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The 10 most important tenant obligations

The 10 most important tenant obligations


Tenants automatically receive comprehensive tenant rights when they move into an apartment. However, besides the rights, there are also several tenant obligations that are not always immediately clear.

There are many questions about contractual obligations, including What are the obligations of a tenant? Does the new address have to be reported? Is it subject to a maintenance obligation and does it have to pay for certain repairs itself? Do conversions or subtenants have to be discussed with the landlord in advance?

contractor and landlord making final repairs contractor in an apartment block working with the letting agent tenants repair stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

In our blog post today we give you a compact overview of all the tenant’s obligations. In keeping with this, we have summarized the 10 most important tenant obligations and thus answer the key questions about tenant obligations after termination and when moving out.

1. Obligation to register with the residents’ registration office

First of all, according to §19 of the Federal Registration Act, a tenant is subject to a so-called registration obligation in Germany. Since 2015, he has been obliged to report his move to the responsible residents’ registration office within a period of 14 days.

Appropriately, a landlord confirmation or landlord confirmation is submitted in electronic or written form. The decisive factor here is the so-called landlord, who makes the rented room available. This will issue a certificate that will be sent to the registration office.

In point 1 to clarify the question: What are the obligations of a tenant? Within the scope of the reporting obligation, it is important to note that a fine can be imposed by the authorities in the event of a missing report.

2. Full payment of the rental deposit

Rental obligations also include the payment of a rental deposit, which is usually stipulated in the rental agreement. If we agreed a cash deposit in advance, tenant rights in Germany stipulate ‌the tenant can pay the deposit in 3 monthly installments.

The first installment is due as soon as you move in, the other installments at the beginning of the 2nd or 3rd month of rent. It is good to know in this context that both tenants are free to agree on a rental deposit and whether this may be lower than the maximum deposit of 3 net cold rents.

3. Timely payment of rent

One of the most important tenant obligations is the regular and punctual payment of rent. According to case law, the tenant should instruct the correct transfer to the bank no later than the third working day of the month.

If you, as a tenant, do not meet your payment obligations twice in a row, or if the rent is over one month’s rent in arrears, the landlord can give notice of termination. The same applies if you, as a tenant, cannot pay your rent on time several times.

4. Renter’s Obligation to Maintain

What rights and obligations does a tenant have? Tenant obligations also include the so-called maintenance obligation. The tenant must carry out minor repairs at his own expense during the rental period.

This includes‌ maintenance that does not exceed an upper limit of 75 to a maximum of 100 Dollars per year. The maximum limit specified in the rental agreement or a maximum of 8 percent of the annual rent (without taking ancillary costs into account) are decisive for the amount of the benefit.

5. Report any defects to the landlord

As a tenant, you have a duty to report existing defects immediately. This is made possible, among other things, by a written notice of defects in which the defect is described as precisely as possible and the landlord is given a deadline by which point in time the defect must be rectified.

The landlord can only react if they actually reported the defect to the landlord. If‌ a serious problem is not reported, we can confront the tenant with the resulting follow-up costs.

6. Heating Obligations

Many tenants are not aware that proper heating is one of the tenants’ obligations. Only a regularly ventilated and heated home can prevent certain types of damage.

If mold develops in an unheated apartment or if a water pipe freezes, the tenant can be obliged to pay damages.

7. Obligation to provide information in the event of conversions or sub-tenants

As a tenant, you are also obliged to inform your landlord about major installations and conversions in the living space and to ask their permission in advance. In return, the landlord is entitled to demand a dismantling and restoration of the original condition after you move out.

The same applies if you are planning to take a new roommate or subtenant into your apartment. Moving in is usually not possible without the permission of the landlord.

8. Observe contractually regulated house rules

Your tenant obligations also include compliance with the house rules. The house rules, for example, regulate living together in an apartment building and determine which behavior or actions are necessary.

What rights and obligations does a tenant have? In most cases, the house rules are regulated in the rental agreement and at this point also clarify to what extent, for example, tenants have to clean the hallway or common rooms.

9. Comply with tenant obligations after termination

You as a tenant must hand over the apartment on the last day of the notice period. In addition, your landlord may show your apartment to new tenants. It is crucial that he announces such appointments at least 2 – 3 days in advance.

However, this is only possible in suitable periods that do not include normal working hours. In this context, the landlord must be considerate of you and arrange an appointment that can also be made at your location. He is not entitled to show the apartment to other prospective tenants without your presence at the end of the tenancy.

10. Comply with tenant obligations when moving out

When you move out, you will have a number of rental obligations. This includes handing over the apartment in a clean condition. This means that you remove any major dirt and the apartment is completely cleared by the handover date.

In addition, you must restore a proper condition, in which they eliminated defects and damage that you caused negligently yourself during your rental period.

Structural changes that you made during your tenancy must also be removed. This obligation does not apply if you have agreed in advance with the landlord or subsequent tenant that the conversions can be retained.

Depending on the agreement, it may also be necessary for you to carry out minor cosmetic repairs, which include, for example, wallpapering, painting or sealing dowel holes.

All answers on the subject of tenant obligations at a glance

What are the responsibilities of a tenant? With our 10 points, you not only get a valuable overview of all the obligations that apply at the beginning or during the tenancy, but also know your tenant obligations when you move out.

It is best to talk to your landlord if you have any questions or problems. In many cases, open communication can prevent disputes or, in the worst case, claims for damages and you can fulfill your tenant obligations in the best possible way.


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