Apartment handover: Which damages are paid by whom

During the apartment handover, the landlord has found some defects and charges you for the damage. An accurate examination and personal liability insurance save a lot of trouble.

After packing the boxes and cleaning the apartment, most people will be happy when the day of the apartment handover arrives and the way for moving is clear. Nevertheless, it is worthwhile to plan enough time for meeting with the old landlord and to be attentive. Because, when an apartment handover form has been signed, it is valid.

Especially if you have lived in an apartment for a longer period of time, resulting damages are recorded in the apartment handover. For example, you have lived in an apartment 10 years with your partner. During the handover, your landlord determines the following damages:

  • Crack in the bathtub
  • Chrome steel in the kitchen is scratched
  • Picture shadows in the living room and kitchen
  • Nick in the entrance area parquet 
Apartment handover: Which damages are paid by whom
Scratches in the chrome steel caused by use.

If, for example, the crack or nick is not already noted in the takeover report when moving in, the landlord will have it repaired and charged to the tenant. This is where private liability insurance comes into play. It pays damages that were not caused intentionally or through negligence. (Excluded would be, for example, a self-installed parquet, which has damaged the floor underneath.)

For a crack in the bathtub caused by a dropped shower head or for the nick in the parquet caused by tilted shelving, the liability insurance assumes compensating the damage at the time value.

Normal vs. Excessive wear

Basically, a distinction must be made between normal and excessive wear. The renter is not liable for normal wear and tear. However, he is liable in case of excessive wear. Inasmuch as the demarcation is not always simple, the rule of thumb is: Wherever you must say „This was caused by a little mishap,“ excessive wear is indicated.

The duration of the lease must be considered especially with the scratched chrome steel or picture shadow. For a 10-year rental period, both scratches and image shadows are normal wear and tear and must not be borne by the renter. However, if, for example, smoking has caused extreme discoloration and needs to be painted with special paint, the landlord may charge for this special treatment. In this case, the private liability insurance should not jump in. Smoker walls belong to so-called gradual damage, i.e. which has emerged gradually.

Here are some examples of the different cases of wear:

Normal wear

  • Dowel or nail holes in the wall
  • Minor scratches in the parquet
  • Furniture shadows on the walls

Excessive wear

  • Cracks in ceramics or walls
  • Deep scratches or water damage in the parquet (see picture)
  • Shadows or discoloration on walls due to smoking
Apartment handover: Which damages are paid by whom
The landlord can complain about moisture damage on the parquet.

Either way, it is worthwhile to examine any damage carefully and to sign the handover form only when it is clear what kind of damage and what burdens are involved. Furthermore, the liability insurance does not cover unforeseeable damage during the rental period. If, for example, a bottle of wine tilts over, resulting in damage to the parquet, the insurance covers the costs. However, such cases must be reported immediately.