Monday, February 10, 2014

Germany and the Renting Mess

Over the past decade, I've come to view dozens of TV news shows and documentaries which featured the topic of the "bad renter" and the problems in kicking them out here in Germany.

A lawyer will tell you that Germany has an amazing number of laws.  There are laws to protect kids, bakeries, old folks, car enthusiasts, hunters, fish, dogs, etc.  Among these laws....there a couple of things geared to protect the rights of someone who rents an apartment.  Most of the time....they work right.  Occasionally, it's a big mess.

Yesterday, I sat and watched a twenty-five minute piece on a guy who owned a building with his little coffee bar (a minor success), his small apartment behind the business, and a big five-room apartment on the second floor.  The people who'd rented this fairly nice apartment for a very low-price (roughly 550 Euro)....should have been paying forty percent more (my humble opinion).

The renting folks were a mess.  They had a dog that crapped on the one cleaned it.  The entrance had a smell.  Cigarette butts were everywhere around the outside of the building.

So a lawyer got called in to start paperwork to kick them out.  With rights, you can drag this procedure in Germany out for a whole year....especially if the lawyer screws up on any minor detail.

The TV crew went through the steps.  No one from this family wanted to really be on TV, and they utilized gov't provided lawyer help in fighting this the entire way.  I came to figure....they were all Hartz IV recipients (welfare folks).

So the day finally came when they were kicked out and this owner could view the damage.  There was dog crap throughout the interior of the apartment, various mold and mildew, and lots of small damage.  I'd take a guess that you'd have to spend around $10,000 minimum to clean up the place....repaint....and fix the broken stuff.  The bathroom sink, tub, and toilet?  Totally ruined.  Figure another $10,000 for bathroom renovation by itself.  Who pays?  The guy can try to drag them into court, but they'd just get the government to pay for their lawyer help and the fine in the end.

The TV show guy knew that part.  The government won't do much of anything because of those particular laws.  But it's a curious thing.  The camera kept rolling as the owner and the TV guy stood in the room where a baby bed was located....with dog crap and a vast amount of dirt around everything.  One of the rent folks had a really bad and unsanitary conditions....which would invite a social worker to start a file....demand inspections.....and threaten the various members of the family with fresh new laws that they weren't that familiar with. was a twist here.

So, from the social office folks in this town.....they will get calls today from residents who viewed the show and ask what exactly they will do about this poor kid.  They probably don't like the pressure.....but the TV show guy figured the best way to fix this problem....was to put the very people helping the renter crowd....on their butt.  Harassment via inspections, the health department, and the social office.....punishment in a way.

Years ago.....everyone wanted various rights as a person renting a place in Germany.  Well, they got them.  But they got a four-star mess attached to them as well.  My humble opinion.

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