What landlords must take into account when terminating the lease for personal use

Landlords can only terminate rental agreements under certain conditions – for example, because of personal use.

Own use means that the landlord needs the apartment for himself, for family members or for members of his household.
The period of notice depends on how long the tenant has already lived in the apartment.
If the tenant has lived in the apartment for less than five years, the landlord can give notice of termination by giving three months’ notice. For five to eight years, the notice period is six months. If the tenancy agreement has existed for more than eight years, the landlord must give nine months’ notice. (§ 573 c BGB)
Tenants have a period of notice of three months in the case of ordinary termination, in any case in the case of tenancy agreements concluded after the 2001 tenancy law reform.
Notice of termination is permissible at the latest on the third working day of a calendar month to the end of the month after next.
If the landlord only pretends to use the flat for his own needs, the tenant may be entitled to compensation.

There is a special regulation if an apartment building is converted into condominiums. If an apartment was already rented out before this conversion, the new owner cannot terminate the contract due to personal use. A notice lock-up period of at least three years applies. In various federal states (including Berlin and Bavaria) ten years.
If a landlord lives in a two-family house but rents out the other apartment, the law provides for a simplified right of termination (§ 573a BGB). In this case, the landlord can terminate the contract at any time – however, the statutory period of notice is extended by three months, i.e. between six and twelve months depending on the duration of the tenancy.

What should be included in a notice of termination for personal use
The person for whom the apartment is required and the nature of the relationship between them. If several persons move into the apartment, the landlord does not have to give the names of all new residents (BGH, Ref.: VIII ZR 107/13).
According to tenancy law expert Hermann, in the case of distant relatives or members of the household, the circumstances from which a personal relationship arises must be disclosed.
The exact reasons for which the need for housing arises: This could be a change of job, the care of a relative or the intention to separate from the previous spouse.
Reference to the tenant’s statutory right of objection in accordance with Section 574 of the German Civil Code (BGB) as well as the form and deadline requirements: The tenant must declare his objection in writing at least two months before the end of the tenancy.
In the event that the landlord has an alternative apartment that he can offer the tenant, he must also mention this in the letter of termination in accordance with case law. In addition, the landlord has to inform the tenant of the conditions for renting the apartment. At the same time, he should also state the reasons why this particular apartment is not suitable for him.