Verdict: serious illness can prevent evacuation

BGH: Courts must carefully examine hardship cases in the event of termination of rent
Karlsruhe (jur). Landlords cannot simply put a tenant at the door in the event of impending serious health problems. If a tenant, after receiving notice of personal need, indicates that he or she is at risk of serious health impairments or even mortal danger when moving, a court must examine this carefully and with the help of an expert, the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) in Karlsruhe ruled on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 (Ref .: VIII ZR 270/15).

The legal dispute now decided was about a retired couple who have rented a three-and-a-half-room apartment in an apartment building since 1997. The man, well over 80 years old, has very limited health. He also suffers from early dementia. His still sprightly wife takes care of him.

However, the landlord asserted his own use and terminated the lease. His son's family of four, who also live in the house, need the additional space. After the landlord's death, the heirs continued to pursue the deceased landlord's eviction suit.

The tenants claimed hardship reasons why they could not get out of their rented apartment. Moving would worsen the man's dementia, as he would be torn out of the familiar environment. If the apartment were lost, there would be no other alternative than the nursing home. The wife said that she would then either have to part with her husband or go to the nursing home; she doesn't want both.

The Baden-Baden district court assumed that a move with the man with dementia is actually associated with an impending deterioration in health. Nevertheless, the interest on the landlord side has priority. The son's cramped living conditions are unacceptable.

However, the court did not deal with the tenants' hardship reasons in the required manner, the BGH ruled. In the case of impending serious health impairments or danger to life, courts are required by constitutional law to carefully examine these reasons for hardship and to seek expert help if necessary. The expected severity of possible health impairments and other consequences of moving would have to be assessed.

The district court did not comply. The BGH must therefore make further factual findings on the specific case. For this he referred the proceedings back to the Baden-Baden district court. fle / mwo

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