Berlin Tenants‘ Association – a strong and influential consulting organization for tenants
The Berlin Tenants‘ Association represents its members` interests in all questions concerning the lease of their accommodation. Since 1888 we have been committed to improving tenants` rights and a social housing policy. We support reasonable rents backed by legislation. We also support the development of new social and affordable housing and other urban developments, while avoiding the displacement of tenants. With more than 160,000 members the Berlin Tenants‘ Association is the largest in Germany.
Tenants‘ associations have a long tradition in Germany.
This is because Germany has a much higher proportion of rented accommodation than in comparable countries. In fact, 85% of Berlin residents are tenants. In Germany there exist comprehensive tenancy rights. Your tenants‘ associations is ready to help to enforce your comprehensive rights in this area.
How can the Berlin Tenants‘ Association help you?
We have lawyers, assessors, energy consultants and other staff to support you in any disputes with your landlords.
We offer our members
- Personal legal advice in several consulting centers throughout the city
- Telephone advice via hotline
- Advice by return of mail
- Correspondence with landlords
- Information on tenancy law on our website, flyers and the tenants‘ magazine (MieterMagazin)
- Protection insurance for tenancy law, which may pay legal costs after a three month waiting period from the start of the membership.
How much does membership cost?
The joining fee for membership of the Berlin Tenants´ Association is 7.50 €. After this the following monthly payments, which include legal insurance costs, will become due:
€ 9.00 (reducing after 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 years membership)
€ 4.50 for those on low-income, on request and provision of documentary evidence
Duration of membership is at least two years. Notice of termination, to take effect of the end of a calendar year, must be received by September 30th.
Important information concerning German rental law
The lease regulates the essential rights and obligations of tenant and
landlord. Agreements in leases which penalise the tenant unreasonably are not binding even if the tenant is a signatory. The person who signs the lease is liable for the rent. Subsequent amendments to the lease, such as change of tenant, require the written permission of the landlord. Renting social housing flats built with public funds requires a special document (Wohnberechtigungsschein). You can obtain this document at the local housing authority (Wohnungsamt).
If a deposit is agreed in the lease, this is limited to a maximum of three months rent payable at the beginning of the tenancy. This deposit must be held separately from the landlord’s others assets. The deposit must usually be refunded in full within six months of vacating the flat unless the landlord has an authorised charge against the deposit.
Rent levels when signing a lease
In Berlin, the net rent (without operating and heating costs) is limited to 10% above the local comparative rent (rent index/Berliner Mietspiegel) for new leases. There are some exceptions, for example social housing apartments which follow different rules.
In current tenancies the landlord can increase the rent to the local comparative rent. The rent increase must remain unchanged for 12 months. The rent can only be increased by 15% over a three year period. The landlord has to justify this rent increase. Following modernisation, the landlord can increase the rental on a apartment. This rent can increase by 11% annually, only from the cost of the modernisation. Special rules apply to rent increases for social housing.
If the lease specifies, then tenants must pay certain costs in advance. Examples for these costs include heating and hot water, garbage disposal, house cleaning, water supply, gardening and elevator maintenance. The landlord must settle these costs annually.
If during the tenancy any problems occur such as evidence of mould, faulty windows or failure of the heating or hot water supply, the tenant can ask the landlord to remedy these problems. This must be done in writing, stating the required completion date.
Structure alterations to the accommodation require the agreement of the tenant. Tenants generally have to accept energy saving measures. The landlord may pass on 11% of the costs of some improvements by adding this amount to the annually rent in future years. The tenant can contest the extra costs in certain circumstances such as in the case of financial hardship.
We are looking forward to hearing from you
Are you interested in joining the Berliner Tenants` Association (Berliner Mieterverein). Do you wish to learn more about our consulting services?
Contact us via email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 030/226 260.
All our advice to you will be in the German language and any representation on your behalf will also be in German.