When terminating the rental agreement, both the tenant and the landlord must strictly comply with the Civil Code. Any provision of the rental agreement is invalid if it is in contradiction with the Code. However, a large number of rental agreements contain these invalid provisions. The most common invalid provision is the possibility of termination without stating the reason by the landlord and the tenant or termination by the landlord for a breach of the rental agreement which is not serious to that extent that the termination can be based on it. We need to know the reasons for termination well in order to avoid a possible lawsuit or so that they could be assessed by the court as justified. Let’s go.
Without stating the reason (§ 2231)
The tenant may terminate the rental agreement without stating the reason only if the rental agreement is for an indefinite period of time. The period of notice is 3 months. Regarding the fact that most rental agreements are fixed-term, the following grounds for termination are more relevant.
Change of circumstances (§ 2287)
The tenant may terminate the rental agreement for a definite period of time if their personal circumstances have changed in such a manner that the tenant can´t reasonably be required to continue the rental agreement. Typically, this includes a new job in another town or inability to pay the rent caused by the loss or change of job. The period of notice is 3 months.
The tenant also has the option to terminate the rental agreement if the property becomes unfit for habitation or if the landlord hasn´t removed the damage or defect of the property within a sufficient period given to them by the tenant. Such termination is without notice and therefore the rental agreement should be terminated immediately after the delivery of the notice.
The landlord needs to use the property (§ 2288)
If the landlord needs the apartment for himself, e.g. because of a divorce, or for his relatives, he can give the tenant notice of termination of rental agreement but only if the rental agreement is concluded for an indefinite period. Relatives are understood as families in the direct line (child, grandchild, great-grandchild, father, grandfather, great-grandfather), in the collateral line (brother, sister) and second degree (cousin). The period of notice is 3 months.
Breach of contract by the tenant
Here it is necessary to explain that there are two categories of breach of rental agreement. The first is a gross violation and the second a particularly serious violation. Gross violation is not as serious and therefore it is associated with a period of notice of 3 months. Particularly serious violation is harsher and the rental agreement is terminated without notice. We´ll now specify which category individual violations fall into.
Particularly serious breach of the rental agreement (§ 2291)
It includes the following reasons:
So that the landlord could give notice in such cases, they must proceed in a certain way. The termination is without period of notice, that means immediate, and the legislators wanted to give the tenant a second chance. Prior to termination, the landlord must first ask the tenant to stop their „defective“ behavior and warn them that he intends to give them notice for this reason. Only when the tenant doesn´t change their behaviour can the landlord proceed with termination. The property should be handed over without undue delay after the delivery of the notice, within 30 days at the latest.
Gross breach of rental agreement
It includes the following reasons:
In the event of a gross breach of rental agreement by the tenant, the period of notice is 3 months.
It needs to be clarified when the specific deadline starts to run. The beginning of the notice period is always set on the first day of the calendar month following the notice was delivered to the other party. Thus, for example, the tenant receives a notice of 8.2.2021, the notice period begins on March 1, 2021, if it lasts three months, then it ends on May 31, 2021.
The notice can be delivered in several ways and the chosen method will depend on the nature of the relationship between the parties. In the case of a functioning relationship between the parties, it will be sufficient to send the notice by email, choose the email address specified in the lease agreement or the email address that was used for communication between the parties, or both. The email should include a request to confirm that the email has arrived and the other party has read it.
In the case of a problematic relationship, it is good to have complete security of delivery and therefore it is possible:
I recommend specifying the method of delivery in the lease agreement.