when my landlord checked my room on my leaving day he claimed that my room wasn't clean (for example the mattress under the cover were dirty with black spots on them). but the thing is they were always like this even when I arrived and he wanted me to buy him a new one! and not just that there was damaged stuff in the house like a broken cheap chair that was under the stairs (that no one will notice or even buy any attention to) and he told me that it wasn't broken before and I need to get him a new one as well (he visited the house many time and I am sure he know about it) the important thing he took a document (not sure about the name in german) and marked missing or damage on it and he wanted me to sign it, of course, I refused because I didn't break anything, then he told me if I don't he can sue me for not signing that document.....still I refused. so after a while, he sent me few emails telling me to pay or he will call the police because I still owe him (he claimed that even tho he never returned my 500 euro deposit as well) so I just ignored him

  • so was it the right call? not to sign it?
  • and also, can he just take that much money for cheap damages? I mean a mattress and chair doesn't cost 500 euro
  • according to his emails he will contact a company called schufa and he will inform them that I don't pay bills and by doing this I will not be able to rent in Germany (that according to his claims I am not sure what schufa is, or what it can do)
  • In English the name for that document is an inventory report. Alternatively a check-out report.
    – JBentley
    Commented Sep 18, 2021 at 17:03

1 Answer 1


When starting and ending a lease or after renovations, it is normal to go through the flat and to note the state of the flat including any damages (Übergabeprotokoll). If damage wasn't present at the beginning but is now present, that indicates (but doesn't prove) that you broke it.

The protocol should be factually correct, and ideally include photos of any relevant aspects (e.g. dirt, scratches). If there are disagreements, both standpoints should be noted. By signing you confirm that the protocol is correct, so you shouldn't sign if you think the protocol is too vague or misleading. It is not legally required to make or sign such a protocol, but when done correctly it protects both parties: it lets the landlord charge you as necessary to fix your damage, but also protects you from charges relating to things that were not listed as damaged in the protocol

In this case, it seems that no protocol was made at the start of the lease. This makes it difficult to prove – for either party – what you actually damaged. If you can't settle this between yourselves, the landlord would have to sue you. They have six months to file a lawsuit, so they can keep the deposit until these things are settled. But they should really provide an itemized bill of the actual costs. If there are no remaining disputes, courts sometimes require the deposit to be returned more quickly, e.g. within two or thee months.

Just as the landlord can sue you, you can use the legal system to get your deposit back. The first step towards court collection proceedings would be to write a dunning letter in which you request repayment within some reasonable deadline (e.g. two weeks), and in which you note that the joint walkthrough of the flat did not show any damage that wasn't already there upon moving in. This should be sent via certified mail, not email. The landlord would then have to dispute the debt, otherwise you can go to a lawyer to help you request a court order.

While the legal route might not be prohibitively expensive, it probably isn't worth the effort. Instead, make sure that the landlord has your current address so that you can communicate via mail instead of email (important so that you can react if they do try to sue you). Insist on an itemized bill. Offer to settle for some amount between what you really owe and what they claim – probably still cheaper than involving lawyers.

The Schufa is the German credit rating agency. Businesses and landlords notify Schufa when you don't pay your bills. To rent a flat in Germany, you are effectively required to have a clean Schufa report. In this case, the landlord doesnt' (yet) have grounds to report anything to Schufa because there is no undisputed debt. You can access the reports on your Schufa profile four times per year without cost via a GDPR data subject access request (DSGVO-Anfrage). You can dispute incorrect entries.

  • 2
    Most contracts contain a passage (or in the Übergabeprotokoll) that states that the flat was taken over in good order (in the OP case: clean mattress and unbroken chair). If the OP signed this at the beginning of the contract, then it will be difficult to claim otherwise later. This is part of the small print of such contracts that is often ignored when originally signing them. Commented Sep 18, 2021 at 11:32
  • @amon so is there a way to access the Schufa report online? i tried to google DSGVO-Anfrage but without much luck Commented Sep 19, 2021 at 1:59
  • @JustLookingforadvice The Schufa Website calls this the Datenkopie nach Art 15 DS-GVO, I've linked the current URL. It is free, but will be sent to you by letter. Online access is only provided for paid subscriptions.
    – amon
    Commented Sep 19, 2021 at 8:37

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