I recently moved to a new apartment, and cancelled the contract for my previous apartment where I had lived for several years. The contract for the old apartment had a three month notice period, so I found a replacement tenant for the landlord to avoid paying rent on both places for that time. On moving in, the new tenant found some areas needing a little work. He has contacted the landlord, who has now asked me to resolve these issues or have the cost of doing so taken from my deposit. Some of these issues are fair complaints and I'm working with the new tenant to resolve them quickly. So far so good.
The problem: Some issues date from before I moved in, but the landlord is now demanding I resolve them at my own cost. When I moved in, I signed the contract (which is the standard and well-known in Germany "Hamburger Mietvertrag für Wohnraum") at the landlord's office and received the keys directly. There was no official handover appointment where the state of the apartment was inspected, and I failed to photograph or otherwise document these issues at the time.
I understand that the real problem here is my failure to document these issues on moving in (it was my first time renting my own place and I was naive). I'm fortunate enough to have a good job and ultimately I'll be fine even if I do have to pay these costs. But on principle I'm obviously not keen to pay for work handling issues from before I first rented the place, and now I'm also just plain curious who actually has the burden of proof in any dispute like this.
tl;dr: Where does a tenant stand if their ex-landlord deducts costs for pre-existing issues from my deposit? The contract states the apartment condition as "renovated" at the time of moving in. Will the tenant find they have to pay for resolving pre-existing issues because they failed to document them at the time, or can they demand the landlord prove the issues were not pre-existing?
In case it's relevant, there are a few little things but the primary issue is about the paint on two walls of the living room - the walls can't be painted evenly as they are unplastered and have a very uneven texture (very porous in some places, relatively smooth in others). The landlord now expects me to pay to plaster the wall.