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Location: Berlin, Germany

Situation: 8 years lived in flat, 5 as contract holder. Provided furnished. Contract renewed every 1 or 2 years.

Landlords live on another continent, only visit x1 or x2 per year max. Quite friendly and helpful considering. However, they wrote a change into our contract last year that they don't want to be responsible for large appliances from now on e.g. dishwasher, refrigerator, washer; they feel like they're not maintained well (untrue) and don't want to incur more costs. So from now on they're our responsibility if they break. Worth noting that they're all in used to VERY used condition; like all have either broken parts or malfunction slightly. We signed this contract before appreciating the gravity of this change.

Who is legally responsible for such appliances? I believe the law says they are, but cannot find the actual written law. If so, are we out of luck because we signed the contract or was it done in bad faith, therefore can be changed back?

Many thanks in advance.

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  • Why is this tagged with human-rights? This is probably a side issue, but what do you mean by “renewed every 1 or 2 years”? In Germany, in lieu of a legitimate reason a tenancy agreement is for an unlimited period, see § 575 BGB for details. Are there really multiple landlords? I’m just wondering; it is quite unusual. Commented May 22 at 20:31
  • Well they live abroad and are keeping the option open for themselves to return to their apartment when they'd like to - so far they've been gone well over 10 years. Not sure if this is a legitimate reason, but that's been the agreement between us. They are fairly easy landlords and almost never raise rent, so we deal with things like this. And re: human rights I thought I had selected tenant's rights. Deleted now.
    – Koji
    Commented May 23 at 10:47

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Who is legally responsible for such appliances?

If the appartment is rented out as furnished ("möbliert") then it is the landlords responsibility. You cannot rent out a "furnished" appartment with the ammendment that the furniture is the renters responsibility. That would be silly. It isn't furnished then.

Please note that "furnished" is not a plain text description, it is a legally important term, it allows the landlord to do things they would not be permitted by law if it were not.

See Who is responsible for damage in a furnished apartment?

Contact a lawyer to go through your contract. Even if you signed it, the terms may not be legally valid. If they are not, it doesn't really matter if you signed it or not, they would be void. But again, for your own contract (that I obviously don't know) please contact a legal professional to get specific help.

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  • Comments have been moved to chat; please do not continue the discussion here. Before posting a comment below this one, please review the purposes of comments. Comments that do not request clarification or suggest improvements usually belong as an answer, on Law Meta, or in Law Chat. Comments continuing discussion may be removed.
    – Dale M
    Commented May 24 at 13:16
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    If you don't have insurance covering legal services, a Mieterverein is usually the cheapest way to get legal advice as a tenant. Might be worth mentioning in the answer.
    – Roland
    Commented May 28 at 7:06

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