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How to set up house rules for mid-term rental properties in Germany

Tenant couple reads house rules for a mid-term rental apartment.

House rules regulate the rights, obligations and coexistence when several parties live under one roof. They are essential in any shared apartment building. The house rules are part of the rental agreement or are posted in the stairwell of the apartment building.

Since your tenants usually form part of a house community, you should provide them with the house rules. 

Further down the article, you will find the link to a House rules template.

    1. What are house rules?

    The house rules are a set of regulations under private law. The basis of these regulations are the Law on Condominium Ownership and Permanent Residence Law, the neighbor right in the German Civil Code (BGB) (§§ 903 to 924 BGB, § 1004 BGB) as well as the tenancy law in the BGB (§ 535 BGB).

    As a landlord, you can post the house rules in the hallway for your tenants or provide them as part of the rental agreement. 

    In the case of posted house rules, the regulations may not go beyond the regulations and duties stipulated in the rental agreement. If you as the landlord wish to stipulate further duties, these must be part of the rental agreement or the house rules must be part of the rental agreement. 

    2. What can be regulated in house rules?

    There is no legal requirement for house rules and therefore no standardized wording. However, the most common points included in house rules include:

    Home security and due diligence

      • When should front doors be closed or locked, or what materials or objects should not be stored in basements or underground/garages?

      • Tip: Explain to your tenants what they should do if they notice damage or the smell of gas.

      • Staircase regulations

      Staircase regulations

        • Where are strollers/walkers/wheelchairs to be parked?

        • The following applies: You may not generally prohibit the parking of baby carriages or walking aids in the hallway, provided that escape routes are not blocked or the safety of the general public is endangered in any other way. 

        General rest periods 

          • What are the time periods when housemates should avoid making noise (for example, loud music) or not use the common areas (for example, from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. on weekdays)?

          • What exactly belongs to unlawful noise is defined in §117 of the Code of Administrative Offences (Gesetz für Ordnungswidrigkeiten, OwiG). The quiet times mean that noises should not exceed the room’s volume. However, general music playing or children’s noise cannot be prohibited. Neither can the use of elevators or washing machines during quiet times nor the use of showers or baths (however, these noises should only last for a maximum of 30 minutes).

          Use of common rooms (if available)

            • What regulations apply to the use of common areas such as the attic, laundry room, basement hallways, courtyard, and garden? Where may bicycles be parked?

            House cleaning and regulations on garbage

              • When and how often do tenants have to clean the stairwell if no cleaning service is available?

              • How is garbage to be separated? Or provide a reference to the official regulations for the proper separation of garbage.

              Airing

                • Many house rules specify regulations and intervals at which the apartments and stairwells should be ventilated or heated.

                Barbecue regulations

                  • To what extent is barbecuing allowed? This can also be stated in the house rules: It can be restricted or prohibited. 

                  Smoking regulations

                    • In which areas of the house is smoking allowed and in which not? Many house rules specify smoking bans, for common areas, sometimes also on the private balcony or terraces. 

                    Doorbell signs and apartment doors

                      • What are the regulations for attaching name tags?

                      Snow and ice removal

                        • How are the times determined in which this service is to be done, if not done by a service provider?

                        3. Which regulations in the house rules are invalid?

                        In general, regulations in the house rules are invalid if they contradict the law or the rights of the rental agreement. As a general rule, all obligations must be consistent with the personal rights of the tenants and apply uniformly to all parties. We have already included some examples of which regulations are not legally enforceable in the list above. Other examples are that keeping animals or having visitors, in general, may not be prohibited.

                        4. What happens if the house rules are broken?

                        If tenants repeatedly break the house rules, you as the landlord can issue a warning. If the tenant continues to break the regulations of the house rules, you are entitled to give notice of termination after the warning.

                        5. Is there a template for house rules?

                        House rules should be drawn up individually for each household. To make sure that you have thought of everything and do not include any invalid rules, we have compiled the points in this blog post for you in a House rules template. Use the template to create your custom house rules. You can easily edit, save and print the PDF.

                        Do you have any further questions? Please feel free to contact our team at realestate@wunderflats.com.

                        Please note: This article does not constitute legal advice – the contents of this page have been prepared solely for your information. As we act as a platform, we can and may share our assessments, but we cannot provide you with a legally binding recommendation for your own further action.

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