Rent Control: What Frankfurt tenants should know now

Bockenheim, Bornheim or Griesheim: For people looking for their own home, it is becoming far too expensive, especially in popular districts. The skyline is unique, but it does not make the situation for tenants on the housing market in the Rhine-Main metropolis any better. Quite the contrary: rents in Frankfurt am Main have been rising for years. As a tenant, you can defend yourself with the Rent Control.

In short

  • The Rent Control applies in 31 Hessian towns and municipalities. This includes the entire city of Frankfurt am Main.
  • Frankfurt tenants can apply the Rent Control if they have signed their rental agreement since 28 June 2019.
  • If the net cold rent of your Frankfurt flat exceeds the local comparative rent plus 10 percent, you can save money every month with the law.
  • Tenants of the municipal housing association ABG Frankfurt Holding benefit from a stricter cap. Rents for these properties may be increased by a maximum of five percent within five years.

Does the Rent Control apply in Frankfurt?

The law on the Rent Control is a federal law in force since 2015. Each federal state is responsible for issuing the so-called Rent Control in the form of a rent cap ordinance. Hesse, like many other federal states, made formal errors when the law was passed. Therefore, the Rent Control in Frankfurt is only valid for rental agreements signed after 28 June 2019.

How the law was passed

The Rent Control in the state of Hesse had to overcome several hurdles before it could come into force for all parts of Frankfurt in 2019.

  • 17 November 2015: The State of Hesse decrees the Rent Control for 16 areas with validity until the end of June 2019. Frankfurt am Main is also one of the designated areas with a tight housing market. However, the four districts of Berkersheim, Eckenheim, Harheim and Unterliederbach are exempt from the Rent Control.
  • 6 July 2016: The Supervisory Board of the municipal housing company ABG Frankfurt Holding decides on a separate Rent Control for its own properties. This includes a cap of a maximum five percent rent increase within five years.
  • 27 March 2018: The Hessian Regional Court (LG) declares the Rent Control ineffective in one case, as there is no justification in the text of the ordinance. An appeal by the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) is allowed.
  • 4 February 2019: The Hessian Ministry of Economics announces an extension of the Rent Control. Unlike before, the law shall not apply this time to a total of six Frankfurt districts where, according to an expert opinion, the conditions for the Rent Control are not sufficient: Bergen-Enkheim, Eckenheim, Hausen, Nieder-Erlenbach, Praunheim and Sindlingen
  • 17 July 2019: The BGH declares the Rent Control in Hesse null and void. As already argued by the Regional Court of Hesse, the Rent Limitation Ordinance of 2015 lacks a justification.
  • 28 July 2019: The new rent cap regulation for Hesse comes into force with full justification and extends the validity of the Rent Control to a total of 31 towns and municipalities. Contrary to previous plans, there are no exceptions in the Frankfurt city area and the law applies to all districts. On the part of the Federal Government, the law is still limited in time until 26 November 2020.
  • 13 February 2020: The Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt am Main decides that tenants cannot claim damages from the State of Hesse due to the formal errors committed when the first regulation was issued. Some tenants had taken legal action against their landlords on the basis of the Rent Control, but will no longer be able to assert the claim for rental contracts concluded before July 2019.
  • 1 April 2020: The Rent Control is tightened by the Federal Government so that tenants in Frankfurt can also reclaim excess rent paid retroactively from their landlords. This regulation applies to tenancies that have begun since April 2020. In addition, the federal government will allow the Rent Control to be extended for another five years. Each federal state must apply for the extension until 2025 itself.
  • 28 June 2020: The Hessian state government in Wiesbaden announces that the Rent Control will be extended.
  • 23 September 2020: The Ministry of Economics of Hesse presents an extended ordinance according to which the Rent Control is to be extended from 31 to a total of 48 towns and municipalities in Hesse. At the same time, the lock-up periods of own use notices in favour of tenants are to be extended.

From when is the Rent Control valid in Frankfurt?

Frankfurt tenants can take advantage of the Rent Control if they have concluded a new rental agreement since 28 June 2019. The law is currently limited until 26 November 2020, but is to be extended for another five years until 2025. We will keep you up to date on this.

How well does the law work in Frankfurt?

Until the new Rent Control was enacted in summer 2019, not a single tenant in Hesse had enforced a rent reduction in court with reference to the Rent Control. Despite this, scientific reports had shown that the law had slightly slowed down the increase in rents.

Since the Rent Control has been applied to all parts of Frankfurt, only a few tenants continue to enforce their rights. Reason enough to take action now and make use of the law. The more tenants who apply the Rent Control in Frankfurt, the better it can have a positive effect and keep the local comparative rent at a stable level.

The local comparative rent is based on the rent index and forms the basis for calculating the rent permitted under the Rent Control. As a tenant, you have the opportunity to make an important contribution to slowing down the rise in rents in Frankfurt.

You would like to
use the Rent Control?
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whether your Frankfurt rent is too high.

Exceptions: In which cases is the Rent Control not valid in Frankfurt?

The exceptions that apply to the nationwide Rent Control also apply in Frankfurt:

  • Older rental agreements: Rental agreements signed before the Rent Control came into force are exempt from the law. The law has been legally in force for Hesse since 28 July 2019.
  • First letting: New flats that have been used for the first time since 1 October 2014 are also exempt from the law.
  • Modernisation: The Rent Control cannot be applied to housing that has been extensively modernised.
  • Temporarily rented housing: Tenants who rent housing only temporarily cannot apply the Rent Control.
  • Portfolio rents: Housing for which previous tenants have already paid excessive rent is not subject to the Rent Control either.

In addition to these exceptions to the law defined by the federal government, the state of Hesse has not defined any further exceptions. Nevertheless, many landlords try to circumvent the Rent Control illegally with various tricks. You can defend yourself against this.

Even if one of the exceptions to the law applies to your tenancy, it is always worth checking the amount of rent. Not all rent increases are permitted. In Frankfurt, for example, there is a stricter cap of 15 percent that landlords are not allowed to exceed within three years when increasing rent.

How do I enforce the Rent Control in Frankfurt?

We recommend the following steps to Frankfurt tenants to enforce the Rent Control now:

  1. Determining the maximum rent level: You can use our free rent index calculator for this purpose.
  2. Send a complaint to the landlord: You find out that you pay too much rent? Inform your landlord by sending a letter of complaint.
  3. Ask for proof of exceptions: Is your landlord invoking an exception from the Rent Control? Demand appropriate evidence.
  4. Hire a lawyer or CONNY: Your landlord no longer responds? Assert your right with legal support.

CONNY has been campaigning for tenant rights for years and is the leading consumer rights portal. Let us help you to put the brakes on rents. For you it is very simple & convenient:

  1. You send us the information about your tenancy
  2. We check free of charge whether the amount of your rent is permissible
  3. If a reduction is possible, we pay a partner lawyer
  4. You only incur costs if we are successful for you

Enforce Rent Control now!
Calculate now without obligation whether your
Frankfurt rent is too high and by how much you can reduce your rent.