Rented Apartments: What Can Tenants Deduct?

High rents drain finances like nothing else. It comes as no surprise that tenants seek ways to deduct rental costs from the tax return. Luckily, there are ways to deduct from tax returns.


    Your Rent: A Sum of Numerous Individual Parts

    Your rent is composed of different parts: You pay a basic rent for the use of the living space, plus the ancillary costs for heating and electricity. Aside from that, you pay additional operating costs for the upkeep and maintenance of the property. This includes the water supply, sewage disposal, janitorial costs, and/or expenses for cleaning.


    Watch Out for the Utility Bill

    As a tenant, you need to look at household-related services in your tax return. This refers to the work carried out in your rented residence that you can also do by yourself.

    Even if you have not hired any domestic help or cleaning staff directly, you can enter various items of your utility bill as household-related services in your tax return. As a rule, all utility bills include stairwell cleaning, additional housekeeping services during winter, or caretaker services. You can submit your attributable costs to the tax office.

    According to § 35a EStG, a maximum of up to 4,000 Euros per year is deductible from your income tax. As a tenant, you need an itemized annual statement of the operating costs or a certificate from the landlord stating the portion you have paid as proof. It is important that the work took place in your apartment or the associated building or property.

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    Craftsman costs

    As a tenant, you will also have to deal with tradesmen’s services. These are used to renovate or maintain the apartment or house that you live in. Landlords like to allocate such expenses to operating costs. This includes, for example, maintenance work on the heating and water supply.

    The minor repairs clause in rental contracts can also be used to directly impose minor maintenance work on your apartment. A common example of this is repairing a clogged drain.

    You can deduct 20 per cent of the craftsmen wages from tax as craftsmen’s costs.

    The upper limit here is 6,000 Euros per year, from which you can deduct these 20 per cent.

    As a tenant, as in household-related services, you will need an itemized annual statement or a certificate from the landlord.


    The costs that you incur for household-related services or craftsmen’s services do not reduce your taxable income but directly reduce your tax liability. This means that even smaller amounts can be worthwhile!



    Another way to reduce your rental costs retrospectively is to deduct your office tax. There are two cases here: The first applies above all to freelancers or self-employed people whose professional activity is carried out exclusively from home. In this situation, you can consider all costs, i.e. rent, electricity and heating, proportionate to the number of square meters of the study.

    The second form refers to people who only partially work at home. This includes field workers and teachers, for example, who do most of their work outside but have to do some of their work at home. In this case, you can claim a maximum of 1,250 Euros per year.

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