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Terminating a lease These notice periods apply to both tenants and landlords
The answer can be found in the German Civil Code (BGB) in sections 573 and 574 and their subparagraphs. According to this, a tenant can always sign an open-ended lease with a Time limit of three months Announce. The period of notice to be observed by the landlord, on the other hand, depends on how long the tenancy has existed.
terminate the rental agreement: For landlords, the period of notice increases with the duration of the tenancy
Up to a rental period of five years, a notice period of three months also applies to the landlord. If the tenant had rented the apartment or the house between five and eight years, its owner can terminate him according to paragraph 573c BGB with a notice period of six months. If the tenancy agreement existed for at least eight years, a notice period of nine months applies.
Contracts concluded before 2001 often provide for a notice period of twelve months from the tenth year of the tenancy relationship onwards. This still applies to the landlord.
In order to be on time, the notice of termination must be given to the other party to the contract by the 3rd day after the end of the notice period. working day of a month. So, for example, if it is not paid by 3. If the letter is posted in the landlord’s or tenant’s mailbox on April 30, the tenancy ends on May 30. June – the end of the third month following receipt of the notice.
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No rule without exception
Since German tenancy law provides special protection for tenants, notice periods that deviate from those in Section 573c apply in individual cases. For example, in certain cities and municipalities, purchasers of a rented condominium can only terminate the lease after a lock-up period. This varies depending on the federal state. In most cases it is three years. In metropolitan areas such as Munich or Berlin, however, tenants enjoy special protection against termination for as long as ten years.
To protect tenants, the BGB also shortens the notice period that they must observe if their landlord announces extensive modernization of their property (Section 555e BGB) or wants to increase the rent (Section 561 BGB). Tenants can then give notice of termination until the end of the second month after receipt of the rent increase demand or the announcement of the modernization with effect from the end of the month after next. So if they receive the relevant letter, for example, on 2. May, they can be notified by 31. July terminate their lease with effect from 30. September terminate.
This special right of termination offers tenants two advantages: On the one hand, the rent increase does not take effect. On the other hand, it also applies to tenants who have waived their ordinary right of termination in their rental agreement.
Regulations that deviate from the notice periods in Section 573c also apply to sublet apartments and rooms as well as apartments in houses in which the landlord himself also resides.
Only a written notice of termination sets the deadline in motion
In any case, the notice period does not begin to run until the other party has received a written notice of termination. Section 568 of the German Civil Code makes the written form mandatory. Neither tenants nor landlords can therefore give notice by e-mail, fax or verbally. The notice must also be signed by all tenants who also signed the lease agreement. The letter of termination must also unambiguously express which apartment is being terminated and on what date. If several landlords have signed the rental agreement, the notice must also be addressed to all landlords.
Landlords must give reasons for their termination
While tenants can terminate the tenancy without stating a reason, the landlord can only terminate it "if he has a justified interest in terminating the tenancy," according to Section 573 BGB. The notice period therefore also only begins to run when tenants receive a perfectly justified notice of termination.
Section 573 of the German Civil Code (BGB) regulates the reasons landlords can invoke in their letter of termination. According to this, only personal need, a massive violation of contractual obligations by the tenant or the reference to the fact that the landlord is prevented "by the continuation of the tenancy from an appropriate economic exploitation" of the property and thus suffers "significant disadvantages" are considered. However, the latter may neither terminate an apartment in order to be able to conclude a new rental agreement with higher rent. Landlords are still allowed to give notice of termination in order to be able to sell the property more easily as a condominium or single-family home.
Anyone who disregards contractual obligations must expect termination without notice
While the landlord must adhere to the notice periods of Section 573c in the case of ordinary termination for personal use or for the purpose of better economic exploitation of his property, he may give extraordinary notice of termination to a tenant without notice if the latter substantially breaches his obligations under the lease agreement.
This is the case, for example, if the tenant is in arrears with more than two months’ rent in total. So it regulates the paragraphs 543 and 569 BGB. It depends on the total outstanding amount. This does not always have to arise from the fact that the tenant has not paid his rent on time twice in a row. The arrears can also result from an outstanding rent and a delinquent payment of additional costs (LINK).
Even those who insult or harass other tenants or constantly make noise and thereby severely disturb the peace of the house are in serious breach of their obligations under the lease agreement. This is also the case if you sublet your apartment without permission or run a business there without the permission of your landlord.
In these cases, however, the landlord must first warn his tenant and give him a deadline within which he must change his behavior. According to Section 543 of the German Civil Code, this requirement does not apply only if the tenant is in arrears with the payment of his rent, a warning with a deadline does not promise success, or both sides have an interest in immediate notice of termination.
Just because the landlord does not have to observe a notice period in these cases, the tenant does not have to move out immediately. The landlord must give him at least one week to vacate the apartment. In addition, as with any other termination under Section 568 of the German Civil Code (BGB), the landlord should inform the tenant of the right to object to the termination under Sections 574 and 574b of the German Civil Code (BGB). A court will then decide on this as well as on a possible action for eviction by the landlord. Until its ruling, the tenant can remain in the apartment, so that the termination of a lease by the landlord without notice is a conflict-prone special case of the deadline provisions in tenancy law.
When tenants may terminate without notice
According to Section 543 of the German Civil Code (BGB), the tenant also has the option of giving extraordinary notice of termination of an apartment without observing a period of notice. He can, for example, if the landlord has violated his contractual obligations, for example, by entering the apartment without permission or cheating on the service charge bill. Tenants may also terminate their lease without notice if they are unable to use the apartment in accordance with the contract due to the landlord’s fault. This is the case if the property is in a condition that endangers health and is, for example, hopelessly infested with mold, during the heating season the heating fails for a long time (Kammergericht Berlin-Brandenburg Az. 8 U 209/07, 28.4.2008) or it turns out that the actual living space is at least ten percent smaller than that specified in the lease (Federal Court of Justice Az. VIII ZR 142/08, 29.4.2009).