Crocodilian Blog
The Temporary Rental Blog from Berlin

Ten Tips for Tenants of furnished Flats: How to make sure to get the Security Deposit back

Christine Kandler Von Christine Kandler
Chaos in apartment

With 97 % of all rentals, owners and tenants are on good terms, when the tenant moves out. In 3% of cases, they are not. This doesn't mean that the owner just wants to make some extra money off the tenant if he/she does not pay the full amount of the deposit back.

Let’s be honest: Some tenants leave a mess.

Thank god, this does not happen on a daily basis, otherwise we would have to start looking for a new job. But once in a while we indeed see photos of furnished apartments taken after the tenants have moved out, who have left quite a mess. Strangely enough though, even these tenants claim that they have left the flat in a proper condition.

So it is time to give some helpful advice to tenants of furnished flats.

No Parties

Berlin has an exciting nightlife. So there is no need to party in the rented furnished apartment.
And yes! You will be responsible for your guests spilling red wine over the new white sofa.

No Flatmates: Cats and Dogs

Not all owners accept pets in a furnished apartment. If you want to bring your pet, please tell the agency in advance and the agency will check with the owner.
If you want to get a pet after you have moved in, please ask the owner for permission. The owner might ask for a higher deposit, and understandably so. Small pets which are not house-trained yet can destroy the carpet and do much more damage. Cats sometimes have very destructive hobbies!
The owner won’t be very pleased if you don’t tell him/her when he/she finds a cat-scratched sofa or other such furniture that is beyond repair for this reason.

No Endless Number of Visitors

Owners always rent out to a certain number of tenants. These people are also mentioned in the rental agreement.
Of course, you are allowed to have visitors. Please remember, however, that you don’t run a bed and breakfast. There should not be an endless stream of visitors staying at the furnished flat. If there is an additional sofa bed, you can accommodate 1-2 persons, but not a whole football team sleeping somewhere on the floor.
The bills included in the rent are always calculated for a maximum number of tenants. It is not a flatrate.

Cleaning on a regular Basis

Tenants have to clean the apartment regularly. It is not enough to just rely on the final cleaning which you have to pay for after you have moved out.
If you don’t keep the apartment clean, there will be higher costs in the end and some things may even have to be replaced.
You should wash the bed-linen and towels regularly. If you leave tons of dirty linen in the apartment, the cleaner has to take these to the laundry. It is cheaper if you only leave a set of bed-linen and a set of towels. The bed-linen also has to be professionally dry-cleaned if there are stains that do not come out in the washing.

No Illegal Up- and Download

Nearly all flats have internet and WiFi. You should make sure that you don’t participate in any illegal file-sharing. If you do so, the owner will receive cease and desist warnings from the authorities and will be asked to pay a few hundred euro as a fine. If he/she can prove that you rented the flat when this happened, you will most likely have to pay. In this case it is always good to contact a lawyer.

Don't take the Keys with you

Please do not move out and take the keys with you. Yes, this also happens.
It is, of course, not okay, if you only return them sometime in the foreseeable future. It should be immediately when you leave.
The next tenant does not feel very relaxed when he/she moves in knowing that you can still enter the place.
If you don’t return the keys immediately, the owner might change the lock at your cost.

Tell the Owner if anything happened

Please contact the owner if there are damages – leaking pipes, water in the apartment water stains on the ceiling. Please don’t wait. This will prevent further damage and will make sure that the owner or the management of the house can react immediately.

No Excessive Heating

If you always turn up the heating to full-blast and regulate the temperature by leaving the windows open for hours at a time during winter, the owner won’t be very happy. It also makes sense to wear a sweater instead of a T-shirt.
Please be eco-friendly and don’t waste energy. Nobody should be freezing in any apartment, but nobody should waste energy either. The owner might ask you to pay if your heating bills are twice as high as average.

Read the Rental Agreement

All of these issues can be found in the rental agreement. It really helps if tenants read it. :-).

If the Damage is done

It always makes sense to come to an agreement. This is much better than posting hate mails on the internet! Sometimes it is hard to believe that the apartment has been left in a perfect condition when the owner sends pictures proving the opposite.

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