How to obtain a rent reduction in case of defects

You have found a defect in your apartment through no fault of your own? Then the right procedure is the key to success in order to be able to reduce your rent. In this article you will learn when a defect is present, in which cases no reduction is possible despite the defect and how to proceed in order to successfully reduce the rent.

1. What conditions must be met for a rent reduction?

The prerequisite for a rent reduction is basically first of all a defect in your apartment. A defect exists if the use of the rented property is restricted or excluded. The rent reduction is then possible for the entire period in which the defect exists. There are, however, a number of opaque exceptions that must be considered if you want to reduce the rent yourself.

2. What is considered a rental deficiency?

Whether a defect is present is always also subjective. Therefore not every defect perceived by the tenant is entitled to a rent reduction. Often minor defects or insignificant restrictions are not considered sufficient by the legislator. Whether or not a rent defect that entitles to a rent reduction is present is usually decided on a case-by-case basis.

The following list shows you frequently occurring rental deficiencies:
  1. Mildew
  2. Humidity
  3. Heating defect or failure
  4. Insufficient cold or hot water supply
  5. Noise
  6. Vermin
  7. Wrong living space in the rental contract
  8. Water damage
  9. Defective lift
  10. Impairments due to construction sites

3. Report the defect to the landlord: What must I pay attention to?

The law requires that you inform the landlord immediately in writing about the defect. You should always describe the defect as precisely as possible, pictures can also be helpful. They enable the landlord to remedy the defect and restore the apartment to a perfect condition. Only if this takes longer or the landlord does not remedy the defect, you may be able to reduce your rent.

Important: If you do not report the defect immediately, you also lose your right to a rent reduction. You should therefore inform the landlord as soon as possible.

4. By what amount may the rent be reduced?

It is not possible to make a generalized statement about the percentage by which the rent can be reduced for each defect. The perception of the defect is always subjective and is perceived differently from person to person. The amount of the rent reduction always depends on the extent of the defect. A small spot of mould in the corner is therefore to be assessed differently than rooms where the wallpaper falls off the walls and everything is full of mould. However, both must be reported to the landlord immediately. It is therefore always a good idea to use similar comparative judgements to determine the appropriate rent reduction. Please note, however, that similar circumstances can be assessed differently from court to court. By the way, the rent reduction refers to the gross rent - i.e. net cold rent + additional costs.

Important: In order to avoid termination in the event of a rent reduction, you should pay the full rent with the reservation of a claim for repayment due to the rent reduction. Having done so, it can be further judged whether a rent reduction was set too high or is unjustified. Consultation with a lawyer or a specialized service like CONNY is advised to not endanger the rental agreement.

5. Attention: Do not reduce the rent hastily!

It is not advisable to reduce the rent prematurely or to carry out the repairs yourself (exceptions can be small repairs). Without prior consultation with the landlord, it is uncertain whether you will be reimbursed for the costs incurred. An unjustified or excessive rent reduction is also a reason for termination. Therefore, always discuss everything with your landlord and record the agreements in writing. If you want to be on the safe side, assign CONNY to enforce your rent reduction. You only have to provide all relevant information and do not need to worry about anything else afterwards.

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