You looked for an apartment for a long time, you had fist fight with other potential tenants and you won your landlord’s heart. You signed the contract and made the money transfer for deposit. Now it is time to get your new apartment’s key.
You will be invited by your landlord/ rental agent to a meeting called “Schlüsselübergabe” which means handover of the keys. The purpose of this meeting is to note down the state of the apartment before you move in. This report will later be used to assess the state of the apartment when you move out. (If you don’t want to pay for the damages you did not cause make sure you notice everything in this visit and document them). I suggest you to do set the appointment during the day time when there is enough natural light to make sure you can notice everything.
Your landlord/ rental agent will most probably come to the meeting with a form that has sections for all the information to be collected. This is called Übergabeprotokoll (handover statement). If they do not have it ready or do not intend to do it, you should insist writing the “Protokoll” and getting their signature as it is a vital document that would protect you from unrealistic damage claims.
What you should do during the Handover / Schlüsselübergabe
Visit every room/space in the apartment and that belongs to the apartment and look closely for crack/ damage/ spot/ smell.
When you see something, show it to the landlord/ agent and make sure it is written down. To be even more sure, take photos of the damages you see and send copies to your landlord.
You should carefully observe the walls, the doors, the windows, floor (parkett etc.), radiators, water/electricity/ heaters, furniture (if there is) and the keller.
If there is a renter before you, he might have had to paint the house before the handover. If you are not happy with the painting or there are some problems with it, you have the right to ask it to be corrected / repainted and not to take over the apartment till it is in good condition.
Do especially the following during the handover:
- Open and close doors, check if the doors are functioning properly, check if the keys are working. Check the doors for cracks, spots, damages.
- Open the windows fully, check for spots, dirt, told on the window and on the frame. Tilt the windows and check if they work.
- Turn the water faucets on and off. Check if the warm water comes and how quick. Flush the toilet to see if it works.
- Check the bathtub for lime (kalk) and possible damages.
- Check the switchers and plugs.
- If there is a kitchen check the stove, oven, fridge and freezer if they work and they look allright.
- Check the keller and make sure it is empty and clean.
- Check the water, heater and electricity counters and write down the numbers. (When you get the yearly expenses calculation, check if these numbers were subtracted from the final numbers to calculate your expenditure)
When you are finished with the observations, finalise the report. Read the report again to make sure all your remarks are documented. Have two copies both dated and signed by the landlord/ agent and you. Keep your copy safe and secure as you will need it when you move out.
I hope you meet professional, honest and easygoing landlords/ rental agents and start living in your new apartment happily without much trouble at this “Protokoll” stage.
Have you already gone through this Handover? Do you have any other tips that can be helpful for us? Please write in the comments.