How To Proceed In A Rent Reduction

How To Proceed In A Rent Reduction

Does unpleasant noise disturb you? Does heating or the elevator not work? Or does mold even endanger your health? These are reasons to justify a rent reduction. But be careful: this must be properly addressed, that it does not lead to termination without notice.

Reasons that justify a rent reduction

If the apartment is not 100 percent okay, the tenant does not have to pay 100 percent rent. This principle is based on rent reduction. If there is a defect, the renter can reduce his payments by a few percent. The most frequent reasons include:

  • Moisture damage and mold in the apartment
  • Disturbance disturbance
  • Smaller apartment than specified in the rental agreement (more than 10 percent)
  • Defective technical equipment (eg lift, water boiler)
  • Damage to and in the house (eg leaky windows, leaking roof, broken parquet)

It is important, however, that the defects in the apartment are considerable. A small water spot is not enough to report a moisture damage. Because he does not limit the suitability of the rental property. Also, defects may only lead to a reduction in rent if the damage was not caused by the renter himself. So mold can also be due to a wrong ventilation behavior of the residents. The reasons for rent reduction should therefore be carefully considered and reviewed.

Unfair rent reductions can have serious consequences and even lead to immediate termination. Therefore, a rent reduction should only be made on a larger scale.

Procedure: Success should be considered

In order to properly make a rent reduction, the following ten steps recommended by the Mietrechtportal should be followed:

  1. Verification of whether the defect significantly reduces the fitness for purpose.
  2. Immediate notification of the defect to the lessor.
  3. Verification of the period: Was the defect already at the time the contract was concluded?
  4. Verification of the knowledge of the defect
  5. Checking whether an energetic modernization has been made.
  6. Setting the period of rent reduction.
  7. Setting the type of rent reduction.
  8. Setting the amount of rent reduction.
  9. Write to the landlord where The rent reduction is explained.

Anyone who wants to make a rent reduction due to a defect should always bear in mind the burden of proof. Therefore, photos of the damage, witnesses at disturbances and even a noise protocol are recommended. Likewise, written communication is the sure way.

Take care when checking

A defect exists when the so-called actual condition deviates from the so-called nominal condition. Here, a look must be thrown into the lease, but also comparisons with the living standard of comparable apartments can help. But only if the lack also has a high intensity, the so-called serviceability of the apartment is limited. This means that, for example, if the defect can be eliminated easily, quickly and with little cost, a reduction in rent is often unjustified. For example, the deviation of the actual living space specified in the rental agreement must amount to at least ten percent.

If the defect is detected and at the same time considerable, the renter should inform the landlord immediately. Without this announcement, the renter has no right to rent reduction. This information should always be written in writing.

At points 4 and 5, experts should be brought on board. If the tenant knew of the defect at the conclusion of the contract or if he missed it because of his gross negligence, then a rent reduction can again be inadmissible. Here, experts know more exactly which exclusion factors could apply in individual cases. If the deficiency occurred as a result of a measure, that of the energetic modernization, a rent reduction can also be excluded. However, at the end of a three-month period, this is possible again in such a case.

Amount, duration and information on rent reduction

Anyone who is sure of the legality of a rent reduction should determine the amount, duration and type of rent reduction in the next steps. In principle, the period of time from the occurrence of the reduced usability up to the remedy can be determined. There are also several variants of the type: for example, the subsequent recovery, retention of a percentage and the full rent paid with reservation, which entitles the renter to subsequently reduce the rent.

What percentage of the rent has not been paid in the event of a reduction depends on the strength of the defect. A fancy heating in summer is less serious than a total failure in winter in permafrost. Here, the Landesgericht Berlin has even declared a rent reduction of 100 percent permissible in an individual case. Rent reduction tables on the Internet should only serve as a guide, they are often based on individual cases. If in doubt, ask a specialist!

In the last step, the landlord is informed in writing about the rent reduction. Important is the explanation of the reasons. This letter may be made in time with the rental transfer, however, a note in the subject of the transfer is not sufficient. Also, writing may announce the future mitigation in advance.

Get an expert aside. Tenant associations are often a good place to go here. But the lawyer can also help and, if necessary, take over the representation.


There are many reasons why a rent reduction is justified. It is important to prove the reason and to consider possible exclusion criteria. Therefore, the defect should be closely examined beforehand.

Artikelbild: © wabeno /