Apartment handover – follow these five tips to ensure everything goes smoothly

Moving house is an intense and exciting time. And as is true of many things in life, good preparation is the key to peace of mind. We explain what you should consider when handing over the apartment.

You must clean your apartment before handing it over. At the handover, it usually has to be completely empty and clean. In addition, all damage that has occurred during the rental period must be repaired when the flat is handed over. Anything that falls into the category of “minor maintenance” must be repaired at your own expense by the date of the handover. This includes things like changing light bulbs, buying a new toilet seat and filling in any holes in the walls.

As soon as a specialist is needed to carry out the repair, it is no longer classed as minor maintenance. Then you have to inform the property management agency so that they can contact a tradesperson for you. You should definitely do this at an early stage. If damage is discovered during the apartment handover that must be repaired before the next tenants move in, you will be liable for the lost rent.

Your personal liability insurance generally pays for sudden damage to the rental apartment that happens by accident, such as when a bottle of perfume falls into the sink and leaves a crack. However, damage that has occurred gradually is not insured – for example mould that has formed over time because you have not ventilated enough. You usually have to pay for this kind of damage yourself.

More detailed information on this is provided in our guide to tenant damage.

When handing over the flat, you should be there in person and have all the keys with you. It’s also important to take a copy of the handover protocol from when you moved in. This enables you to prove which defects were already present when you took over the apartment, and you won’t have to pay for damage that you did not cause yourself. To be on the safe side, you should also take the rental contract with you.

You should only sign the handover protocol if the damage really exists and you agree that you must pay for the repairs.

If you object to any element of the protocol, do not sign it. Alternatively, you could have a proviso included in the protocol about the points you do not agree with and photograph the damage in question before the handover. If you sign without raising any objections, you will have to pay for all damage recorded in the protocol.

Yes. If you are not responsible for the damage, you may refuse to have it offset against the deposit. However, your landlord still has the right to assert any claims by legal means and to refuse to pay out your rental deposit.
  • Clean your apartment before handing it over and make sure all the minor maintenance has been taken care of.
  • Your personal liability insurance will help out with damage that has occurred accidentally. 
  • Go to the apartment handover in person. Take a copy of the handover protocol from when you moved in with you and only sign the new protocol if you agree to it.
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