The contract is signed, and the rent and deposit are transferred. Now everyone can relax. We have put together some information for you so that the apartment handover also goes smoothly. A little timely planning really pays off.
First of all: The exposé and lease agreement are binding
As soon as we are commissioned to broker an apartment, we photograph it. We discuss all details and key data precisely, update the information continuously, and confirm it with the lessors. The resulting exposé and the lease agreement are the binding basis for the upcoming rental.
At the handover, the apartment should look just as it was advertised. This applies to the fittings, the furnishings, and to the conditions as well.
In other words, if anything has changed in the meantime, discuss the changed conditions with each other in advance so that there are no surprises when moving into the apartment.
What exactly is an apartment handover?
At an apartment handover, the lessee and lessor examine the apartment together and record the condition in a protocol (property conditions report). Is everything in order? Is the apartment clean? Are there any defects? All this will be noted as exactly as possible. Photos are a good help as well. The move-in handover protocol documents the condition of the apartment when moving in. The move-out protocol documents the condition of the apartment when moving out.
Why is a carefully prepared protocol important?
A careful handover of the apartment with a protocol at the beginning of the lease ensure a smooth move-out. The move-in protocol is therefore the basis for the move-out handover and protocol. Photos are very helpful as a support; both parties can take pictures.
Where can I get a protocol template?
Lessors who carry out the handovers themselves will receive a protocol template from us by e-mail. If City-Wohnen carries out the handover, we prepare the protocol.
Who carries out the handovers?
Who carries out the apartment handovers depends on which service the lessor booked. For apartments with BASIC service package, the lessor carries out the apartment handovers. City-Wohnen carries out the handovers for apartments with the KOMFORT service package. We take care of the scheduling, key handover and drawing up the property condition report (protocol).
A prerequisite for handing over the apartment is that the rent and the deposit have been paid before the move-in handover.
What is checked (and what not) at the apartment handover?
Both when moving in and out, the general condition of the apartment is checked "by sight." The term "by sight" means that clearly visible, but not hidden damages, are recorded. The functionality of technical equipment, internet access, fold-out furniture, lighting, etc. is not checked. Bed coverings are not removed, mattresses are not lifted or turned, and furniture is not moved.
What if defects are discovered later?
Since not everything can be checked when handing over the apartment and some defects are not obvious at first glance, lessees have a few days to report any undetected problems. This applies in particular to technical equipment, the internet connection, functionality of furniture (such as pullout sofa beds), covered mattresses, blankets and pillows, bed base and light fixtures.
The defects should be photographed and reported to the lessor as soon as possible. If the defects are serious, an addendum to the handover report should be prepared.
Who gets a protocol?
If the apartment is handed over by the rental parties themselves, both parties will sign the protocol on site. Both parties will receive a protocol.
If City-Wohnen carries out the handover, the lessee and City-Wohnen sign on site. City-Wohnen sends the document and photos digitally to both rental parties by e-mail.
Inventory list check
Checking an inventory list is not part of the standard service. On request, we can check a simple, reduced inventory list for apartments with the KOMFORT service package. We must receive this list approximately 10 days before the apartment is handed over so that we can allow extra time for the inspection.
Important information about the apartment belongs in the handout
As soon as City-Wohnen has successfully brokered an apartment, we send all lessors our handout form by e-mail. The handout form is for recording all the necessary information concerning an apartment. This helps lessees settle into the apartment quickly.
Important information for the handout includes, for example, the contact details of people who can take care of any issues regarding your apartment if you are not available during the rental. Details such as the location of the garbage cans and the times of the garbage pick-up, the WLAN code etc. are also useful.
You should prepare the handout on your computer if possible and translate it into English. This is no problem these days with online translation tools. We have had good experience with the tool "DeepL."
Put together a small apartment folder with our handout form, copies of the operating instructions and perhaps with nice tips for the surroundings.
Why are contact people important?
During the rental period, there may always be occasions when you need to communicate with each other. This could be to clarify questions or to discuss a case of damage. Make sure to exchange all contact details in good time.
If you are not able to take care of things yourself during the rental period, you will need to call a contact person. This person should be easily accessible during the entire rental period, be familiar with the apartment and know what to do if something does not work.
During the rental period, City-Wohnen chiefly remains in the background. We as a mediating agency are not allowed to take on any administrative or repair tasks. Your contact people should also know this.
Lessees are responsible for minor repairs and, for example, the replacement of lightbulbs. You will find the details in your lease agreement under the item "Maintenance
How many keys will be handed over?
Each adult lessee should receive the most important keys. These include the keys for the doors to the building and the apartment. For less important keys, such as the mailbox key, one copy is sufficient.
Approximately one week after the move-in handover, we suggest you call or email each other to clarify any final questions and details. This way, everyone knows right away if something is missing or if there is still need for action.
Why the apartment should be sparkling clean at the handover and all appliances should work
At the apartment handover, the condition of the apartment is checked and recorded in the protocol. As a lessor, you can easily avoid problems by handing over the apartment as clean as a whistle and fully functional. This means all appliances and lights should work perfectly.If the apartment is handed over in this way, lessors can now expect the apartment to be returned at the end of the rental period equally well cared for and fully functional.
If there are (justified) complaints, schedule a follow-up apartment cleaning as soon as possible. Discuss this issue at the time of handover and note it in the property condition report.
If lessees do not notice until later that the apartment is not clean enough, this issue should be clarified between the rental parties. It is best to take photos to substantiate the complaint.
Most furnished apartments are "used" private apartments and not apartments with hotel standard. The motto for temporary living is: "Live and let live!" Show goodwill and willingness to compromise.
Space for one’s belongings
Lessees need enough space for their own belongings and do not want to live out of a suitcase for months on end. There should be enough storage space in the cupboards. We suggest lessors move personal belongings, valuables, photos, etc. to storage in the attic, cellar or a rented storage facility.
Sometimes something breaks during the rental period. In this case, the damage must be reported immediately to the lessor. Then you can discuss what has to be done and how the damage can be repaired.
Appliances such as the washing machine or television can also break down. This is of course very annoying and usually happens through no fault of the lessee. In this case, please inform your lessor immediately so that a replacement can be provided quickly.
The parties to the lease are responsible for the settlement and handling of damages themselves. City-Wohnen - as a housing agent - does not assume any administrative tasks and cannot commission any tradespeople. Neither is City-Wohnen a mediator should disputes arise between the contract parties.
At the latest when moving out, the obligation to inform about damages applies. This is also regulated by German tenancy law (§536c BGB). This applies above all to damage that cannot be determined by a visual inspection, for example in the case of appliances.
If defects or damages are detected during the move-out handover, this information must be included in the protocol. It is best to agree on how the damage is to be repaired and record this information in the protocol as well.
German broadcast fee and broadcast fee contribution number
In Germany, a broadcast fee (Rundfunkgebühr) is due for all apartments. It does not matter whether and how one uses TV or radio. Even if there are no radios in the apartment at all, this fee must be paid.
If the fee is already included in the rent, the broadcast fee number (Rundfunkbeitragsnummer) should be communicated at the latest when handing over the apartment (noted in the handout form). This number is required for requests from the authorities.
If the broadcast fee is not included in the rent, lessees are responsible for registering the apartment themselves.
Confirmation for registration in Hamburg
If relevant, we will send a prepared confirmation of rental for submission to the registration office (Wohnungsgeberbestätigung) together with the rental agreement. Alternatively, you can download this form directly from the website of the Hamburg authority (hamburg.de).
Maintenance of the apartment
The basic rule is „The apartment must be returned as it was handed over at the beginning of the lease.” The apartment should be kept in good condition during the rental period and should be maintained as if it were your own home. This is also in the lease agreement.
Regular maintenance includes, for example, sufficient ventilation so that no mold can develop as well as avoiding lime deposit build up in the bathroom and toilet. The repair of such damages can be quite expensive.
The furnishings should remain as they are, so no furniture may be taken out of the apartment or other furniture brought in without prior agreement. Do not reprogram electronic devices.
Bed linen and towels – clarify expectations about their return
Even if the end of the rental period is still far in the future when the apartment is handed over, it is worth addressing this issue at an early stage. Since the apartment move-out usually takes place in the morning, perhaps directly after breakfast, it will not be possible to return the laundry cleaned, dried, and folded. It is better to clarify expectations about the return of the laundry in good time.
In our experience, it is best if lessors take the used linens with them for washing and have replacement linens for the following occupants. Lessor and lessee can agree that the beds will be stripped and the used linens left in a certain place.
Allow viewing appointments for the follow-up lease
Many apartments are sublet more than once. In this case, we will look for new lessee, and it may be necessary to arrange viewing appointments during the rental period.
We will do our best to minimize the inconvenience caused by viewings, but you are legally obliged to make viewing appointments possible and to keep the apartment presentable. Refusal to do so can lead to a claim for damages for loss of rent.
When does the move-out handover take place?
The rental agreement runs until 12:00 noon on the last day of rental. This is stated in the lease. Ideally, the move-out handover takes place in the morning so that the apartment can be prepared and cleaned before the next rental.
If there is no time pressure, and if the lessor is carrying out the apartment handover, it is quite possible to arrange a different time.
If City-Wohnen carries out the final inspection, the appointments will take place between 8:30 - 12:00 o'clock, depending on the tour schedule.
What is checked during the move-out handover?
The same rules apply here as for the move-in. The apartment is checked "by sight" and technical equipment cannot be tested for its functionality (see above). The basis for the move-out inspection is the handover protocol from the move-in.
In general, an apartment should be in the same condition when moving out as when moving in. This also means, for example, that all furniture and the complete inventory should be in their original places.
Normal signs of use and wear and tear are noted in the protocol, but they are not considered damage that can be charged (§ 538 BGB). This is especially important for apartments that have been rented for a longer period of time.
However, if an apartment has not been maintained properly, claims for damages can be made. If, for example, the apartment and its furnishings are not sufficiently cleaned and ventilated, any resulting damage must be professionally repaired.
Checklist for the last day
So that the apartment handover can proceed quickly and without problems, here is a small overview for lessees:
You will find information about the final cleaning in your lease agreement. Usually the lease agreement calls for a professional final cleaning either “according to time or effort” or for a fixed price, but other agreements are also possible.
If a professional cleaning company does the final cleaning, this generally takes place immediately after you move out. The lessor usually takes care of the scheduling, and the costs are generally deducted from the deposit. If your lessor hires a cleaning company, it is best to discuss in advance which costs you will have to pay. You can read more about cleaning interim apartments here.
If agreed that the lessees will do the final cleaning themselves, they must naturally return the apartment in tiptop shape. Lessors can also charge for the additional time and effort if the apartment is not clean.
Repayment of the deposit
If lessees are careful with the apartment and the inventory, this is the best guarantee for getting the deposit back in full. Please note that mold, odors or lime scale can also incur removal costs. Damages should rather be prevented ahead of time or not even arise.
If the apartment has been handed over properly and there are no complaints or open items such as bills for electricity or the final cleaning, the deposit must be returned promptly. About one month before the end of the rental period, both parties will receive a detailed information sheet about the deposit.
According to case law, normal signs of use may not be deducted from the deposit and are considered covered by the rent.
If only a smaller charge is still outstanding, a part of the deposit can be transferred back.
Forwarding request for mail
And one final tip: To ensure that mail is not lost after the end of the rental period, it is best to give the Deutsche Post a forwarding order. You can book this service online (subject to a fee).
City-Wohnen is the mediating agency. We are not lessors.
Please note that City-Wohnen is not a lessor, does not own apartments and does not furnish apartments. Equipment and cleanliness are always the responsibility of the lessors.