Home Services: The House Rules

Whether grilling on the balcony or storing garbage bags in the hallway – certain things can forbid landlords in the house rules. But there are also limits. What landlords can demand from their tenants and what not.

With house rules, landlords can regulate living together in an apartment building and impose certain obligations on their tenants. For example, how and when tenants can use common rooms or when rest periods apply. Also certain work, like the regular cleaning of the stairway or the winter service, can be transferred to the tenant. However landlords must consider also some things, if they want to provide a house rules

House rules: display in the hallway or part of the rental agreement

If the landlord wants to impose certain work on its tenant, such as snow shovels, yard sweeping or the stairway cleaning, the house regulations must be compellingly a component of the lease. That means: The house rules must be either an appendix to the lease or be mentioned in the lease.

If the house regulations are only a notice in the corridor or are presented to the tenant separately from the lease, no tasks and obligations may be imposed on the tenant in it, which go beyond its legal or contractual obligation.

The house rules may then only contain so-called “ordering regulations”, such as regulations for the use of common rooms, closing times of the front door or regulations on rest periods. Naturally the regulations may not limit the tenant however in its personality right or offend against valid right.

These points can regulate landlords in the house rules

There is no law that obliges landlords to establish house rules. For this reason, there are no standard forms. The following points can be regulated in house rules:

Rest periods

Information on the statutory rest periods in the house is an integral part of almost every house regulation. Night rest prevails between 22 and 6 o’clock. The midday rest is no longer regulated nationally, but can be set between 12 and 15 o’clock. These rest periods do not have to be mentioned separately in the lease. Because with these regulations the landlord demands only one, which stands also in the law and at which the tenant must hold anyway.

Use of the common areas

If the tenants share certain rooms, such as the laundry room or the attic, it is advisable to regulate the rights and obligations of the tenants in this respect in the house rules. Landlords may, for example, specify the times at which tenants may use communal washing machines or how much space each tenant is entitled to dry his laundry. These regulations do not necessarily have to be mentioned in the rental agreement.

Rules for the community garden

If the apartment house has a communal garden, the house rules should regulate what is permitted in the garden and what is not. It can be regulated, for example, whether and when tenants may set up deck chairs, flower pots and other movable furniture or whether they may grow vegetables. These rules do not need to be mentioned in the lease.  However, if the landlord wants his tenants to maintain the garden, i.e. mow the lawn, rake leaves or weed, these tasks must also be part of the lease.

Special case grilling: There is no uniform jurisdiction on the popular issue of barbecuing. Grilling on balcony, terrace or in the garden is in principle permitted. However landlords can forbid or restrict grilling in the lease and then also in the house rules.

House security

Safety aspects should also be regulated in the house rules. For example, landlords can specify closing times for the front door or stipulate that escape routes must not be obstructed. It can also be forbidden to store dangerous substances in the underground car park. These regulations also apply if they are not part of the rental agreement.

Cleaning tasks, sweeping leaves and clearing snow

Landlords should also address the general observance of order in the house in the house rules. For example, tenants can be prohibited from depositing garbage in front of the apartment door.

By means of the house rules, landlords can also impose work on their tenants in and around the house. These include snow shovels, leaf sweeping or weekly cleaning of the stairwell. If the landlord wants his tenants to take care of these tasks, the house rules must be a mandatory part of the tenancy agreement. Otherwise the tenant is not obligated to these work.

Important: The landlord may impose however no work on its tenants, which offends against valid right or is disproportionate. So the landlord cannot require for example from the tenant once in the year the house front to paint or the tiles in the hall to renew.

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