Tips on the topic justification and termination of a joint rental agreement
Where two or more people have rented an apartment together, serious issues may arise when dissolving the shared household. Especially if one of the parties refuses to sign the notice of termination. We answer the most important questions here.
What is a joint rental agreement?
In the case of a joint rental agreement, more than one person signs on the rental agreement as tenant. In doing so, the undersigned can only jointly exercise their rights arising from the agreement. In other words: They can only terminate the agreement, contest the rent, claim defect rights, etc., together. A so-called ordinary partnership is formed.
How do joint tenants conduct themselves toward the landlord?
Externally, the tenants are deemed to be one party, with each individual bearing joint and several liability. That means that each person can be held liable for the entire loss or rent, not only for the half or the corresponding share. What the tenants agree among themselves is irrelevant for the landlord (e.g. if the tenants agree who pays how much rent).
How can a jointly signed rental agreement be terminated?
The rental agreement must be terminated in writing by all tenants, and ideally in writing by registered mail to ensure there is proof. Moreover, there are certain formal requirements that must be complied with. See our article on terminating agreements for residential property.
What can I do if a tenant does not want to sign the termination?
In this situation, the termination is invalid.
What if only one of the tenants wants to withdraw from the rental agreement?
Here too, the change to the rental agreement can only be made with the consent of the other tenants. If all tenants are in agreement that an individual can withdraw from the contract, then the landlord must also give their consent. If they do not, then all persons remain party to the rental agreement. The same applies if all tenants are in agreement that only one tenant should take over the apartment. Here, too, the landlord must give their consent, otherwise all tenants remain in the rental agreement.
What can be done if the tenants are not in agreement about the next steps to be taken?
One option is to dissolve the ordinary partnership, since the purpose of living together can no longer be achieved. This is deemed to be grounds for dissolution. The required acts of dissolution include, for example, the termination of the mutually rented apartment. If one person who is listed in the rental agreement refuses, then they can be forced to do so by court order. Other grounds for dissolution of the ordinary partnership include so-called “dissolution for just cause”. Just cause could also be deemed to exist if the continuation of the ordinary partnership is no longer feasible, for example after divorce. The court ultimately decides whether there are grounds for this.
You can find more information on how to proceed and how to word a suit in the document for download.