Terminate a tenancy for personal use: things to know
Leases in Germany are normally for an indefinite period and, in the event of sale of the apartment, are sold to new owners without the need for new leasing contracts. Indeed, there is the rule that the purchase does not interrupt the rent (Kauf bricht nicht Miete).
The idea of buying a rented apartment in order to free it from the tenant, is almost never advisable because the chances of this happening are limited. Let’s see why.
In addition to the serious causes that may lead to the cancellation of a contract (including even the non-payment of rent for two consecutive months) German law also provides for the possibility to give the eviction to the tenant for personal use. To avoid unnecessary conflicts with the tenant, it is good to respect some rules and schedules.
First we must make sure that the apartment does not fall within the social housing or does not have the constraints of use or habitation. These limitations are highlighted in the excerpt from the land register (Grundbuchauszug) and in the purchase contract.
Once satisfied that there are no restrictions, you can send a notice to the tenant, explaining the reasons and informing him that he may oppose. The notice period varies between 3 and 9 months, depending on the date of signing the lease.
In many cases you can get to the courts and the judge will decide considering the reasons of the landlord, the age of the tenant and length of rental. Hardly in a welfare state like Germany, an elderly tenant who’s been living in the apartment for 30 years will be sent away.
Another important thing to consider is the period of protection from eviction. If a building with a sole proprietor is divided into individual apartments, tenants already benefit from protection from eviction for personal use for 10 years (in Berlin) if at the time of dividing the property were already living in the apartment. The major causes of eviction remain unchanged.
Our advice? If you want to buy an apartment in Berlin, where to live, buy an available one. You save yourself unnecessary problems and you will help the city to curb gentrification.