If You Think Our Housing Laws Are Crass
Try Being A Landlord In Germany
There are always plenty of stories in the media about landlords and letting agents and their idiosyncratic practices, but a recent news article about a German landlord published in The Telegraph and picked up by LandlordToday.com really does take the p**s!
UK landlords have faced a great deal of criticism for reasonably, and in some cases unreasonably, withholding a tenants’ deposit for all kinds of damage caused to rental property by tenants but now a German landlord has ended up in court for trying to claim damage to a bathroom floor caused by a tenant’s urine.
The landlord had withheld €1,900, equivalent to around £1,400 (GBP) from the tenant’s €3,000 deposit for damage allegedly caused to a marble floor in the bathroom of a rental property by a male tenant missing the toilet bowl while urinating standing up.
The tenant sued his landlord after the refusal to pay back the €1,900 claimed for damages to the marble floor but the judge ruled that the tenant had the right to take care of business standing up.
The landlord had brought in a “technical expert“, who had the unenviable task of confirming that wayward droplets were indeed the cause of the damage to the marble tiles.While Düsseldorf judge Stefan Hank found the pro-sitting landlord’s arguments “credible and understandable“, he said that he could not side with the landlord and wrote in his judgement, which appeared at times to be a riposte to the claim that Germans have no sense of humour, stating “The landlord should have warned the renter of the floor’s sensitivity to potentially damaging bodily fluids beforehand. Despite the increasing domestication of men in this regard, urinating while standing up is still widespread. Anyone who still practises this formerly dominant custom has to expect occasional clashes with their flatmates, particularly female ones. But they don’t have to worry about damage to the marble floor.”
However, the German judge did agree with the expert’s report that uric acid had caused some damage to the bathroom’s floor but ruled that men who stand up to urinate cannot be held account for “collateral damage”.
There has long been a campaign in Germany to convert messy Stehpinkler – standing urinators – into Sitzpinkler – their more socially responsible seated brethren.
Many German homes do indeed have home made notices in toilets asking guests to make use of the seat rather than risk unwanted collateral damage to the bathroom.
Others even go to the lengths of installing a device called a Spuk – a spook – on the underside of the seat which issues a warning to would-be standing pee-ers, with models even available in the voices of former Chancellors Helmut Kohl and Gerhard Schröder.
Have you got any bizarre landlord & tenant stories – let us know! – email firstname.lastname@example.org
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