Rent Reduction: Court Agrees with Landlord

If defects occur in a flat, tenants have the right to reduce the rent. However, this right has its limits, as a recent court case showcased.

No matter how provisional they are – short-term corrective actions should initially be accepted. (Image:

Every tenant has the right for a flat without defects. Should a damage occur regardless of that, rents are allowed to be reduced until it is getting fixed. If the tenant refuses this however, his right for rent reduction ceases – even with makeshift, temporary solutions. In such a case, the local court of Berlin-Charlottenburg decided in favour of the landlord, as the magazine Das Grundeigentum (issue 2/2019) reported.

During this negotiation, the tenant found fault with a defective gas boiler in her flat. Since neither warm water flew nor the heaters worked, the landlord offered a short-term solution: Multiple radiators, as well as a smaller boiler should be set up in the flat, until the damage was fixed. On top of that, the landlord would compensate for the occurring energy costs. Since the tenant considered this solution too provisional, both parties went to court and fought over both amount and legality of a rent reduction.

The court thereupon held that the provisional nature of this temporary solution constituted no reason for a refusal. According to the landlord, reparations on the boiler would’ve taken more time than expected by the tenant in any case – a short-term and final corrective action was therefore not possible. Since the tenant didn’t give the landlord time for planning appropriate measures, her behaviour was declared as being in bad faith.

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