Index rent: Increase without any dispute
Index rental contract means: The rent should develop like the cost of living. A simple, clear example of such an agreement: “The consumer price index for Germany determined by the Federal Statistical Office determines the rent”. This is expressly permitted by Section 557b of the German Civil Code. However, any agreement that links the rent to a different price development is ineffective. Only the official consumer price index can be used as a benchmark. Advantage of such index rent agreements: There can be no dispute over rent increases. The otherwise permissible and often fiercely disputed rent increases are excluded in the case of index leases. How much index rent is to be paid can be clarified with a pocket calculator after visiting the Federal Statistical Office’s website on the consumer price index – actually. But it doesn’t work that easily. More on this below under Calculation of the index rent.
However, index rents do not increase automatically – unlike graduated rents. Only the landlord’s declaration that the rent is now to be adjusted to the development of the consumer price index leads to the rent increase. The consent of the tenants, which is otherwise required for rent increases, is then no longer relevant. The rent increases at the end of one month at the beginning of the next month after receipt of the index rent increase declaration. Example: The declaration of rent increase ends up in the tenant’s mailbox on Monday, October 31, 2022. Your rent will then increase from December 2022. The increased rent is already payable for this month as stipulated in the contract – usually by the third working day of the month. If tenants don’t do this, they risk being evicted sooner or later.
The only requirement for the rent increase according to the consumer price index: the rent had previously remained unchanged for a year. There are isolated agreements according to which the rent only increases if the consumer price index has meanwhile changed by at least three percentage points. Such agreements are effective. If the index exceeds the agreed threshold, however, the rent increases again in line with the index. The three percent will not be deducted from the rent increase. The so-called cap limit, which landlords and landlords must observe for rent increases in contracts without a special agreement, does not apply either.
Another important thing: the landlord must say how much rent they will be asking for from the beginning of the month after next. They must also provide the Consumer Price Index values to which they refer. If mistakes occur, this does not usually lead to the invalidity of the claim. Of course, tenants do not have to pay more than the correct calculation results in. If landlords have made a mistake to their detriment, tenants do not have to pay more than requested.
Right to rent reduction in case of deflation
Only theory and also not provided for in the wording of the legal regulation, but still mandatory according to the legal experts of Stiftung Warentest: If the consumer price index falls and instead of inflation there is deflation, then at the request of the tenant the rent will fall exactly as it should rising cost of living at the request of the landlord.
Calculation of the index rent
Exactly how high will the index rent rise now? Anyone who tries to calculate it quickly realizes that at least the simple index rent clauses are not sufficient to draw up an exact calculation. The Federal Court of Justice only determined how to do it last year: The monthly consumer price index that the Federal Statistical Office uses when the tenant receives the declaration of rent increase applies.
This is incorporated into a formula: the originally agreed rent divided by the value of the consumer price index for the month in which you move in multiplied by the consumer price index for the month when the declaration of rent increase was received gives the new rent to be paid from the beginning of the month after next.
Federal Court of JusticeJudgment of 05/26/2021
File number: VIII ZR 42/20
test.de index rent calculator
For all apartments rented after the legal regulation on indexed rent came into force on September 1, 1993, you can use our online indexed rent calculator to calculate all rent increases whose request you received after March 11, 2022. Enter the amount stated in your rental agreement as the starting rent. This is usually the net cold rent without additional costs. Exceptions are contracts with warm rent. In such a case, the amount specified is the basis for calculating the new indexed rent.
Please note when using the index rent calculator:
Deviating agreements. The calculator applies to simple index-linked rental contract clauses, as previously assessed by the Federal Court of Justice (see above). Deviating regulations to the detriment of tenants are ineffective. Regulations in the rental agreement that do not burden tenants but deviate from the calculation rules that the Federal Court of Justice has specified for basic index rental agreements are effective. The legal experts at Stiftung Warentest consider it permissible if the contract gives the landlady the right to increase the rent once a year based on the inflation rate determined by the Federal Statistical Office. It corresponds to the development of the consumer price index. However, a regulation in the rental agreement according to which the rent is automatically increased by the inflation rate is ineffective.
Higher increase than requested. The test.de online calculator will always show you a slightly higher rent than your landlord is asking for. You only have to pay what is required. The reason for the sometimes higher results of the test.de calculation: The Federal Statistical Office always publishes the monthly value for the consumer price index between the 10th and 14th of the following month. If you receive the index rent increase request by this date, then according to the announcements by the Federal Court of Justice on the index rent, the previous value is decisive. The provisional value for the consumer price index, which is always published at the end of the month, does not count. This becomes practically relevant for you if the index should fall again, as it has done a few times in the past. And right now: The consumer price index fell by 0.6 points from October to November 2022, corresponding to 0.5 percent. The landlord is only entitled to a correspondingly lower rent increase if his declaration of an increase based on the old index value only reaches the tenant after the new, lower index value has been published. In concrete terms, this means: If your landlord requests a rent of 1,337.96 euros based on the October index in a letter that you will only receive on Wednesday, December 14, 2022 or later, the November index value is actually applicable calculate and he is only entitled to 1,331.39 euros. You should point this out to your landlord or landlady to avoid unnecessary disputes.
Receipt of the rent increase declaration. The decisive point in time for calculating the rent increase is the working day on which you receive the declaration of increase from your landlord. That’s not always the day you find them in the mailbox. Rather, it depends on when it was to be expected that you would read the letter. That depends on when your mail usually comes. If the letter with the increase declaration is in the mailbox by this time, it has been received on this day. If the postman comes unusually late or if the landlord himself or a courier posts it later in the afternoon or even in the evening, the letter will not be received until the following working day. If it cannot be clarified when access was, then this is at the expense of the landlord or landlady. He or she must demonstrate and prove that you received the statement in time for his or her claim to be justified. You can therefore usually count on the day on which you found the declaration in the mailbox. Exception: Saturdays do not count. Statements that land in the mailbox on Saturday are not received until the following working day. This is regulated in the Civil Code.
subsequent rent increases. Unfavorable for tenants: The agreed rent applicable at the time of moving in must always be taken into account. You would do a little better if the calculations were always based on the last rent increase, since this is due to the minimum period for the increase of one month and one day and the delay in the index value caused by the calculation of the new value for the consumer price index at the Federal Statistical Office for the previous month or the month before that. This unavoidable delay would benefit tenants again and again with every rent increase and the development of rents would lag significantly behind the consumer price index.
Index rent and rent control. The rental price brake rules also apply to index rental contracts. However: In contrast to graduated rental agreements, in which the rental price brake can have an effect again and again, only the originally agreed rent is checked. Rents that are later recalculated using the consumer price index apply even if they violate the rent control rules at this point in time. Details under Mietpreisbremse: How to defend yourself against rents that are too high.