / Text: dpa / tmn

Reduce the rent: What are the reasons?

In general, a usability restricting lack of the apartment must be given. “The tenant can not use the apartment as he pleases and as he may expect under the lease,” Ulrich Ropertz from the German Tenants’ Association (DMB) summarizes in Berlin. The classic rental causes include leaking windows, broken heating in the cold season and mold in the home as well as noise from neighbors and construction noise.

But even unusual things, such as prostitution in the tenement, dog feces in the staircase, pest infestation or cracking radiators, can cause tenants to transfer less money to their landlord. The range of reasons is as colorful and extensive as the list of judgments. The tenants ‘association has just listed 500 judges’ verdicts.

How is it reduced properly?

This is done in two steps: First step: The tenant informs the owner quickly about the defect and sets a deadline for removal. This can happen over the phone, by e-mail or letter. Problem is proof: If the going gets tough, the landlord could claim that he never got the info. On the other hand “fax or throw-registered letter is court-proof” says Mietrechtsanwalt Marcus Reidel from Munich. Second step: the actual rent reduction. It is not separately announced and takes place retroactively, if the landlord remains inactive.

What are the deadlines for remedying defects?

The period depends essentially on the impairment. A cold heating in winter requires immediate relief. “He also has to set up an emergency service at the weekend,” says tenant lawyer Inka-Marie Storm of the owner association Haus & Grund Germany. The same applies to frozen pipes. Mold should be gone after two weeks, says lawyer Reidel. Simply instructing a craftsman within this period is not enough.

How much can be canceled?

In extreme conditions – black mold in the whole apartment, for example – it can be up to 100 percent. Otherwise, it depends on the individual case. The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) sees the tenant in the obligation to estimate the quota itself. Evidence can be derived from court judgments.

Broken bell: 3-5 percent, cracking heating, hot water temperature below 40 degrees Celsius, lack of hot water supply, nuisance caused by foul-smelling mist of the laundry dryer: 10 percent. All windows leaking (summer and winter) and the resulting constant humidity: 50 percent. Noise due to construction work in the house: up to 60 percent. Only toilet not usable: 80 percent. Failure of heating in winter: up to 100 percent, otherwise about 50 percent. Heating only creates temperature between 15 and 19 degrees, depending on space and season: up to 30 percent.

The setting of the quota harbors much conflict with the experience of Inka-Marie Storm. It therefore recommends that both sides find an amicable settlement instead of complaining. In court, the burden of proof lies with the plaintiff. Tenants who mistakenly reduce too much, may not be automatically terminated the apartment.

How is it calculated?

After a BGH judgment, only the monthly rent can be reduced, the additional costs are not. Nevertheless, the gross rent forms the basis of the calculation: For a rent of 500 euros plus 100 additional costs, a rent reduction of 10 percent would be calculated on the basis of the total of 600 euros. As a result, 60 euros will be deducted from the 500 euros in rent; the landlord receives only 440 euros plus the untapped 100 euros charges. According to DMB, the rent may only be reduced for the period in which the defect existed. If it is ten days a month, only the ten days can be calculated.

When cannot be reduced?

It does not work if a tenant has taken over the apartment in the knowledge of the defect – so he already knew at the conclusion of the lease that the windows rattle. And it is not in the tenant’s own fault or in trivia, for example, a broken light bulb.

The landlord is well advised to advise prospective tenants on damage in order to prevent later complaints including imminent rent reduction. If he admits the elimination of a defect in the move, this is contractually recorded. If he ignores his commitment, the right of rent reduction applies.


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The Greek debt

There is almost no talk of Greece and when it is almost always done it is about the refugees. The debt has gone into the background. Now the important thing is Venezuela ; that is where the Spanish elections will be decided.

But today I remembered Greece. And of your debt .

It turns out that Greece’s debt, in absolute terms, is approximately one third of that of Spain and about six times less than that of Germany! It turns out that in the last two years the Greek debt has decreased . Little, with the help of the European institutions and everything you want. But it has decreased.

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Alexis Tsipras

Even so, the Greek risk premium exceeds 700 basis points. That is, it is subject to conditions (more than 8% interest for a debt that almost doubles its GDP) that make it almost impossible to pay . And all that because the Greeks are bad and they chose a stinking party like Syriza. It does not matter that the debt was generated when good parties governed.

Spain is almost the opposite case . Here in 2011 we chose well . Since then the debt has increased almost 50% and already exceeds 100% of GDP. But although in the first half of 2012 the risk premium shot up to over 600 basis points, the markets soon understood that we were going to be good and they placed us at a very reasonable one hundred and a few points. We can maintain an uncontrolled deficit and continue to borrow. Moreover, those fines that are foreseen if the deficit is breached are postponed until after the June elections .

If the Spaniards happen to vote badly , vote for one of the plagued parties, there will be a fine, the risk premium will skyrocket and there will be no way to pay that debt that was generated in times when good parties governed. And the winner, if he manages to form a government, will have to be docile. May he learn from Tsipras!

It’s what low interest rates have . It seems that it does not matter to get into debt. But they are only low while governing who has to govern .

Or had we believed that the markets are stupid ?

The debt and the risk premium are excellent control mechanisms .

So let’s see who we vote for! Let’s vote well. In another case, the threat is clear .



  1. >

    Please, enough of manipulation, the debt is never measured in absolute terms but in relative terms to the GDP or, more importantly, in the capacity of the country to pay it. On the other hand, Greece does not borrow at 8%, but at 1%, which is the interest that the European institutions ask of Greece for the recapture money, which if the inflation is subtracted from sales, the European countries that help Greece lending you your money, you lose part of it by doing it.

    May 30, 2016 | 12:32

  2. >

    My mother … often post disaster.

    The Greek debt is 176.90% OF ITS GDP at the end of 2015, effectively falling from 180% that was at the end of 2014. That is, they must almost 2 TIMES WHAT THEY PRODUCE each year. Spanish debt is 100.51% of GDP.

    Obviously, in absolute terms, the debt of Spain (or Germany, or UK, or the United States, or Russia) will always be greater than that of a country with an economy as weak as Greece … BECAUSE Spain’s GDP is more than 6 TIMES THE GREECE! I find it incredible that someone can write a message as misinformed and ignorant as this. What matters is not the absolute amount, it is the ability of each country to repay its debt!

    If a person has a salary of € 6000 per month, and he owes € 6000 to the bank, will he tell me that he is worse off than a person who charges € 1000 per month and owes € 3000 to the bank? Please…

    The reason why Greece is still so much risk and is in such a bad situation, is because at the end of 2015, they UPLOADED their DEFICIT up to 7.20% !! That is, the difference between what they spent and what they spent increased from 3.6% to 7.20% of GDP … which predicts a very black future because, they do, they have the deficit out of control.

    In contrast Spain, which in 2012 came to have a deficit of 10.40% of GDP, has been falling steadily year after year, and at the end of 2015 is already 5.08% (ie, half), and continues to decline. It is still above the target set by Europe, but steadily falling that is the important … nothing “uncontrolled” as you say (I do not know where it comes from).

    So the Spanish debt, although it has continued to increase a bit because the alternative was to make more cuts (while there is a debt deficit will continue to increase), it is increasing more slowly, partly because the difference between expenses and income is getting smaller, and partly because Spain’s GDP continues to grow. If in 2-3 years we eliminate the deficit completely and have a surplus, we will stop accumulating debt completely, so it will begin to fall much faster. And yes, of course it can be returned. More I would like Greece to be in that situation!

    In short, the risk premium and similar indicators increase or decrease depending on the expectations that the country in question can clean up its economy, lower unemployment and return to positive numbers. Not depending on whether they govern “good” or “bad”, nor on the recommendations made by four politicians dressed as European officials.

    Spain, although more slowly than I should in my opinion, is doing exactly that, and that’s why markets now trust Spain and invest money here.

    However, in Greece, a government arrived that said it would make matters worse (spend even more money, increase the deficit more, not repay the debt …) which obviously nobody in their right mind wanted to invest there, and the people took their money out of the country. Nobody wants to lend money to someone who says openly that the same does not return it.

    In the end the thing became so dodgy that they had to back off and do more or less what common sense dictated … but they have only done it half-heartedly, their public spending is still rampant, and there are many doubts about what is going to happen because It is clear that they will keep this course for a long time or that Syriza will continue in the government.

    If you do not understand how basic issues of economy such as public debt or deficit work, nothing happens! Nobody is born learned and that’s what the internet is for. But please, at least be prudent not to take economics lessons in a newspaper blog, as if you knew what you are talking about.

    May 30, 2016 | 13:05

  3. >

    Alejandro Soto: I do not try to manipulate, but I do not like that we do “cheating in solitaire”. When I speak of the absolute value dimension of the Greek debt I want to see that it was a problem that with a European perspective could have been solved long ago. But in reality it is being used to warn other countries of what can not be done (“experiments with soda” as Eugenio D’Ors said).
    And the truth is that while the Greek debt has been reduced, the Spanish debt has increased.
    Víctor: I’m not a professor of economics, but this is a comment from someone about what they see happening. Regarding absolute values ​​and percentages of GDP, I refer to the previous paragraph. Grace is part of Europe and as a European problem the debt of Greece is much smaller than that of Spain or Germany. Not so if each country is on its own, of course!

    May 30, 2016 | 14:54

  4. >

    > Grace is part of Europe and as a European problem the debt of Greece is much lower than that of Spain or Germany

    But you do not understand that the amount owed is the least relevant of all. The problem is not putting money to compensate for what Greece owes (that’s already done, that’s why they owe what they owe). The problem is that in order to be given more money, there must be guarantees that the situation will be corrected. Because if not, to lend them more money is like throwing it for the WC, in two days they will be the same again.

    If a person is constantly spending more money than he has and tells you that he will continue to do so, lending him money to cancel his current debt does not solve anything because in a few months everything will be the same again, and you will have lost the money you lent him. But if you condition the loan so that that person adjusts his expenses and his income so that they square and stop spending more than what he earns, then you will have solved the problem.

    As long as there are guarantees, the absolute amounts can be as high as you want, and nothing happens, because they will simply become longer-term payments. Luckily Europe is so big that among all you can face very large rescues.

    But if there are no guarantees, it does not matter if they are 10,000 or 100,000 million, because no country can afford to lend so much money and not receive it back! That is the real problem, and not the absolute quantities.

    > When I speak of the absolute value dimension of the Greek debt, I want it to be seen that it was a problem that, with a European perspective, could have been resolved a long time ago.

    And what is that solution according to you? Forgive all the money they owe without more? That is to say, discount for example of the income of Spain the 30,000 million that Greece owes us? We stop paying salaries to lots of officials (doctors, teachers, police, etc.) just because? Can you explain why Spain should make many more cuts, simply because Greece does not want to make its own? And what does that solve if Greece also does not adjust its budgets and returns to be the same in 4 years?

    Greece needs more borrowed money, and Europe lends it to 1% which are unbeatable conditions. But as with any country, there is a requirement: that they take measures so that the deficit is going down, and therefore they need less and less money, no more … because if the deficit continues to increase, they would enter a spiral without control in the that all the money borrowed would be insufficient and sooner or later they would be in suspension of payments. And then you would not have a country in crisis (Greece), if not many countries that would have lost all the money borrowed and now would be in an even bigger crisis.

    May 30, 2016 | 15:35

  5. >

    I write to this gentleman who would ask if he would be willing to give me a loan and when he asked me what I wanted him to tell him that it is to continue spending, not to cut back and that I even consider the possibility of making a deduction to what he lends me and return less money because I am a communist Bolivarian podemita I leave the base that those who lend money are criminals and those who receive it are good, surely in these conditions if I borrow some money that I doubt would require me not 700% more interest than what is normal in the market but maybe 10 times more, because it is very nice to be supportive of money that is not yours, something normal among the leftist collective.

    May 30, 2016 | 16:03

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