If she rents the room to Bob mostly furnitured, then by default the termination period is two weeks to the end of the month. However, it is three months by default if she rents it to Bob without furniture. Is my understanding correct so far?
This is covered in §573c BGB (the German civil code).
- By default the notice period is three months. (But is increased for the lessor (Alice) after 5 and 8 years.)
- For residential space that is only leased for temporary use, a shorter notice period may be agreed. (This applies e.g. to hotel rooms.)
- For residential space under §549(2)(2), notice of termination is allowed at the latest on the fifteenth day of a month to the end of that month. (This is almost, but not quite, 2 weeks.)
Where §549(2)(2) describes:
residential space that is part of the dwelling inhabited by the lessor
himself and has largely to be furnished with furniture and fixtures by
the lessor himself, provided that permission to use the residential
space has not been given for permanent use to the lessee with his
family or with persons with whom he maintains a joint household set up
This seems to apply here since Alice and Bob are sharing the flat.
is it possible to define a shorter termination period in the contract, say one month? Or is the legal default of three months always applicable and cannot be changed by contract?
Per §573c (4), these notice periods are minimums: “An agreement deviating from subsections (1) or (3) to the disadvantage of the lessee is ineffective.” Thus, the rental contract could allow Bob to leave on a shorter notice period, but Alice can't kick out Bob with shorter notice period.
Notice periods only matter when one party wants to terminate the contract against the interests of the other party. If both voluntarily agree that it's best to part ways, they can sign a termination agreement effective for some arbitrary date, no notice period required.