Unexpected Rental Increases, Early Termination, and Other Problems
Finding an apartment in Berlin is hard work, so when you’ve found a place, you’re probably feeling grateful to even be able to sign the lease. Sometimes it can be hard to resolve problems or disputes with your landlord or housing administration in Berlin, especially if you’re not familiar with German tenancy law and your German language skills are limited!
The Berliner Mieterverein is a bit like a Tenants Protection Union or Tenants Association. They give information and advice to people who rent apartments in Berlin. They charge a very affordable annual membership fee, and you can get advice by phone or in person. If things get super complicated, they have a central organization and a type of insurance that comes in very handy when you need correspondence written or legal representation.
Landlords Behaving Badly in Berlin
If you don’t speak German very well, you might be particularly vulnerable to misconduct by a landlord. An unprofessional landlord might take advantage of the language barrier, or you could simply be overwhelmed with German legal jargon when you receive a letter. When you move out, you could have trouble getting your bond back. What if something seem unfair?
Common Questions from Berlin Tenants
Here are some common issues that both Germans and foreigners experience when renting an apartment in Berlin (yes, these are all true stories!):
- Your landlord is planning renovations and demands an enormous rental increase.
- There is mould growing on your walls.
- Something in your Berlin apartment needs repair, and no-one is responding to your phone calls.
- You’ve been asked by a rental agency to pay a 12 month deposit of 10,000 EUR in cash in person before you can secure an apartment.
- There is scaffolding right outside your window and the construction work starts at 7am.
- You’ve moved out but your landlord refuses to return your bond.
- You think your landlord is entering your apartment without telling you.
How can Red Tape Translation help?
Although I can’t offer you any sort of legal advice, I can help you communicate with people who can and will. I recently accompanied some English speakers to the Berliner Mieterverein to get some urgent advice on their apartment. The consultants there were friendly and helpful and had lots of great ideas on how to resolve the situation. If you don’t speak German, you should bring someone with you who does.
If you need to call, e-mail, or write to your landlord or housing administration about problems with your apartment, write what you want to say in English and get Red Tape Translation to translate it.