Naked landlord is not a reason for rent reduction

By Benno von Sandhayn
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Naked landlord is not a reason for rent reduction
Naked landlord is not a reason for rent reduction
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Court decision does not say rent reduction

An unusual court decision from Frankfurt is causing a stir: The Higher Regional Court (OLG) ruled that a landlord sunbathing naked in the yard is not grounds for a rent reduction. The tenants, an executive search firm in the upscale Westend neighborhood, had complained about it. But the court found that this does not affect the fitness for use of the rented property. In this blog article, we will take a closer look at the court’s decision and the reasons behind it.

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Background to the “naked landlord

The house in question is located in a very upscale residential area in Frankfurt’s West End, which offers peace and dignity. It is a residential building, which also houses an office floor. The tenant, the personnel consultancy, had reduced and partially suspended the rent after almost a year because she felt disturbed by the naked landlord. However, the landlord did not accept this and sued for payment of the outstanding rent.

Naked landlord is not a reason for rent reduction

The case initially ended up before the district court, which largely upheld the landlord’s claim. The tenant appealed, but had little success. The OLG ruled that a rent reduction was only justified due to extensive construction work in the neighborhood, which resulted in noise and dust. In this case, 15 percent rent reduction was considered appropriate.

Court decision and reasoning

The OLG based its decision on the fact that the usability of the rental object was not impaired by the naked landlord in the yard. Aesthetic sensibility plays no role in this and a “grossly improper act” is not present. In addition, the sun lounger is only visible if you lean far out of the window.

The naked landlord

Furthermore, the court found that the “junk” allegedly placed in the hallway did not go beyond what could be accepted as socially acceptable. Food odors are also no reason for a rent reduction, because in a mixed-use house, it is part of the process to occasionally cook lunch. At the on-site visit, which was specially scheduled for lunchtime, the court was unable to detect any kitchen odors.

The “musty smell” claimed by the tenant was also not perceptible to the judges. They also did not encounter a naked man in the hallway, as the defendant had claimed. The landlord credibly explained that he always wears a bathrobe, which he takes off only immediately before the sunbed.


The decision of the Frankfurt Higher Regional Court shows that the courts have the fitness for use of a rental object in mind and not the aesthetic sensibilities of the tenants. In this case, it was ruled that a naked landlord in the yard is not grounds for a rent reduction because the serviceability of the rental property is not impaired. In addition, it was emphasized that there was no “grossly improper action” and that the sun lounger was only visible when leaning far out of the window.

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This case underscores that tenants should carefully consider whether a rent reduction based on impairment is warranted. The courts attach great importance to the fact that the serviceability of a rental object is actually impaired before they allow a rent reduction. Aesthetic sensitivities or personal preferences of the tenants do not play a role.

Amicable agreement preferred

Tenants and landlords should always try to reach an amicable agreement before taking legal action. In this case, open communication between the parties might have led the landlord to be considerate of the tenant’s concerns without the need for litigation.

To the sexy landlord

Ultimately, this decision shows that German tenancy law aims to strike an appropriate balance between the interests of tenants and landlords. While tenants have the right to demand a rent reduction if the serviceability of their rental property is impaired, they must also accept that personal preferences and aesthetic sensibilities are not sufficient to justify a rent reduction.

Overall, tenants and landlords should always strive to maintain good communication and fair interaction to avoid misunderstandings and disputes. In many cases, open and honest communication can help both parties find satisfactory solutions and build a trusting relationship.

Source: Hessenschau

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