Tenancy Law Questions: Lost Keys – Who Pays? -Panorama

Can you give the postman the key to the house? Can the landlord keep the apartment key? Top questions and answers.

Andreas Kunze

07/03/2022 – 20:31

The tenant receives the house and apartment keys at the beginning of the lease agreement, and returns them at the end. But in everyday life, disputes often arise, for example, about an extra key for the babysitter tenants or cleaner.

How many keys does he need? the host at least transfer to the tenants?

The tenant must have at least two house and apartment entrance door keys, one other apartment co-user is entitled to one set. This was decided by a number of German courts. The cost of such minimal equipment is covered by the lessor, as it is what primarily allows the normal use of the apartment or house. The keys are usually the responsibility of the owner. If the key breaks and needs to be replaced, the landlord is also responsible – unless they can prove that the tenant is at fault.

What if the tenant needs more keys?

The tenant can request as many keys as he needs, but he must pay for the costs himself. In addition, the lessor must be informed of all copies. The lessor in turn must give permission if the locking system prevents the production of other keys.

Who can the keys be transferred to?

Provision of other keys shall not be dependent on named users. Relatives or partners are usually not a problem. German courts have also upheld the right to keys for the following persons: the postman, the newspaper delivery boy, the cleaner, the nursing service and the nanny. However, everyone who enters the house and apartment with a key must be with the tenant. The fact that the daughter’s boyfriend got the key was too far, at least for the Munster District Court.

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Can the landlord keep the second apartment key ready?

Owners may not keep the key, even in emergencies. Exception: The tenant agrees that the landlord will have a spare key. Otherwise, the following applies: It is not allowed to keep the second key without the knowledge of the tenant or even to enter the apartment with it. The tenant can change the lock during the rental period. When moving out, the tenant must give the landlord all house and apartment keys, including spare ones. If the tenant fails to do so, the landlord may install new locks at the tenant’s expense.

Lost your key: When do you have to pay for a new one as a tenant?

If tenants have to pay for a new locking system for their house due to a lost key, it can cost thousands of euros. However, the landlord can only claim compensation for the change under certain conditions. At the locksmith around the corner, a copy of the house or apartment key costs about five euros. If the template is a numbered copy of the locking system, the home owner or administrator must give written consent. Otherwise, the locksmith is not allowed to come to work.

What happens if a new locking system needs to be installed?

If the landlord refuses to provide a copy of the lost key for security reasons, and installs a new locking system instead, it becomes more expensive: a new cylinder must be installed at each front door of the apartment, because the keys of such locks are used to adjust both the front door and the apartment door. Expect to pay around 100 euros per cylinder.

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When are tenants to blame for losing a key?

The tenant is at fault, even if he was simply negligent. If the car is broken into and the keys are lost, it can be blamed on the renter. It is a different situation when a tenant is robbed and his keys disappear. The landlord cannot accept his responsibility for this.

What if it’s in the lease?

Some landlords insist on a clause in the tenancy agreement which generally requires the tenant to cover all costs arising from the loss of the key, regardless of fault and the risk of misuse. Such conditions in the rental contract forms have been classified as invalid more than once.

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