Template for a handover report for apartment transfer
A handover report is not a legal requirement but is recommended for evidentiary purposes. The landlord and the tenant should both receive an identical copy of the report with the signature of the other party.
Why should a handover report be created?
The tenant must actually return the rental property in a state corresponding to its contractual use. In other words, normal wear and tear that arises through the use permitted by the rental agreement does not have to be repaired. However, damage caused by the tenant that cannot be ascribed to normal wear and tear must be repaired by the tenant moving out. For this reason, there are often discussions and disputes regarding the damage to be accepted. It is thus advisable to define the exact state of the property when you move out (or move in, depending on the perspective). In this way, it is easier to compare the current state with the state of the property at the start of the rental term. A handover report is advisable for tenants moving in to determine which defects were already present beforehand and for which repairs can be requested.
What damage do tenants have to pay for?
Tenants are liable for damage to rental property that they, roommates, guests, children, pets, or employees have caused and which exceeds normal wear and tear. If a case of damage is due to force majeure (flooding, earthquakes) or was caused by someone else, then tenants do not have to pay for the repair. The tenant doesn’t owe the new-for-old value, but rather the present value. This corresponds to the value of the item at the time of the loss or damage, taking account of its age and use, and of the wear and tear it had already been subjected to.
Does liability insurance cover tenants for all damage?
Liability insurance only covers damage that occurs because of an accident or, in other words, because of an unforeseeable event. Damage that occurs because of wear and tear is not covered as this kind of damage occurs gradually.
Who must prove what in the case of a dispute?
If, during the handover of the rental property, the landlord claims there is damage, then it falls on them to prove that the tenant has caused the damage, the damage was not present when the tenant moved in, and that the damage was reported to the tenant immediately after handover (if it relates to hidden damage, immediately after it has was discovered). For this reason, discrepancies in the report often have to be borne by the landlord.
How precise does the report have to be?
As precise as possible. Vague descriptions of a defect, such as “stains on the wall,” are not enough. Instead, there must be a precise description of the room, location, and approximate size of the stains or damage, for example.
Does the report also serve to prove who has to pay for the damage detected?
In principle, no. It only serves as a list of the damage or defects. With your signature, you confirm only their existence, but not who must pay for their repair. However, sometimes landlords already specify in the report who has to pay for individual cases of damage. For this reason, it is advisable to read the report carefully before signing.
What can I do when I move in if I don’t receive a handover report from the landlord?
If such a report was created (there is no obligation to do so), then the landlord is obligated by law to provide this to the new tenant upon request.
What can I do if the landlord does not want to create a handover report?
In this case, it may make sense to hire an expert to assess the property and to submit their report to the landlord.
What can the landlord do if the tenant does not want to sign the report?
In this case, either the findings can be listed in an official report or the damage and the scope of the costs for the repair are reported immediately to the tenant.
To ensure nothing important is forgotten, we have created a template of a handover report.