I am a non-EU citizen who lived for a few years in Germany and left it a few years ago. My German landlord didn't pay my deposit back. When I contacted him by email about that, he responded by email that he had used my deposit to make small repairs, paint the apartment, etc. He added that my deposit wasn't enough to cover the expenses and that he would send me the bill shortly. But he never did, and it looked like his actual expenses were considerably less than the deposit. However, because I had already left Germany and was living in a different part of the world, I decided not to bother suing him.

It has recently come to my mind that he may have dishonestly filed a legal case against me in Germany to claim the alleged difference between my deposit and his expenses to repair the apartment, in the hope that I would not learn about the case and will thus be obligated to pay him if I ever come back to Germany. He knew I was departing Germany. A complicating factor is that I forgot to deregister (i.e., abmelden) when I left Germany. This means that if he filed a case against me, an official notification letter may have been sent by the court to my registration address, which is the address of that apartment, so I may be considered notified about the case despite having left Germany.

My question: How can I find whether he filed a legal case against me? Is there any online database, or where can I request the information? I live outside the EU.

  • Possible duplicate of: law.stackexchange.com/questions/51515/…
    – K-HB
    Dec 13, 2021 at 22:18
  • Maybe one can give better advice here, because we know to wich court a lawsuite would have been filed: Amtsgericht of the town of the apartment (§ 29a I ZPO, § 23 Nr. 2a GVG).
    – K-HB
    Dec 13, 2021 at 22:20

1 Answer 1

  • No, there is no general publicly accessible directory of lawsuits against private individuals, even if it concerns yourself.
  • The complaint must identify you as the defendant indicating a ladungsfähige Anschrift, § 253 Ⅱ, Ⅳ130 ZPO. Commencing an action requires service of process, § 253 Ⅰ ZPO.
    • I presume you are not a De-Mail user.
    • So you will get a hardcopy.
      • You may not know that, but such mail in Germany is usually sent in yellow envelopes. The mailman will carefully compare the mailbox label and in case of a match record the date and time of successful delivery on the envelope as well as a slip of paper returned to the sender, the court in this case.
      • Now this will obviously fail in your case (unless the landlord maliciously attached a corresponding label to a mailbox). In a civil action the court “pretends” to be dumb regarding facts. The landlord must try to track you down. Evidently he knew your email address, so he had some contact details.
      • If he was evil, the next option would be to ask the court for an öffentliche Zustellung, § 185 ZPO. If the court agreed, this means there will be, for instance, in the city hall a paper on a bulletin board “To the attention of Coala, last known address …: There is mail for you to pick up at my office.” Two weeks later the letter is automatically considered to be delivered.
        Some cities (example: Cologne, NRW) also publish these documents on the internet, but due to GDPR considerations delete them after a certain period now.
  • If there was a lawsuit, there will have been a default judgment by now, i.e. you will have lost just by being a no‑show.
    • However, you said you have never received the bill. This means the landlord must have produced false evidence, claim to have sent the bill and a subsequent warning notice, but there was none. But this is an entirely different issue.
  • so everyone in Germany is expected to check the city hall bulletin board every two weeks?
    – user253751
    Jan 5 at 0:55
  • @user253751 Everyone is expected to let the authorities know about your whereabouts. The specifics are outlined in the Bundesmeldegesetz. Long-term contracts usually contain a clause that business partners need to inform each other about changes in address, too. You are expected to check the official gazettes of the EU (regarding regulations), the nation (Bundesgesetzblatt), the state (Bundesland: Gesetz- und Verordnungsblatt), the county (Landkreis: Amtsblatt), the community (Gemeinde: Amtsblatt) every day, because changes may take effect on the very next day. Jan 5 at 12:07

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