Those who value a neat ambience can of course prepare the apartment at their own expense at any time. The tenant can even demand that the landlord renovate the apartment – at least if the initial condition has deteriorated significantly. Then the tenant has to contribute half of the costs (according to the Federal Court of Justice, July 8, 20, ZR 163/18). And since most landlords hire craftsmen for this type of work, it can be expensive for the tenant.
There is one exception to the principle of “unrenovated in, unrenovated out again”: “If the tenant has received adequate financial compensation for the pending renovation costs when moving in, the same rules apply as for a renovated apartment,” says Hartmann.
2. What applies to cosmetic repairs when renting a newly renovated apartment?
“In order for an apartment to be considered renovated, there may only be insignificant signs of use,” explains Hartmann. If the apartment was renovated when moving in, the landlord can request that it be returned when it is renovated. But: “That only applies if the cosmetic repairs in the rental agreement have been effectively transferred to the tenant,” emphasizes the lawyer. “If the corresponding agreements are ineffective, the tenant may return the apartment unrenovated.”
For example, rigid deadlines in the contract such as “every three years” are ineffective, whereas soft formulations such as “at intervals of about three years” or “generally every three years” are effective. Fixed color specifications in the rental agreement, such as “white” or “beige”, are also ineffective – the landlord can only request “neutral colors”. (Nevertheless, when moving out, you should not hand over the apartment painted in bright colors: If this makes it practically impossible to rent, you may have to pay compensation.)
The landlord may not contractually require a specialist company to carry out the work: The tenant may swing the brush himself if the result is correct. Many legal details of cosmetic repairs are therefore quite complicated: If in doubt, you should therefore have your own rental agreement checked by an expert.