PCS season is in full roll right now, and this page is hit daily with horror stories of Moving out problems.
A lot of these issues can be prevented if you take the time at contract signing and handover of the key day, before you even move in!
- I know a lot of people feel pressured in signing a lease, because they are afraid they won’t find nothing. But don’t just sign the first lease your shown. Use your time wisely and look at as many places you can, you may also look into renting a car to do so, if you have nobody to take you.
If your running out of time, consider if you want to move on base or look some more and pay your own room and board.
- You may even want to look into a furnished apartment, many rent them out in the area for vacationers (Ferienwohnung)
- You are even allowed to hold your HHG delivery for a certain time (check with your delivery guys).
So take the time you need, if you feel off about the LL, if he makes you feel like he is not understanding your concerns, don’t sign the lease
With the new law about realtor fees, many think, that means they no longer have to pay it, or the LL can’t hire one.
That’s a misconception, the law only states whoever party hires the realtor, has to pay for it.
So a LL can still use it, you just don’t have to pay it.
It also means when you tell a realtor to help you find a house, that you have to pay for that service, verbal contracts are also binding.
Avoid places with a finders fee, it’s just a way around getting a payday out of you, by calling it finders fee instead of realtors fee.
Often, when you look at a place and tenants are still in it, see if you can get info about the LL from them, was there issues?
A house that looks like it needs repairs, won’t be repaired, just because you move in; if the LL did not keep up with maintenance while the other renters where in, why would he with you?
Check the heating system, do you want to deal with oil, filling and ordering?
Once you decide on a house, and your ready to sign the lease, do a proper walkthrough with a walkthrough sheet, note all damages, issues and take pictures!
Take pictures of all the meters, water, power and alike.
Read your contract!!! I can’t repeat that enough, there are different versions.
Some may include “Schönheitsreperaturen” that means you pay for the repainting and all that fun stuff by default.
If Gardenusage is in the contract, it also means you have to care for the plants, not just let them die.
My best advice is take it to legal and have them properly translate it all.
Now would also be the time to look into joining the renters association, since they can’t help you unless you been a member for like 6 month.
Be aware that a German LL has up to 6 month (in rare cases a year) to return your deposit.
Please plan accordingly. If you borrowed the deposit, make sure you can pay it back late or save up the money to return it on time.
Also be sure you have a way for the LL to wire you the money.
Most banks have international routing numbers.
When it’s time to move out, if there is repainting to be done or minor damages, the easiest way is to fix them yourself before the walkthrough.
Even on stuff that is bigger, get yourself an estimate, before you do the final walkthrough.
Normal wear and tear, does not include kids art on walls, pet damages or stains, mold stains caused by inadequate heating during the winter, tears, rips or holes in walls and or doors.
Note all counter and meter numbers and take pictures.
More often then not, if the stuff is fixed and the place clean, your LL will be a happy LL.
Just think yourself, how you would feel if you walked through your house and the people that lived in it, seemed to not care at all how they treated your property.
Once you do the end of the lease walkthrough, again with the sheet and camera (be sure to have the sheet handy from the first walk though) and there is stuff that needs fixing and you feel like your LL is trying to rip you off, you HAVE the right to get your own estimate done.
Once all damages are covered, the keys are returned and he signed off on the walkthrough, he cannot add stuff. Also remember, most damages are covered by your renters insurance.
The only way he can, is if he can prove you purposely hid stuff ( like you wallpapered over a hole in the wall ).
Now you think it’s time for the deposit. Nope, not at all…sadly most utility places here deal with “pay up front and we will figure out the difference in the end”, systems. So the end of the year bills usually don’t come when you move out.
That’s why your LL can hold on to the deposit if he worries you owe on utilities.
In the end the deposit has to be returned (with interest).
If the LL kept part of it, he has to supply you with an itemized bill and receipts (for utilities).
I hope this can prevent some of the big issues.
Happy house hunting
For those that only need the Rental Inspection Check List, for their walkthrough, I added it in. The Form is in English and German so both parties can read and understand it, it should be filled out when doing the walkthrough before the move in and accompanied by plenty pictures.
Both Parties should sign it after checking it and keep a copy in their records!
Download Link For the Rental Inspection Checklist:
*For personal use only