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Berlin has approved the Mietendeckel law which limits the rent. I've been living in the current apartment for over a year. In February I received a letter from the landlord telling us to halt the previously agreed rent increase and continue paying the original rent for now, and saying that they would send the criteria letter a bit later. However, that letter never seems to have arrived.

I wonder if this is a common situation that has happened if the current rent is clearly higher than the Mietendeckel (my apartment is really small but in a central area). I guess if they send the criteria letter now, it would suggest that I should pay a much lower rent, and this would put them in an awkward position? However, it seems that by the Mietendeckel law, the landlord is allowed to continue charging the original rent until 23/11/2020. Therefore, even if there is theoretically a criteria letter that established that the new rent should be lower than the current rent, they can still demand the Mieter to pay the original rent until 23/11/2020. Is this understanding correct?

Maybe they're expecting the Bundesverfassungsgericht to overturn the law. However, I'm not sure what would happen if the decision still doesn't come out on 23/11/2020. That would seemingly cause some uncertainty in Berlin.

I'm wondering if I should simply wait until 23/11/2020 or the decision from Bundesverfassungsgericht, whichever comes earlier, before I take any action. My thought process is that, even if I do demand the criteria letter and receive it now, it doesn't really help me, since the landlord is still allowed to charge the original rent until 23/11/2020. If the law then gets overturned, it would potentially put me in an awkward position, since I don't have any intention of moving out for now.

I have bought legal insurance and my idea is that if things are still up in the air by 23/11/2020 I may contact a lawyer and demand a lower rent. I don't know if starting only then would delay things a bit.

I also have no idea how likely it is for the law to be overturned. From what I've read so far, many people do seem to think that the law will be overturned, but it's not sure when.

Or would it still make sense for me to demand this criteria letter now anyways?

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  • With the criteria letter, do you mean: Informationsschreiben / die Auskunft nach §6 Abs. 4 des MietenWoG, which the landlord is required to make available to you by the 23.04.2020? Aug 4 '20 at 14:12
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In February I received a letter from the landlord telling us to halt the previously agreed rent increase and continue paying the original rent for now

This is correct. You should pay the same rent that was being paid on the 18.06.2019.

You should have recieved a letter by the 23th of April 2020 (Informationsschreiben / die Auskunft nach §6 Abs. 4 des MietenWoG) what the maximum rent that is allowed is.

Any rent that is higher than 20% of that given sum, must no longer be paid after the 23.11.2020.

I have bought legal insurance and my idea is that if things are still up in the air by 23/11/2020 I may contact a lawyer and demand a lower rent.

I assume this is a Rechtsschutzversicherung.

If you have not yet received the required letter, which would now be 3 months overdue, then the landlord is is violation of §6 Abs. 4 des MietenWoG.

You should then start that process with your lawyer now.

If the rent is greater that the 20% and no formel notice is sent by the landlord by the end of this month (August), then the lawyer should write them in September requesting compliance.

Should they not reply or agree by the end of September, then the lawyer should inform the Senatsverwaltung für Stadtentwicklung und Wohnen. They will probably 'invite' the landlord in for a conversation.

Until the Bundesverfassungsgericht states otherwise, the MietenWoG is binding on all parties.


Mietendeckel Informationen (final page of dialog)
Der/die Vermietende muss Ihnen innerhalb von zwei Monaten [23.04.2020] nach Inkrafttreten des Gesetzes unaufgefordert die zur Berechnung der Mietobergrenze maßgeblichen Kriterien mitteilen. Sofern die »eingefrorene« Miete vom 18.06.2019 mehr als 20 % über der zulässigen Mietobergrenze liegt, ist diese überhöhte Miete neun Monate nach Inkrafttreten des Gesetzes verboten.

The landlord must inform you within two months [April 23, 2020] of the entry into force of the law without being asked the criteria relevant for calculating the rent limit. If the "frozen" rent from June 18, 2019 is more than 20% above the permissible rent limit, this excessive rent is prohibited nine months after the law comes into force.

Wenn der/die Vermietende ggf. auch trotz einer freundlichen Erinnerung an seine/ihre Pflichten ab dem 23.11.2020 eine höhere Miete als die zulässige Mietobergrenze verlangen sollte, wenden Sie sich an die Senatsverwaltung für Stadtentwicklung und Wohnen.

If, despite a friendly reminder of his / her duties, the landlord should, after November 23, 2020, ask for a higher rent than the permitted rent limit, please contact the Senate Department for Urban Development and Housing.


Sources:

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  • Makes sense. However, as you also cited in your answer, it seems that "If, despite a friendly reminder of his / her duties, the landlord should, after November 23, 2020, ask for a higher rent than the permitted rent limit, please contact..." Does it mean that even if I get the Informationsschreiben now, the landlord can still demand me to pay the original rent, until 23.11.20? Or does it mean that the moment I receive the Informationsschreiben, I'm already supposed to pay the lowered rent, even if the date is before 23.11.20. This was unclear to me.
    – xji
    Aug 5 '20 at 8:41
  • Yeah, it's the Rechtsschutzversicherung, and I hope the Mieterrecht is also covered by that.
    – xji
    Aug 5 '20 at 8:53
  • @yji That is the quote from your given source (first link in my answer). The Informationsschreiben will state what the highest rent for your house is (Mietobergrenze). If your present rent is 20% higher than that, it must be reduced to the Mietobergrenze starting on the 23rd of November 2020. Yes, Miete is almost always covered. Aug 5 '20 at 8:53
  • Thanks for the explanation. So I actually found a Reddit thread on this topic reddit.com/r/berlin/comments/gq6v58/mietendeckel_again, and apparently the Berlin Senate has decided to grant a 6 months reprieve and not impose fines on the Vermieter if they fail to provide the Informationsschreiben, "due to the COVID situation", which is interesting. berlin.de/special/immobilien-und-wohnen/nachrichten/…
    – xji
    Aug 5 '20 at 14:49
  • There's also a sentence that "Die im Gesetz vorgesehenen Melde- und Informationspflichten können durch die Vermietenden aufgrund der Corona-Krise ggf. nicht fristgerecht erfüllt werden. Für diesen Fall stellt das Land Berlin in Aussicht, dass bei so begründbaren Verletzungen der Rechtspflichten auf Sanktionsmaßnahmen wie Ordnungsgelder verzichtet wird." on the Mietendeckel Informationen website, which probably refers to the same thing.
    – xji
    Aug 5 '20 at 14:50

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