What is insufficient power supply

Rent reduction due to insufficient power supply is legal

In the case decided, a landlord had sued because her tenant had reduced his rent due to the weak power supply.

She asked for the rent withheld to be reimbursed and for the tenant to move out.

The form lease agreement that has existed between the parties since 1985 states, among other things:

The tenant is entitled to set up household machines in the rooms if and to the extent that the capacity of the existing installations is sufficient and nuisance to the residents and neighbors as well as impairment of the rented property and the property are not expected.

In the case of the connection of electrical devices that lead to an overload of the existing network, the tenant is obliged to bear the costs of strengthening or other changes to the network …“

It must be possible to operate several household appliances in parallel

According to the BGH, the tenant rightly reduced the price. Even in a non-modernized apartment in an old building, the electricity supply must at least enable the operation of a larger household appliance, such as a washing machine, as well as other common household appliances, such as a vacuum cleaner, at the same time.

The rental contract clause agreed between the parties does not justify any other assessment. In the opinion of the Karlsruhe judges, it is ineffective due to inappropriate discrimination against the tenant.

Because the tenant has to bear the costs of strengthening the network indefinitely in the event of an overload of the electrical system and would not have any warranty claims against the landlord even with a completely defective electrical network to which no device can be connected at all.

Even in old buildings: Your tenant is entitled to an adequate power supply

Your tenants have the right to have their rented apartment kept in a condition suitable for living. This also includes an adequate power supply.

If your rented apartment is not supplied with sufficient electricity, there is a defect that you need to rectify. The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) has decided that you cannot contractually exclude this obligation (BGH, judgment of February 10, 2010, Az. VIII ZR 343/08).

Example: Acceptance of the rent reduction in the utility bill

According to the case law of the Federal Court of Justice, a tenant may extend a (justified) rent reduction to include operating costs. In this case you have to include the rent reduction in your utility bill.

First, you create your utility bill as normal. Only when you have determined the billing amount do you deduct the reduction amount from this - of course only if the rent reduction was justified in terms of reason and amount.

The unpaid operating costs are therefore regarded as not owed. You can determine whether the tenant has to pay you an additional claim or whether there is a credit in his / her favor:

According to his rental agreement, the tenant made a total of € 1,200 in advance payments during the billing period. Your statement shows that costs of € 1,000 were actually incurred.

The tenant was entitled to reduce the rent by 20% (= 20% × € 1,000 = € 200) for the entire accounting period. This means that he only owes you 80% of the operating costs, i.e. € 800 (€ 1,000 less € 200). Since he has paid € 1,200, the settlement leads to a credit balance for the tenant of € 400.

The tenant again made € 1,200 in advance payments in the accounting period.

The billing results in operating costs of 1,600 €. In this case, the tenant is entitled to reduce the rent by 10% (= 10% × € 1,600 = € 160). Here the tenant owes operating costs of € 1,440 (€ 1,600 less € 160).

Since the tenant has actually only paid € 1,200, you still have an additional claim against your tenant in the amount of € 240.

Rent reduction: Noise is not always a legitimate reason Many tenants react immediately to noise pollution with a rent reduction. However, noise has to be accepted in the following cases. > read more

© Verlag für die Deutsche Wirtschaft AG, all rights reserved