German landlords have plenty in common with their British counterparts but must also contend with even longer legal battles, according to one young couple who've had to evict problem tenants.
Sascha and Angelika Rothe live in southern Germany where an eviction action can take up to two years if a tenant refuses to leave, while a termination notice becomes invalid if the tenant then settles their rent arrears or a significant part of them. The couple are also fans of hit British TV show Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords.
'That's why we decided to give our first tenants money to move out,'� Sascha tells LandlordZONE.
'They claimed there had been various problems with the property '� all unfounded '� and often paid rent late. We served three months' notice, but they moved out before then, leaving dangerous broken glass bottles for the new tenant to find in the garden.'�
In Germany, rental contracts can be made verbally or in writing, and if a tenant breaks the contract, a landlord must warn them about any problem three times before issuing the termination notice.
A deposit is usually three months' rent but it doesn't have to be paid all at once or at the start of the tenancy and instead can be paid in three instalments, the first at the beginning and then with the subsequent two rent payments. Landlords need to put the money in a separate bank account and pay tenants the deposit along with any interest when they move out.
Landlords are legally entitled to require proof of creditworthiness and solvency, and a reference from a previous landlord to prove the tenant doesn't have rent arrears and has made punctual rent payments as well as three payslips.
Another unusual difference is that it's common practice for many in Germany to demand this from prospective tenants when viewing a property to weed out bad tenants '� and some even hang on to the paperwork.
Rent is paid monthly in advance but can't exceed the local rent index while rent increases must also be specified in the rental agreement and can only be increased by 20% within three years or after building improvements.
The couple enjoy being landlords, particularly as their new tenants live next door and are great neighbours, adds Sascha. 'We do quite a lot together, barbecuing, hiking and even look after their daughter.'�
Read more: How to handle the eviction process.