Here is the situation:

I've just moved to a new flat in Germany, and my contract states that I need to pay a certain amount of deposit to my landlord. However, I really didn't like the flat from the first date and would like to move out, if possible, tomorrow.

What happens if I don't pay my deposit? Can the landlord sue me?

I want the contract to be terminated as soon as possible; I don't want to live here. What can I do to make her terminate the contract given that I haven't paid the deposit.

Note: I've sub-rented the apartment.

  • 3
    Unless your contract explicitly allows you to sub-rent, you will be in violation of that contract. Most contracts state that permission must be given beforehand. Feb 2, 2021 at 5:54
  • @MarkJohnson sub-rent could mean that the asker is the landlord or the tenant for the sub-rent. I'm guessing the tenant.
    – user253751
    Feb 2, 2021 at 9:23
  • @user253751 The OP is the tenate (they are renting from the landloard). The tenate cannot sub-rent (Untervermietung) without consent from the landlord. When allowed, the rent rate is often higher than it would otherwise be. Feb 2, 2021 at 9:37
  • @MarkJohnson Sub-renting is where a tenant is also a landlord. Landlord A leases their property to Tenant B and Landlord B (who is the same person as Tenant B) leases the property to Tenant C, correct? Either person B or C could be said to be sub-renting, but person C isn't the one who needs permission from person A.
    – user253751
    Feb 2, 2021 at 9:47
  • @user253751 Tenate B would need consent from Landlord A to become 'Landlord B'. The terms of the contract between Landlord A and Tenate B is what counts. If the contract doesn't allow this Tenate B cannot become 'Landlord B'. Feb 2, 2021 at 10:07

2 Answers 2


In Germany is the situation as following:

As already answered, if you don't pay the deposit, you can be sued. Here is a Google translation from here ("Tenant does not pay deposit - what to do?")

If the tenant does not pay the deposit in whole or in part, the landlord can collect it in court. To this end, he can either file a lawsuit or apply for a payment order.

Since the change in tenancy law in 2013, non-payment of the deposit has been expressly provided as a reason that entitles the tenant to terminate without notice. Accordingly, landlords can terminate without notice without warning if the tenant is in arrears with the payment of the deposit in an amount that corresponds to two basic rents.

And here is in detail "Terminating a sublease - this is how the main tenant or subtenant proceed" (again Google-translation):

When it comes to terminating the sublease agreement, it depends, among other things, on whether the parties have agreed a time-limited sublease agreement or a time-unlimited sublease agreement. In order to clarify this question in detail, the agreed sublease agreement can be viewed.

A temporary sublease contract cannot normally be terminated prematurely by either party before the agreed rental period has expired. Each party must wait for the rental period to expire. The lease then ends automatically without the need for notice.

In case of a unlimited sublease contract it makes a difference it you subrent a room (here again different if with or without furniture) or a whole apartment. In case you subrent an apartment the website cited above says

The tenant can, on the other hand, terminate the contract as normal with the normal notice period of 3 months.

  • So, I can't even move out before my contract ends even if I give 3month prior notice?
    – Our
    Feb 2, 2021 at 9:32
  • You usually have to pay for the three months unless you find an alternative tenant who is accepted by the landlord.
    – UweD
    Feb 2, 2021 at 9:48
  • 1
    Yes, exactly. Then you should get the deposit back.
    – UweD
    Feb 2, 2021 at 9:54
  • 2
    Here is the relevant law: dejure.org/gesetze/BGB/573c.html
    – UweD
    Feb 2, 2021 at 13:08
  • 2
    More details here in Wikipedia, e.g. what to take care of etc, unfortunately only in German, but you get ptretty useful translations with Google translate these days: de.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%BCndigung_von_Mietvertr%C3%A4gen
    – UweD
    Feb 2, 2021 at 13:09

You have a contract - if you break it, you can be sued.

A contract is a legally binding promise that the state (through its courts) will enforce. You promised to pay the deposit - you must pay the deposit. You promised to pay rent on a regular basis for the period of the lease - you must pay that rent.

You don't want to live there? Fine, the lease probably doesn't require you to. So long as you keep paying the rent, you don't have to.

If you break the lease, then the landlord can sue you for the damage that they suffer - this is typically the value of the rent until they can find a new tenant and if that tenant is paying less than you, the difference between that amount and your rent for the balance of the lease.

If you want to renegotiate the contract (for example, to end it early), you will need to ask your landlord but they are under no legal obligation to release you from it. They may be willing to do so out of the goodness of their heart and/or if you pay them.

  • The contract probably has an exit clause, which would detail how to end the contract and move out. In my experience rental contracts don't usually say "you must rent for X months", but will usually say "If you want to move out you must provide Y advance notice".
    – Allure
    Feb 2, 2021 at 1:21
  • @Allure most rental contracts have an initial fixed term after which they revert to periodic contracts. Standards differ, in Australia, for example, common terms are 6 or 12 months. Germany has a culture of long-term rental, however, 5, 10 and even 20-year leases are common. The UK has 99 and even 999-year leases - although these are more readily transferrable (i.e. when you buy one of these properties, you by the leasehold not the freehold)
    – Dale M
    Feb 2, 2021 at 1:25
  • Wow, that's surprising. How would one predict what things will be like in five years with any kind of accuracy? But if one can't do that, how can one even write a lease for 5 years?
    – Allure
    Feb 2, 2021 at 2:56
  • @Allure in the old days - with pen and paper. These days, pdf is the usual format. This video is about a perpetual (forever) bond that is currently 300 years old and still paying interest (youtube.com/watch?v=cfSIC8jwbQs&ab_channel=TomScott)
    – Dale M
    Feb 2, 2021 at 3:06
  • @Allure also, just because you don't think on timescales of years, decades or even centuries doesn't mean that corporations and governments don't. Long-term contracts are riskier than short-term contracts all else being equal but that risk can be managed.
    – Dale M
    Feb 2, 2021 at 3:11

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