The key handover protocol

Answers to all questions on key handover and a key handover protocol for landlords

Answers to all questions on key handover and a key handover protocol

There are a lot of things to consider when renting out real estate. To protect themselves, landlords should prepare some documents, including handover protocols, which help record the condition of the apartment and the inventory. The key handover protocol records how many and what kind of keys are handed out to the tenants and how they should be returned at the end of the tenancy. Here you will find a template you can easily fill out and attach to the rental agreement.

In this article, you will learn how the handover of keys works and what should be recorded in the key handover protocol.

1. What is the key handover and when is it done?

In most cases, the keys are handed over during the handover of the apartment. Generally, the keys are handed over on the day the new tenants move into the apartment but it can take place on another day.

Since the rental agreement for renting furnished apartments is usually concluded online, the handover is often the first time that the two parties get to meet in person. While the person who will live in the apartment always attends the handover of keys, the owner or landlord can also be represented by a proxy.

In addition to handing over the keys, both parties should carry out an apartment inspection and discuss and note down the specifics of the rented property and the furnishings.

As a landlord, you should prepare yourself carefully for the handover of the keys and check the apartment in advance. In most cases, a smooth handover will make the tenants feel more at ease and therefore more likely to take good care of the apartment and its furnishings.

Even if additional keys are handed over during the rental period, we always recommend preparing a key handover protocol.

2. What is the key handover protocol?

The key handover protocol is a document that is filled out in writing by the owner or landlord in agreement with the tenants in the course of the handover of the apartment or keys, and the inspection of the apartment. Usually, a template is printed out or used digitally on a tablet, where the most important points of the document are listed.

First of all, the key data about the apartment and the two parties to the rental agreement must be recorded. In addition to the addresses of the apartment, the names of the contracting parties (landlord and tenant) and the date of handover should be included.

A key handover record can be part of a comprehensive handover record, attached to the rental agreement or drawn up separately. It makes sense for you, as the landlord, to draw up a new key handover protocol when handing over additional keys due to a defect, loss or change of locks during the rental period.

The number and type of keys handed over should also be entered in the document. Usually, when handing over a rental property, in addition to the keys for the apartment and front door, other keys are handed over for the letterbox, cellar or other doors and rooms.

3. Why is the key handover protocol important?

Whenever keys are handed over, a key handover protocol should be drawn up.

The handover can be carried out between different parties. These are usually:

  • Landlord and tenant
  • Agent or cleaning service 
  • Tenant and subtenant
  • Seller and buyer

If you sublet your apartment, it is not only important to prepare a detailed key handover protocol but to also check the legal requirements in advance. You can find more about subletting in Germany here.

4. Who organizes the handover of the keys?

The organization of the handover of the keys is in the hands of the landlord or the representative of the owner. If the two parties (landlord and tenant) agree on the rental property, the start of the tenancy and the handover of the apartment must be clarified.

As the landlord, you should arrange an appointment for the handover of the apartment and keys after signing the contract and meet the new tenant at the agreed time at the rental property. You should be prepared and have all the necessary documents for handing over the apartment. 

Do you have any further questions about key handovers, apartment handovers? Feel free to contact us via email, we will be happy to help. If you’d you like to rent out your furnished apartment, you can get started with Wunderflats right away.


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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