The Rent Control in Hamburg

Whether Schanzenviertel, Barmbek-Süd, Eimsbüttel or Bahrenfeld - it hardly matters in which district of Hamburg tenants want to live: The housing market in the Hanseatic city is extremely tight and rents are expensive. But in Hamburg, too, the federal Rent Control law “Mietpreisbremse” is an effective remedy against excessive rents.

In short

  • In Hamburg, the Rent Control law applies to rental agreements concluded after 11 July 2018.
  • It applies to the entire Hamburg area and thus to all districts of the city.
  • If your net cold rent is higher than the local comparative rent plus 10 percent, you can apply the Rent Control for your flat in Hamburg.
  • 66.5% of tenants in Hamburg pay too much rent
  • According to a study commissioned by the City of Hamburg, only 1% of Hamburg tenants use the rent control

Does the Rent Control law apply in Hamburg?

The “Mietpreisbegrenzungsverordnung” (Rent Limitation Ordinance) - the so-called Mietpreisbremse (Rent Control law) - does not automatically apply in every federal state in Germany. It must be introduced separately by each state government. This was also the case in Hamburg.

How the law was adopted

The Rent Control is now valid for the entire city of Hamburg. However, the law had to take a few detours before it could be implemented:

  • 23 June 2015: Hamburg is the second federal state after Berlin to introduce the Rent Control for the entire city. It will apply to all newly concluded rental contracts from 1 July 2015. The Hamburg Senate correctly enacts the Rent Limitation Ordinance, but publishes it without giving reasons.
  • 1 September 2017: The Hamburg Senate subsequently publishes the reasons for the decision on the Rent Control.
  • 14 June 2018: The Hamburg Regional Court rejects the complaint of a member of the Tenants' Association from Hamburg-Ottensen against his own landlord on the basis of the Rent Control. The court thus overturns the Rent Control and declares it ineffective for rental agreements concluded from July 2015 until 1 September 2017. In the explanation of the judgement, the court explains that in the first decision on the Rent Control by the Senate, the reasons given were lacking. According to federal law (§§ 556d et seq. BGB), the justification should have been published on 1 July 2015. Other federal states have also committed this formal error.
  • 3 July 2018: The Senate issues a new regulation for the Rent Control in Hamburg. It is to apply until 30 June 2020.
  • 10 July 2018: A justification for the regulation is published in the Hamburg "Gesetz- und Verordnungsblatt".
  • 11 July 2018: From now on, the Rent Control is valid and legally binding for newly concluded rental agreements in Hamburg.
  • 1 April 2020: The Rent Control is tightened by the Federal Government: For tenancies starting on 1 April 2020 or later, excess rent can be reclaimed retroactively for up to 30 months. This applies nationwide and thus also to Hamburg. In addition, the Federal Government decides to extend the Rent Control.
  • 23 June 2020: The City of Hamburg complies with the decision of the Federal Government and extends the Rent Control for another 5 years.

Until when does the law apply?

The Rent Control is valid for the City of Hamburg since its extension until 30 June 2025. If your tenancy started on 11 July 2018 or later and you pay an excessive rent, you can apply the Rent Control.

H3: How well does the law work in Hamburg?

There has been much criticism regarding the effectiveness of the Rent Control in Hamburg. As early as 2017, a study revealed that landlords are illegally demanding high usurious rents for properties in central Hamburg. On 19 March 2020, the City of Hamburg published an evaluation report on the Rent Control in the transparency portal of the city. According to the study, the Rent Control has not yet shown the desired effects on the Hamburg housing market since its introduction. On the one hand, many landlords bypass the law unjustly and on the other hand, many tenants are not aware of their rights.

Attorney Daniel Halmer explains why Hamburg tenants should now become more active:

"Especially in a competitive market like Hamburg, where the Rent Control is not yet working as it should, it is important that tenants enforce their rights. Not only does every tenant have the potential to save money every month, but he or she also makes a relevant contribution to ensuring that the local comparative rent in the area does not rise any further".

The local comparative rent forms the basis for calculating the permissible rent level. And there are many other good reasons to use the Rent Control. Find out whether your rent is too high and how much you can save each month. CONNY will help you.

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

What exceptions are there for the Rent Control in Hamburg?

As in other federal states, in a few cases the Rent Control in Hamburg cannot be applied, or only to a limited extent:

  • New leasings & first leasings: For new flats used for the first time after 1 October 2014
  • Modernisation: For rental flats that have been extensively modernised
  • Old rental contracts: For tenancies concluded before the entry into force of the law
  • Temporary rental: for dwellings which are only temporarily rented
  • Protection of the status quo of the previous rent: For housing for which the previous tenants have already paid too high a rent

These exceptions apply nationwide. The City of Hamburg does not make any further exceptions with regard to the Rent Control. Even if one of the exceptions applies, this does not authorise the landlord to increase the rent at will. In Hamburg, for example, there is a cap: landlords are not allowed to increase the rent by more than 15 percent within three years. Despite the exceptions, it may therefore be worthwhile to examine your own case.

Lilli from Hamburg-Barmbek saves 150 € per month

Like many other tenants, Lilli hesitated for a long time before becoming active. For her 45 m² small flat in Barmbek she paid an inflated rent of 543 Euros cold. She commissioned CONNY to put the brakes on the rent and was successful.

How do I make use of the Rent Control in Hamburg?

To successfully apply the Rent Control in Hamburg, you as a tenant should take the following steps:

  1. Determine the maximum rent: You can use our free calculator for this purpose.
  2. Complain to the landlord: If your rent is too high, you should inform your landlord with a letter of reprimand.
  3. Ask for proof: If the landlord refers to an exception to the Rent Control in his reply, you can demand proof of this.
  4. Call in a lawyer or use the CONNY service: Your landlord does not take the letter of complaint seriously or does not provide any proof? Assert your right with legal support!

CONNY is Germany's leading online platform for legal services in tenancy law and helps tenants with legal challenges. Let CONNY help you to put the brakes on your rent - simply and conveniently:

  1. You send us your data on the flat.
  2. We will check your rent amount free of charge for you.
  3. If a reduction of the rent is possible, we pay a partner lawyer.
  4. You only pay if we are successful for you.

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