Changes of tenancy law in 2018

On 5 September 2018, the Federal Cabinet passed a bill amending the rent law. Now the Bundestag has to agree. The law should enter into force at the latest from 1 January 2019.
However, a tightening of the rental price brake will not remedy the lack of living space in metropolitan areas.

The draft of the “Law supplementing the regulations on the permissible rental amount at the beginning of the lease and for the adjustment of the regulations on the modernization of the rental property (Mietrechtsanpassungsgesetz – MietAnpG)” provides for the following changes to the tenancy law.

Landlords are obliged in the future to give a renter unsolicited information about the rent previously obtained before concluding the rental agreement if they (according to § 556e para. 1 BGB) want to demand a rent higher than that permitted by the rental price brake.
With reference to other exceptions to the rent brake, such as after a modernization (§ 556e para. 2 BGB), first rental after comprehensive modernization (§ 556f sentence 2 BGB) or new construction / first letting after 1.10.2014 (§ 556f sentence 1 BGB) – landlords are obliged to provide information about these exceptional circumstances without being requested to do so. The information must always be in writing, otherwise only applies to the ‘rent brake’ permissible rent (maximum 10% above the local comparative rent).
So far, it took for the tenant a qualified complaint, with a justification of the complaint of the rent. In the future, a simple complaint will suffice without further justification. However, the renter can continue to reclaim only rents that have become due after the complaint.

In tense real estate markets, modernization costs can initially be reduced to tenants for a period of 5 years, only 8% per annum, or 11% at present. In addition, the apportionment of modernization costs to 3 € / square meter is to be limited within 6 years.

The procedure for the calculation of the modernization allocation / Modernisierungsmieterhöhung is to be simplified. For costs up to € 10,000, landlords should deduct 30% for maintenance costs and be able to transfer the remainder as modernization costs.

Announcements of extensive modernization measures should no longer be so easy to use to induce tenants to give notice, the so-called “outmodernization”. Thus, it is a breach of duty of the landlord, if he does not start within 12 months after the announcement with the modernization measures or resting after the beginning more than 12 months, then after the rent is to be increased by at least 100% or the tenant by the modernization measures significantly is charged. The landlord can relieve itself by a comprehensible reason. For the tenant there is the possibility of claim for damages (from §§ 280, 281 BGB). This “outmodernization” will in the future constitute an administrative offense with a fine of up to € 100,000.