What do tenants have in common?

Joint lease is binding

Usually a partner moves out after a separation. But a joint lease cannot simply be terminated. © Photo: Iakov Filimonov_shutterstock.com

Schleswig-Holstein Bar Association. If a couple separates, it usually means that one of them will move out of the shared apartment. But that doesn't always work overnight. Spouses who have signed the rental agreement together are both contractual partners of the landlord. So if one spouse wants to move out and terminate the rental agreement, the termination of the contract does not automatically apply to the other spouse. It does not matter whether only one spouse was entered as a tenant in the contract. Something different applies to couples in a “wild” marriage.

Spouses sign together

In order for a spouse to be able to terminate the lease and move out, both of them must sign the termination together. Two separate terminations are also possible if they are close together in time. Should a partner move out without the tenancy ending altogether, he is still liable for the full rent. So not only the landlord, but also the partner remaining in the apartment can demand payment of the rent despite moving out. A spouse can only be "released" from the tenancy if both the landlord and the spouse agree.

No tenant, no rights

If couples want to move in together, the partner who already lives in the apartment must first obtain approval from the landlord. This is not necessary for married couples. Sometimes a partner moves into the other's apartment without the latter becoming a tenant at the same time. However, this means that in the event of separation, the new partner cannot invoke notice periods or other tenant protection regulations. This means that there is a risk that the partner, as the sole tenant of the apartment, can deny him access to the apartment - unless the intoxication has already happened overnight. In addition, the partner who moved into the apartment does not have the right to take over the rental agreement in the event of separation. The landlord does not have to accept the partner as the new main tenant.

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Partner must agree

Something different applies if both partners have become tenants of the apartment in a non-marital partnership. The tenant protection regulations then apply to both. If one wants to move out, the other is obliged to agree to the termination. In this way, those affected avoid the risk of being liable for rental debts. When the tenancy ends, each partner is usually entitled to half of the rental deposit. The landlord will only pay the full deposit to a tenant if the other tenant has agreed. If only one tenant has paid a deposit, e.g. because he was the first to live in the apartment, he is solely entitled to the payment of the deposit.

If in doubt, those affected should consult a lawyer. Lawyers can call the Schleswig-Holstein Bar Association on request from 9 a.m. to 12 noon on the telephone number 04621 / 9391-11 or the online lawyer search service of the chamber.

Lawyers are independent advisors in all legal matters. They exclusively represent the interests of their clients, help to enforce or defend against claims and work out economically sensible solutions. Lawyers and their employees are obliged to maintain strict confidentiality and must under no circumstances disappoint the trust of clients by representing conflicting interests. You can also visit the Schleswig-Holstein Bar Association's Facebook page.

Which legal regulations for tenant protection apply during the corona pandemic? Find out in our blog post on the topic.

Editor: AzetPR