In Berlin, an increasing number of property owners are choosing to use their previously rented apartments for their own use. This is easier when the apartment was purchased vacant, but more complicated when there are existing lease agreements.
“Eigenbedarf” (own-use) has now become one of the most common reasons for termination in Berlin, particularly due to the growing conversion of rental apartments into ownership units. In the last 8 years, approximately 119,804 rental apartments have been converted into ownership.
SUCCESSFULLY ASSERTING OWN USE REQUIREMENT
Apartment owners can terminate an existing tenancy contract through a notice of own use. This termination requires a detailed and plausible justification, which must be provided in the initial notice of termination to be effective.
The justification can relate to either personal usage or usage be relatives, for example.
If the justification is comprehensible, the notice of own use is successful. If property owners already possess a vacant apartment, it will be difficult to understand why they would want to terminate an existing tenancy for a second rented condominium due to own use.
TERMINATION DUE TO OWN USE CAN BE REJECTED
In case of a notice of termination due to own use, the current situation of the tenants is taken into consideration. “Hardship cases” such as older tenants with a long period of residence or health restrictions can diminish the success chances of the termination.
To be recognized as a hardship case, tenants must report issues such as health reasons no later than 2 months before the expiration of the notice period. Otherwise, reasons of this nature will no longer be recognized as hardship cases.
TENANTS ARE PROTECTED!
Before issuing a notice of termination for own use, property owners should assess whether the tenants are subject to the protection clause again termination. If tenants already living in the apartment during conversion, they cannot be terminated for a period of 10 years.
Even after a successful notice of termination for own use, affected tenants can still initiate legal action if the grounds for termination were not met. In such case, tenants can legally demand from the property owners the difference between the old and new rent for a period of up to 3 years.