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10 steps to help you prevent a rent increase in Germany

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Many tenants swallow a rent increase and pay the higher price. But you can also defend yourself against it, because the landlords are not always right. Find out how you can prevent a rent increase.

A lot of rent increases in Germany are deemed illegal! Read below for tips on how you can tell that your rent increase is not legal and what you can do to prevent a rent increase.

prevent a rent increase

What should you do if a rent increase is announced?

First of all, keep calm and check carefully. After receiving the letter, you have at least two months plus the days until the end of the month (reflection period).

▶ ︎ Example: You receive a rent increase based on the rent index on April 4th or 15th. In both cases, you should have responded by June 30th.

If the rent increase is not legal, you can file an objection. If the landlord does not agree, he must sue. Under no circumstances should he pull you out of the door about it.

A lot of tenants do nothing at first and ignore the letter. Three months later you suddenly have an invitation to the district court in your mailbox. Unfortunately, they then panic and sign everything unchecked.

★ Attention: If your landlord wins in court, you have to pay the rent increase retrospectively in addition to the procedural costs.


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10 steps you should take to prevent a rent increase

1. Check the rent increase letter for any formal errors 

The letter must be addressed to you and all tenants in the rental agreement and contain a reason.

2. Go and look at the current rent index: 

An apartment must not be much more expensive than the neighboring apartment. In addition to the location, the size, the year of construction and the equipment are also included. You can find your comparative rent in the local rent index.

The large housing associations in particular often claim a questionable rent index value. Features that improve the quality of the home are also often claimed that do not even exist, for example high-quality tiles.

3. Verify the comparative apartment used as a basis for the rent increase 

Your landlord can only use three comparative apartments as a justification if there is no qualified rent index. But they must be verifiable by the tenant.

prevent a rent increase

4. Measure and verify the actual size of your apartment 

Have you ever measured your home? Often times, the number of square meters does not match the rental agreement and you can adjust the rent accordingly.

5. Find out if the increase is associated with modernization

Your landlord must announce the measures and the associated increase. These costs cannot be passed on to your rent if, for example, you are facing an exceptional economic hardship.

6. Find out if the increase only relates to maintenance costs 

Check whether the modernization is not perhaps a matter of maintenance, such as the replacement of equivalent wash basins. Only if you have a real advantage, such as installing a bathtub for the first time, could it actually be a question of modernization.

7. Check the deadline for the last rent increase

The rent may be increased one year after the start of the rental or the last increase. Plus the consideration period, the rent may only increase after 15 months.

prevent a rent increase

8. Verify the cap limit

A landlord may not increase by 20 percent within three years, in tense markets not by 15 percent. It has to stay below the rent index.

9. Graduated or index rent – check to see if the rent increase is on or below expected limits

A graduated lease specifies in advance how the rent will increase at a certain point in time. With the index contract, the rent adapts to the inflation rate every year. In both cases, the landlord may not go beyond this.

10. Check to see if the increase is above the rent brake

In the event of a new rental, the rent must not be higher than 10 percent above the local rent index (except for new buildings after October 2014).

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