A mold risk alone is not a reason to reduce rent. The Federal Court of Justice largely overturned two corresponding judgments.
AThe risk of mold growth in an apartment alone does not mean that a tenant has to pay less. The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) in Karlsruhe decided on Wednesday that thermal bridges on external walls and the associated risk of mold should not be regarded as a material defect. The only requirement is that the regulations existing at the time of construction were complied with. (Ref. VIII ZR 271/17 and VIII ZR 67/18)
Two tenants from Glinde near Hamburg in Schleswig-Holstein had sued for a rent reduction because, in their opinion, the apartments were defective. They also asked for an advance on costs to fix this. Her lawsuits were successful at the Lübeck Regional Court. The court saw reasons for a rent reduction and in one case also confirmed the conviction of the landlord to pay 12,000 euros, among other things for interior insulation.
The Federal Court of Justice largely overturned the judgments. The competent civil senate decided that the claimants were not entitled to a reduction in rent or an advance payment due to the risk of mold. The apartments from 1968 and 1971 corresponded to the standards applicable at the time. There was no obligation to equip the houses with thermal insulation. Thermal bridges are therefore common in buildings from this time. There is therefore no material defect in the plaintiffs’ apartments.