Taking over an apartment

At the start of the rental period, the tenant and landlord should together prepare an inventory and condition report. It should list and record in writing all damage.

The tenant should keep in mind that the report prevents him, when he moves out, from paying for damage the previous tenant had caused.

Report other defects by registered letter

Defects which are not noticed during the handover should be reported to the landlord, depending on the rental contract, from 10 to 30 days after taking over the apartment, doing so in writing using a registered letter.

Defects to be fixed by the landlord

The landlord must fix moderate and serious defects. These include non-operational technical equipment and appliances, peeling wallpaper, bugs and vermin. Apartments with extreme mould infestation and those which in winter, even with the heating system turned on, do not get warmer than 17 degrees C are considered uninhabitable. You should agree with the landlord in writing on a deadline by which such defects will be repaired.

Rent reduction as a result of defects

In the event the landlord does not keep his promises concerning the repair of medium to serious defects, the tenant should establish a grace period in writing and do so with a registered letter.

At the same time, he should demand a rent reduction and inform the landlord that following the grace period he will deposit the rent with the conciliation board. You should not make any such deductions on your own account but should instead turn to the Tenants' Association or the conciliation authorities.

Is the apartment in its original state?

When you take over something from a previous tenant, keep in mind that when you move out, in certain circumstances you will be required to bring it back to its original state. This can become a problem if, for example, the previous tenant painted some walls dark brown or if there is wall-to-wall carpeting that he glued or nailed down.

The best approach is to set down in writing which party is liable to the landlord for what and have this agreement signed by everyone (that means by both the previous and new tenant as well as the landlord).