What happens if the rent becomes unaffordable?

The corona virus currently keeps the entire world in suspense. The economy of many countries in particular is suffering significantly from the current crisis. While healthcare and retail workers continue to perform their jobs due to the constraint in public life, companies in other industries have to let their employees work in the home office, find another solution, or, in the worst case, shut down.

Vapiano, for example, recently filed for bankruptcy – the restaurant chain has become insolvent due to the corona crisis. But not only companies get into financial difficulties – employees and many people in general also suffer from the current situation. A question that many then ask themselves in this difficult time: What happens to the rent if it cannot be paid?

Late payment by Corona

In companies, a distinction is currently made between two cases in which the use of the business premises cannot be guaranteed: In the first case, the trader has tested positive for the corona virus or is suspected of being affected, which is why he must be placed in state-ordered quarantine. In the second case, the trader is exposed to the government’s protective measures, as a result of which he has to close the commercial premises.

According to the attorney for tenancy and residential property law, Dr. Sascha Lambert, a trader is not entitled to a rent reduction in any of these cases. This can only be used if there is a shortage of rent. However, according to Lambert, an entrepreneur who is affected by the first case is entitled to state compensation that he can claim. In the second case, insurance such as business interruption insurance would have to be used to cushion the financial losses.

The situation is similar in the private sector. There is no legal right to a rent reduction for existing illnesses, quarantine measures, loss of wages or the like. In this case, the tenant should act cautiously and only in cooperation with the landlord, because if he simply suspends or reduces the rent, this can lead to rental arrears and thus to termination without notice or due notice.

Tenants’ association calls for funds

This is a major problem that affects not a few people in Germany. In a letter to the government, the Tenants Association and the Federal Association of German Housing and Real Estate Companies are calling for the creation of an online fund, the “Safe Living Fund”, from which tenants can apply for their rent to be paid. This application is intended to preclude the ordinary and immediate termination of the tenancy due to late payment.

Among other things, self-employed people, artists, employees in the catering or trade fair sectors, who could lose their financial livelihood in the foreseeable future, are particularly affected. In addition to the tenants’ association, the SPD housing politician and Member of the Bundestag Klaus Mindrup, who is also on the supervisory board of the Berlin housing association Bremer Höhe, is trying to find a solution. “We are currently working on an emergency plan in our cooperative. We expect that there will be some payment difficulties, ”he told the“ world ”.

The leftists are also calling for far-reaching measures: rents are to be frozen nationwide during this time, forced evictions, electricity and water closures are to be stopped and redundancies are to be prevented. This should apply to both normal tenants and traders. To survive the Corona crisis as a tenant should not depend on the grace of the respective landlord, the MPs of the Left Party.

Contact the landlord

Whatever the solutions in the end, the tenants should always contact their landlord and only act after consultation. Maintaining a trusting relationship is also in the interest of the landlord. Last but not least, many property owners have proven to be accommodating in this difficult time. For example, the largest German housing group Vonovia. CEO Rolf Buch said, according to “Welt”, that the corporation would accommodate tenants who had financial difficulties due to the corona virus. Book promises a “common solution”.

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The operator of the Olympic Stadium made a similar statement. The Hertha BSC is currently barely getting enough income due to game failures or missing ticket sales for ghost games and is therefore considering lower salaries for players, coaches and other employees. The operator of the Berlin Olympic Stadium has therefore agreed to reduce the rent. A solution based on partnership was sought, “we cannot invoice anything that was not provided,” Managing Director Timo Rohwedder told the Bild newspaper.

Image sources: fizkes /

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