BGH announces judgment on cosmetic repairs

When moving out, many tenants are unsure whether they need to renovate. The Federal Court of Justice will decide on Wednesday what role an agreement with the previous tenant plays.

Plastering dowel holes, wallpapering, painting: What are tenants obliged to do when moving out?

NAccording to the experience of the German Tenants’ Association, the vast majority of rental contracts oblige the tenant to take care of cosmetic repairs such as painting the walls and ceilings. Basically that works. According to the recent rulings of the BGH since 2015, such clauses are ineffective if the tenant has moved into an unrenovated apartment. Otherwise he might have to leave the rooms more beautiful than he found them himself without compensation.

This is how things are in a dispute from Celle in Lower Saxony – the tenant could actually give a damn about what is in his lease. The fact that his case is still preoccupying the highest civil judge is due to the fact that the husband had bought the carpet from his previous tenant. It was agreed that he would also do the renovation work for her.

The Lüneburg Regional Court had therefore recently ruled that the tenant should be treated as if the landlord had given him the renovated apartment. Now the decision lies with the BGH. In the negotiations in July it became apparent that the tenant might have better chances in the last instance. (Az. VIII ZR 277/16)

The dispute is about 800 euros. The tenant had already painted the apartment himself when he moved out. The renting housing association was not satisfied with the result and asked a painter to come. Now it’s about who has to pay the bill.