Rent freeze overturned: How tenants should react now

On 15 April 2021, the Federal Constitutional Court (BVerfG) declared the Berlin rent freeze (Mietendeckel) null and void. Tenants are now threatened with high repayments within a few weeks. These repayments can be reclaimed if tenants invoke the court-approved rent control (Mietpreisbremse) in good time.

In short

  • The Mietendeckel (rent freeze) that came into force on 23 November 2020 has been declared null and void.
  • Berlin tenants are now faced with high additional payments to their landlords.
  • The court-approved Mietpreisbremse (rent control) is considered a safe solution and alternative to reclaim back payments and permanently reduce one's own rent.

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Current status of the Mietendeckel (rent freeze)

The 3 most important points about the law:

  • Rent cap: the rent cap sets by law how high the rent can be for new rentals.
  • Rent freeze: The rent freeze "freezes" rents at the June 18, 2019 level. Landlords are therefore not allowed to increase rents for 5 years.
  • Rent reduction: In Berlin, rents may not exceed the permissible rent cap by more than 20 percent. The law takes effect from November 2020 and also applies to old contracts.

The Berlin rent freeze was declared unconstitutional by the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe on April 15, 2021. Thus, the concerns of many experts were confirmed and tenants are threatened with high repayments. This decision hits Berlin tenants hard, but there is a solution to reduce their rent for those affected: the constitutionally approved rent control. So check now with CONNY how much rent you can save each month.

  • The rent control applies in Berlin to almost all rental agreements concluded since June 1, 2015.
  • If the rent for your apartment in Berlin exceeds the local comparative rent plus 10 percent, you can pull the rent control.
  • Quick action is required: the rent control only applies to tenants with a rental start date between June 1, 2015 and March 31, 2020 from the time you ask your landlord to reduce the rent. For rental agreements concluded on or after April 1, 2020, a retroactive rent reduction is possible as a result of the rent control.

The amount of savings with the rent control varies from the old Mietendeckel (rent freeze) savings depending on the case. However, your savings potential as a tenant by means of the rent control is legally secure and sustainable.

Everything you need to know about the rent freeze savings

With the ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court, all regulations of the Mietendeckel (rent freeze) are considered null and void. The old rent must be paid again, which was paid before the rent freeze came into force on 23 February or 23 November 2020.

Landlords are also allowed to demand the full amount of the difference to the rent previously paid. The claim for back payments is effective immediately, but lawyers assume a 14-day payment period.

Be sure to discuss the matter with your landlord in good time so that, if in doubt, you can agree to pay in instalments. Landlords are allowed to terminate the lease without notice as soon as the tenant is at least 2 months in arrears with the rent.

Did you sign your tenancy contract before 1 April 2020?

Lawyers recommend that affected tenants immediately complain to the landlord about the excessive rent with a qualified letter of reprimand in accordance with the court-confirmed rent control law. This must be done before the landlord asks them to make an additional payment. After this complaint, however, tenants should then pay the additional payment owed under the tenancy agreement with reservation in order not to risk termination.

What should you do now?

  1. Immediately reprimand your landlord in writing: It is important that you reprimand your landlord with a qualified letter of reprimand before you receive a demand for back rent from him.
  2. Make the demanded back payment conditionally: After you have sent the reprimand, you must make the demanded back payment conditionally.
  3. Your rent will be checked: The written reprimand sets in motion a process that will review your original rent and determine the actual reasonable rent.
  4. Claiming a refund of the back rent: If it was determined that your rent was too high, you can claim back the overpaid back rent.

CONNY supports you with a quick reprimand, thus preventing the loss of your rent cap savings and takes over the enforcement of a permanent rent reduction. Do not lose valuable time.

Did you sign your tenancy contract after 1 April 2020?

For tenancies concluded after 1 April 2020, a retroactive rent reduction is possible through the rent control law (Mietpreisbremse). This means that tenants have a chance even after the landlord has demanded payment of the overdue rent cap savings. Thus, not only the back payment can be reclaimed, but also the overpaid rent since the conclusion of the contract.

CONNY's tenancy law experts will support you in this:

  • Within 10 minutes, our algorithm calculates the maximum rent allowed for your flat based on your information, and how much rent to reclaim.
  • Once commissioned, our legal experts will check the chances of success of your case and inform you of the next steps by e-mail. If any open questions arise, we will additionally contact you by phone for a personal meeting.
  • A CONNY legal expert will take over the enforcement of your claim. We contact your landlord and denounce the excessive rent with reference to the maximum rent allowed by law.
  • Through our professional negotiating skills, we reach an out-of-court settlement in most cases. If the other party refuses to reach an agreement, we file a lawsuit with your consent and enforce your claim in court. CONNY will pay all legal fees and court costs incurred on your behalf.

In case of success, CONNY receives the monthly savings x 5 (incl. VAT) as a one-time commission. Often the commission is paid directly to CONNY by the other party. If no agreement is reached, you will not incur any costs. The CONNY promise applies: You only pay in the event of success!

Reduce rent now