Notice of termination

A notice of termination is a means of terminating the contract. Unlike a termination agreement, a notice of termination is a unilateral termination of the lease agreement at the deadlines agreed in the lease agreement. It should be noted at this point that once a notice of termination has been given, it cannot be withdrawn. Once declared, the contract is terminated upon receipt of the notice of termination and expiration of the Notice period to the landlord terminates.

In the case of termination of unlimited leases, a distinction is made between ordinary (timely) and extraordinary (without notice) termination. Termination of fixed-term contracts is possible only at the end of the term specified in the contract.

A notice of termination fixed-term contracts is only possible at the end of the term specified in the contract. If the tenant wants to terminate the lease earlier, even though the contract excludes the right to terminate for a certain period of time, the tenant can rely on a Cancellation agreement work with the landlord. If the landlord does not want to do this, the tenant only has the option of providing a new tenant with whom the landlord agrees; or he rents out the apartment with the landlord’s permission under. More information about tenancy law – subtenant.

More information and sample texts for the conclusion of a lease termination agreement can be found in the download area.

Termination of rental agreement

Contracts concluded after 01.September 2001, may only be limited in time in exceptional cases (§ 575 BGB). If the time limit is invalid, the tenant may terminate the lease with three months’ notice.

Basically: In the case of unlimited rental contracts, a notice period of 3 months applies

The tenant may always terminate the apartment at the end of the last month of the notice period. The period begins as soon as the landlord receives the notice of termination. If the notice of termination is received no later than the third working day of a month, the current month is also taken into account. (grace period) Saturday is counted as a working day for this purpose. If the notice of termination is received by the landlord only on the fourth working day of the month, it is only effective in the following month.

Form and receipt of the notice of termination

The notice of termination must always be in writing, which means that it must be signed by hand by all tenants of the apartment named in the contract. A fax or an e-mail is not enough to give notice to vacate an apartment! Since the termination is effective upon receipt by the landlord, it does not depend on any consent of the landlord. The receipt of the termination letter alone is decisive. You should therefore always ensure that you receive proof of receipt for the termination letter. This can be the return receipt of a registered letter, but it is safer to send the notice by messenger. In case of dispute, the latter can be a witness that the notice of termination was put in the landlord’s mailbox or delivered at a certain time.

Conditions for fixed-term leases

Only if the landlord indicates in writing in the lease agreement that he has a personal need for the apartment after the expiry of the rental period or wants to carry out major renovation work, a time limit is still possible. If the term is invalid, the tenant can terminate with a three-month notice period.

The obligation to give reasons for a fixed term can be circumvented by the landlord by means of a Exclusion of termination or a Waiver of termination in the contract. If there is an effective waiver of the right to terminate the contract, the tenant is not entitled to terminate the contract for this period of time. It is therefore advisable to have the lease contract checked for a possible fixed term or an exclusion of termination before signing it, so as not to experience any unpleasant surprises when terminating the contract.

Justification of termination without notice by the tenant

The tenant does not need to give reasons for termination. For the landlord, on the other hand, there are extensive obligations to give reasons. The tenant must (with a few exceptions) always have a legitimate interest in terminating the agreement. According to the law, these are only three reasons for termination:

  1. Personal need
  2. Prevention of reasonable economic exploitation of the property
  3. Culpable breach of contractual obligations to a not insignificant extent by the tenant

Details of each justification option and a sample letter for the tenant’s notice can be found in the download area.

Exception: termination of the lease of a two-family house

Attention! There is an exception to the landlord’s obligation to give reasons if it is not an apartment but a two-family house in which the landlord himself occupies an apartment. In this case, the notice period for the tenant is extended by three months. However, it is sufficient if the landlord indicates in the termination letter that he is making use of the simplified termination option.

Termination of the lease without notice

In addition to ordinary termination within a certain period, a tenancy can also be terminated without notice by either party. Since termination without notice has far-reaching legal consequences, particularly with regard to claims for damages, you should definitely seek legal advice upon receipt of such a termination notice. In our experience, many "without notice" terminations are unfounded or, in the case of rent arrears, can be remedied retroactively by paying the missing rent in arrears.

Special termination rights

A third group of terminations are the special termination rights. Irrespective of a time limit, the tenant can terminate the tenancy at short notice in the event of a pending rent increase due to modernization, an increase in the net cold rent, a subtenant permit not granted and in the event of death.

The most important summarized in our Checklist for : Terminate rental agreement

  • tenancy agreements of unlimited duration can be terminated with a notice period of three months
  • For fixed-term leases, a termination agreement is necessary. The validity of the notice period should definitely be checked
  • The signatures of all tenants named in the rental agreement are required
  • The termination of the lease agreement must be in writing
  • The notice of termination is effective upon receipt by the landlord – therefore always send by registered mail or by a messenger

Notice periods for landlords

If the landlord wishes to terminate a tenant’s lease, the period of notice is calculated according to the number of years the tenancy has already lasted. The longer a tenant lives in an apartment, the longer the notice period that the landlord must observe.

Term of lease Notice period
0 – 5 years 3 months
5 – 8 years 6 months
from 8 years 9 months

Have the tenancy agreement checked by the Interessenverband Mieterschutz

If you are unsure about the terms and conditions of your lease, have it checked by the Interessenverband fur Mieterschutz. The examination is free of charge for our members. Even if you have not yet signed the contract, we recommend that you have it checked by our experts before signing.


It is understood that the content provided in these texts is only a "guideline" and can never be a substitute for individual advice. Although we carefully check the accuracy of the information provided, it cannot be ruled out that case law has changed on one point or another since the text was written. Therefore, own actions never without further expert advice, taking into account the own contractual position! The person unfamiliar with the law may not rely on the texts published here, nor on newspaper articles, etc. leave. Just as you should not self-medicate an illness that is not uncomplicated, you should not "advocate on your own behalf" play.

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