Rental Contracts and Minimal Notice of Leave

If you are moving to German you will definitely need somewhere to stay. And what comes with finding a home? A contract. This is one thing that expats need to be cautious about. Enough emphasis cannot be put on the fact that a rental contract needs to be read thoroughly and understood even more thoroughly. If you do not speak German or are not capable of understanding your contract entirely, get the help of someone who does. Ask you German colleagues or your German friends for their assistance. You may even want to go as far as paying for a translation which may cost a lot, but may save you more in the long term. 

Many people are unaware of the amount of notice that needs to be given before they can terminate their lease. The minimum amount of time is three months. This is entailed in the “Kündigungsfrist”, which states that are required to notify your land at least three months to the end of the month. Provided you have to move due to unexpected reasons, you can do so prior to the three months but you will still be held responsible to make payments for the stated three month period.

Upon departing the apartment you need to ensure that you have returned everything to its original state. This may require filling holes, replacing anything that got damaged during the time you were living in the apartment. Check your contract to see if your land lord requires that you paint before leaving. This is often a common request. A large number of landlords will hand over the apartment to you in white and thus they expect that it will be painted in white when you move out.

Skipping out on any of the rules and requirements stated in your contract may cause you to lose your security deposit and possibly even incur other charges.

Something that a lot of Germans and non Germans who rent do, is join a  Mieterverein. This is a tenants association that will help you to fully understand what is acceptable and what is forbidden when it comes to renting an apartment. At only 55 euros per year, it is something that is definitely worth looking into. You never know what problems may arise from your landlord or landlady and thus having someone who knows the system will be of a great help to you.

Mietverein List:

Berlin Berliner Mieterverein-

Address: Behrenstraße C – 07 Berlin

Telephone Number: 030 226260

Fax Number: 030 2262662

Email Address: [email protected]


Munich Mieterverein München

Address:  Sonnenstrasse 0 8033 Munich

Telephone number: 089 552430

Fax number: 089 554554

Email Address: [email protected]


Frankfurt Frankfurter Mieterverein

Address: Zeil 43 6033 Frankfurt a.M.

Telephone Number: 069 280050

Fax Number: 069 30282

Email Address: [email protected]


Hamburg Mieterverein zu Hamburg

Address: Beim Strohhause 20 – 20097 Hamburg

Telephone Number: 040 879790

Fax Number: 040 879790

Email Address: [email protected]



Saskia Petz

Tanja Traut

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