Who pays for damage by tenants?

When moving out, every tenant leaves traces of wear and tear on the walls, floors or built-in appliances. For which damage must the tenant answer for, when is private liability insurance helpful, and what must the tenant pay for himself?

Costs for traces of wear and tear which arise during normal use are included in the monthly rental payments and are borne by the landlord. Examples:

  • changes in paint colour behind pictures or furniture
  • holes in the walls (carefully patched up and not in an excess number)

Private liability insurance steps in

In the case of damage which was caused by negligence or insufficient care, the tenant's private liability insurance pays. This includes:

  • painted-over wallpaper
  • cracks in a washbasin
  • deep scratches in parquet flooring

If, however, the matter concerns damage caused by gross negligence, the tenant must expect a reduction in compensation. Further, insurance does not cover damage which arises from gradual effects (e.g. due to very heavy smoking).

Service lifetime - the determining factor

A private liability insurance does not always cover the full repair or replacement costs.

If 5-year old wallpaper is damaged and must be replaced, the private liability insurance pays only half of the restoration costs because normal wallpaper has a lifetime of 10 years.

Tables of service lifetimes provide more detailed information.

Important tips​​​​​​​

  • In the event of damage, notify the insurance company immediately.
  • When taking out an insurance policy, be absolutely sure to examine the excess (note: certain insurances require an excess for each room and incident).