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Law & Finance: The Tips in April
Law & Finance: The Tips in April

Video: Law & Finance: The Tips in April

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Our tips for the month of April 2018: Learn the latest about the German rental market, energy saving measures, creditworthiness, energy pass, funding sources for renovations and more.

Efficiency pays off

The global efforts to use energy more efficiently have been successful. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), they ensure greater security of supply and that energy-related greenhouse gas emissions stagnate. In addition, the IEA's 2017 Energy Efficiency Market Report shows concrete advantages for private households: Thanks to the efficiency measures that have been implemented (since 2000), private expenditures for electricity, heating and transportation are 10 to 30 percent lower worldwide. Germans benefit in particular - they save almost EUR 500 per year on energy costs.

Zwei Drittel der Verbraucher-Beschwerden im Energiebereich beziehen sich auf Stromanbieter und -tarife
Zwei Drittel der Verbraucher-Beschwerden im Energiebereich beziehen sich auf Stromanbieter und -tarife

Two thirds of consumer complaints in the energy sector relate to electricity providers and tariffs. The consumer advice centers are evaluating customer complaints - for the new "Market Watcher Energy" project.

Photo: FOTOLIA / GHAZIL

Protect electricity customers

Anyone who has problems with the electricity provider or questions regarding consumer law can seek advice from the consumer center in their state. For the “Market Guardian Energy” project, consumer advocates are analyzing complaints about the energy industry. The aim is to identify and name problems early in order to avert customer damage. "People who have been given a new electricity contract often come to the consultations, " says Ingmar Streese from the Federation of German Consumer Organizations. Dubious agents sneak the meter number to initiate the change. In 2018, the “Market Guardian Energy” wants to examine the district heating market, for example, where there is hardly any competition.

Energy passport decides

The energy certificate is mandatory for almost all residential buildings. The information on the energetic quality of a property is used by prospective tenants as a decision-making aid.

Anyone wishing to sell or rent a property must present an energy certificate at the latest on the viewing date. Interested parties receive information about the energetic quality of the house.

Low additional costs

Researchers at the University of RWTH Aachen University identified three characteristics that are very important for potential tenants: cold rent, location and then energy consumption. They are particularly interested in this with regard to the additional costs. And rightly so, as the study suggests: an efficient apartment costs more rent, but lower energy costs usually compensate for the surcharge. Bertram Steininger from RWTH Aachen University considers the energy certificate to be important information, but: “In order for it to be a selection criterion, there must be enough offers. This is often not the case in tight markets."

Current documents

Some landlords and sellers have to worry about new energy certificates again. The passport for existing buildings, compulsory since 2007, is only valid for 10 years. Many first generation ID cards therefore expire.

Wer von privat mietet, zahlt häufig weniger als die ortsübliche Miete
Wer von privat mietet, zahlt häufig weniger als die ortsübliche Miete

The German rental market is broad. 3.9 million private landlords create living space in houses and on the floor. There are 69, 000 commercial providers.

Photo: 123RF / KZENON

Typical landlord?

Germany is a land of tenants - and of many small landlords: 3.9 million private individuals provide around 60 percent of all rental apartments. The Institute of German Business in Cologne collected these figures on behalf of two owner associations.

Little extra

Private landlords are on average almost 60 years old, three out of ten are already retired, and they come from all walks of life. Their net income is € 3, 315 a month, significantly higher than that of other households (€ 2, 100). The landlords usually do not get rich. Your rental income has increased significantly since 2005, by an average of 35 percent to almost 8, 900 euros a year. The main reason is the rise in rents in cities.

Fair conditions

And yet the rule is that small landlords usually don't squeeze the maximum out of their investment. On average, they charge less than the local rent, according to a survey conducted by the landlords of the Haus & Grund association. They rarely increase existing rents. Almost every fifth tenancy between private individuals has been unchanged for over ten years.

So klappt es mit der Bonität
So klappt es mit der Bonität

A negative Schufa entry is poison for the creditworthiness. Sometimes there is a way out.

/ MATO181

This is how it works with creditworthiness

Before savings banks and banks approve a loan, they check the creditworthiness of their customer, the so-called credit rating. They talk to him about income and assets, marital status and job. The financial institutions want to make sure that they get the loaned money back as agreed. On the other hand, the customer should be prevented from taking out a loan that he cannot service. Roughly simplified: The better the financial partner assesses solvency, the cheaper the loan. Bauspar savers have an advantage When it comes to creditworthiness, Bauspar savers earn a few plus points: If you have served your Bauspar contract on time for years, you can prove that you can and will regularly divert fixed amounts from your household budget.

Delete Schufa entry: Part of the bank's credit check usually also includes an inquiry to the protection association for general credit protection, or Schufa for short, which collects information about the business relationships of consumers, knows the number of their credit obligations and whether liabilities are reliably paid. You can quickly collect a negative Schufa entry that lowers your credit rating - for example, with the second reminder of an invoice. Even if the claim has been settled, Schufa will save the incident for three long years. However, those affected can request early deletion in the event of a minor case. Prerequisite: the sum claimed is not more than 2, 000 euros, it was paid within six weeks and the matter did not go to court. The Schufa will even do the correction free of charge.

Berlin: Enjoy culture cheaply

Von der Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe gefördert: die Alte Nationalgalerie (re.) und das Neue Museum in Berlin
Von der Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe gefördert: die Alte Nationalgalerie (re.) und das Neue Museum in Berlin

Whether it's the Pergamon Museum, the Kupferstichkabinett or the Köpenick Palace, admission to the State Museums in Berlin is significantly cheaper for all Sparkasse customers this year.

Photo: STATE MUSEUMS TO BERLIN / MAXIMILIAN MEISSE

Berlin: Enjoy culture cheaply Whether it's the Pergamon Museum, the Kupferstichkabinett or the Köpenick Palace: Entry to the State Museums in Berlin is significantly cheaper for all Sparkasse customers this year. Berlin is always worth a trip - and even more so for Sparkasse customers. Customers of all German savings banks receive a discount at the State Museums in Berlin: they save a whopping 25 percent off the entrance fee. The only prerequisite for the discount on all exhibition tickets is presentation of your own Sparkasse card at the cash desk. The offer is valid until the end of this year for all fifteen houses in the museum network, including the Bode Museum, the Old Museum, the Museum of Photography and the Hamburger Bahnhof.

In addition to savings bank customers, insurance clients of the Feuersozietät Berlin Brandenburg also receive this price advantage. Promoting values ​​Since 2001, the Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe (namely the Sparkassen-Kulturfond of the Deutsche Sparkassen- und Giroverband and the Berliner Sparkasse, since 2017 also the Feuersozietät Berlin Brandenburg) has supported selected exhibition projects of the museum association. The reason for the special tariff in 2018 are two anniversaries of the partners: The Berliner Sparkasse is 200 years old, the fire firm is celebrating its three hundredth anniversary. The special offer includes all special exhibitions and collections in the houses of the State Museums in Berlin and all types of tickets. Events are excluded.

Aktuelle Entscheidungen deutscher Gerichte unter anderem zu Ferienimmobilien
Aktuelle Entscheidungen deutscher Gerichte unter anderem zu Ferienimmobilien

Current decisions of German courts and their importance for property owners, tenants, landlords and taxpayers.

Photo: FOTOLIA / WINYU

Current decisions of German courts

Security for old-age provision: Riester contracts are not attachable. In the event of private bankruptcy, Riester contracts are not part of the realizable assets and are therefore not attachable. The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) has decided that. A bankruptcy administrator had sued for a Riester contract for a woman from Aschaffenburg that had been saved with 333 euros. According to the BGH, the attachment protection of old-age pensions also applies in principle to Riester contracts. However, the condition is that the contract receives state funding. The state does not yet have to have the money in the savings account, it is sufficient if grants have been applied for and the contract is eligible. The judgment was about an insurance contract. The attachability naturally also applies to residential Riester building society savings contracts. AZ: IX ZR 21/17.

Holiday properties can also be sold tax-free. The tax office regularly holds out a hand when selling real estate: anyone who sells a private property within ten years of the purchase must pay tax on the profit. The legislator only makes an exception if the property was used for own residential purposes. As a result, the owner-occupied home can basically be sold tax-free. But what about the apartment? A woman from Cologne sold her holiday home on Sylt within the so-called speculation period - but did not want to pay taxes on the profit. The Federal Fiscal Court was right: the woman had only used the holiday home in the year of sale and in the two years before, she had not rented it out. Even if she was only there temporarily, the property was always available for her own use. Case number IX R 37/16.

Law proposes lease in the case of limitation of claims for damages. It is annoying for landlords if they discover damage to the apartment or house after the tenancy ends. According to § 548 I BGB, you can only assert claims for damages up to six months after returning the rented property, after which the claim is time-barred. Many pre-formulated leases therefore contain clauses that extend the limitation period to 12 months. A landlord with such a rental agreement claimed 16, 000 euros in damages from a tenant 10 months after moving out. He couldn't get away with it in court. The Federal Court of Justice: An extension of the statute of limitations provided the tenant inadequate and is therefore ineffective. AZ: VIII ZR 13/17.

Solar system must not dazzle

Gericht entscheidet: Solar-Anlage darf nicht blenden
Gericht entscheidet: Solar-Anlage darf nicht blenden

Residents do not have to accept any significant impairment due to light reflections. So the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court ruled.

Photo: FOTOLIA / JÜRGEN FÄLCHLE

Solar system must not dazzle: If the sun burns on a photovoltaic system, the owner is happy about cheap electricity. But the neighbor whom the light reflections dazzle has little to laugh about. One property owner complained because he felt significantly affected by highly reflective sunlight from the roof next door. He could only use his property to a limited extent. The owner of the solar plant was of the opinion that the neighbor had to tolerate the impairment, after all, solar energy was subsidized by the state. The Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court saw it differently: State funding or not, residents do not have to accept significant impairment due to light reflections. The court sentenced the owner of the facility to reduce the glare by taking appropriate measures. Case number: I-9 U 35/17.

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