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Index – Interesting facts

Comparative rent

The owner can increase the rent every 15 months, if it is below the usual comparison rent, but up to a maximum of 20% within 3 years. The comparative rents are based on the rent of the area, or from Landlord and Tenant Associations. The owner can also refer to at least three comparable apartments, or to databases of areas or associations. The final, most expensive option: the landlord claims the rent increase after taking advice from a specially commissioned expert.

 

Stepped rent

Rent increases in intervals of at least one year can be stipulated by the contract. This precludes any other rent increases, including because of modernization.

 

Modernisation

The landlord can add up to 11% of the costs of modernisation to a single apartment every year, as the modernisation increases the value of the housing. The tenant can object if the rent increase would lead to a financial hardship, but cannot prevent the modernisation if it brings the property only up to a usual residential standard.

 

Ancillary costs

The tenant has to pay only what the rental agreement stipulates, but never for administration and maintenance, even in apartment blocks. Costs are usually prepaid, but never more than one year after the end of the billing period – if it is later, the landlord may not demand any additional payments, nor can they correct the mistake in their favour. If they attempt to claim the money later, the renter may demand it be repaid.

 

Billing errors

Many landlords do not meet the requirement that billing must be clear and understandable. The costs of cleaning are often incorrectly divided up, as are the costs of the caretaking service. Ancillary costs are probably the most common issue between the rental parties, partly due to the complicated rules.

 

Index – tax information – The tax office and your lease agreement

 

Services

Property owners and tenants may offset against tax up to 600€ for "household-related services" and 600€ for craftsmen. Housekeeping services include house and garden cleaning and as well as private home moves.

 

Handymen

Tax may be offset when manual workers are used to renovate, maintain or modernise the property. This also applies when devices such as televisions, washing machines or computers are repaired in the home - but not if they are taken to a workshop.

 

Tax rebate

Tax is reduced by 20% of the labour costs, but only up to a maximum of 600€. Material costs are not considered, except from consumables such as cleaning materials or spreading materials.

 

Invoice

The service provider must separate out the labour costs on an invoice.

 

Payment

There is no bonus from the tax office if you pay in cash – it is very important, therefore, to pay by bank transfer or other electronic means.

 

Additional costs

Tenants reduce their tax liability not only when they order extra services themselves, but also when they pay for building services and handymen. For this, they need a certificate from the landlord, if they don’t already get one annually. It is unclear whether the landlord is entitled to charge for the administrative work involved in generating this extra paperwork.

 

Modernisation

A number of court proceedings are underway to decide whether a rent increase following modernisation work can reduce tax due.

 

Second home

A tax bonus is also available for second home and holiday apartments as well as for apartments that are used by the owners’ children free of charge. This has been the case for property throughout the EU since 2008.