In Germany, it is by law that one should be able to pay the deposit amount in installements of three months, and that it should be no higher than three months of rent. refer

While searching for a place to stay in kaiserslautern, I met a landlord who offered me a place, but would require the kaution be paid immediately during the rentral contract signing.

I tried asking if I can pay in installments (which I should obliged to by German law), she refused.

Now I'm figuring out what happens if I insist. It is something I'm entitlted to as a renter at German law, but asking her to follow the law may make her not rent to me. Making it so that the law effectively doesn't exist.

Is there any provision against a Landlord trying something like this in Germany?

  • Here is a reference to the original German law: gesetze-im-internet.de/bgb/__551.html It seems pretty clearcut that this can't be changed to the renters disadvantage which the landlord is trying to do here.
    – quarague
    Feb 1 at 13:30

1 Answer 1


Yes/No: A law that is not obeyed is pretty useless. A law that can be enforced is useful.

  1. You conclude the rental agreement, §§ 549 ff. BGB. The rental agreement stipulates duties, in particular

    • your obligation to pay €400 in rent every month,
    • payment of a security deposit, let’s say €1200, at the beginning of the renting period, say April 1, and
    • the landlady has the obligation to provide access to the rented property (e. g. hand out necessary keys).
  2. By April 1 you pay/paid the first installment of the security deposit amounting to €400, plus the due rent for the month of April, so €800 in total.

  3. The landlady refuses to hand out the keys claiming you have not fulfilled all your duties.

  4. Now you have the option to sue your landlady, and the landlady has the option to sue, too.

    • The landlady has no actionable claim, because § 551 ⑷ BGB unequivocally states, a clause to the disadvantage of the renter has no effect. She, by that I mean the court, cannot force you to pay the difference of €800. Instead she has to wait until the month of May and June for the next installments respectively.
    • You as the renter on the other hand have an actionable claim as evidenced by the contract. You can demand and enforce the provision of necessary keys.
  5. Meanwhile you had to rent a room at a hotel (until you got the keys). The room expenses are damages you can charge your landlady, but the exact details are another issue.

: Figures and dates are random examples not provided in the question to make the case more tangible rather than juggling abstract relationships in one’s mind.

  • What if the landlady refuses the money/ refuses me as a tenant due to the reason that I don't agree to her terms, and then later gives another reason when asked by authorities?
    – Babu
    Feb 1 at 14:46
  • 2
    Maybe you need/want to post a new question proper to this site? In general there is no legal obligation to conclude a contract with anyone, freedom of contract (Vertragsfreiheit). In general she has full autonomy in choosing a future tenant, so if she now refuses to conclude a contract, just because you asked the question concerning installments, there is no leverage for you to get the apartment, the rental agreement, regardless. This should be a lesson in negotiations strategy. Feb 1 at 15:15

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .