lawfulness of leasing of holiday flats in Berlin in 2014

On the 12th of December 2013, the Government of Berlin launched the so called „Zweckentfremdungsverbot-Gesetz”(referred to as “the law” in the following text). This was the base for the so called „Zweckentfremdungsverbot-Verordnung“ (referred to as “the by-law” in the following) which came to effect on the 1th of May 2014. The government planned to prohibit the excessive use of flats as holiday flats because available housing space is getting more and more rare in Berlin and prices are going rapidly up in some quarters.

The law regulates, that housing space in Berlin or in some of the districts should not be used for other purposes than living without permission of the appropriate district exchange if the accommodation supply of the population in Berlin for fair conditions is endangered in particular. This is exactly what the by-law declares for all districts of Berlin. That means, that beginning with the 1st May 2014, it is forbidden by law to rent out a flat for other purposes than living. Breaches (administrative offenses) of the landlord will be punished with penalty of up to 50.000 EUR.

What is „Zweckentfremdung“ (wrongful use)?

The most important and legally defined cases of a wrongful use are:

- leasing as holiday flat (rental contract days or weeks)
- leasing or use for business purposes
- vacancy for more than 6 month

The responsible administration will check if there is a wrongful leasing of holiday flats. In individual cases it might be tricky to differ between wrongful use and for example allowed temporary lease of an furnished apartment which can be legal within a certain period. But in the normal case – lease of a flat for only some days or weeks – the authorities will be likely to decide for a wrongful use.

Are there exceptions?

The law includes exceptions respectively interim arrangements ...

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