Renter asked to do pregnancy test for Berlin flat viewing
A woman who was looking for a flat in Berlin was asked by her prospective landlord to show proof that she wasn’t expecting a baby. After arguing that the landlord was breaking the German Grundgesetz (Basic Law) with her demands, the application was rejected on the basis of “inappropriate behaviour towards landlords”.
Berlin renter asked by landlord for pregnancy proof
600-euro rewards for finding a flat, a sea of online scams and a 150-metre-long queue for one viewing; the capital’s housing crisis is leaving Berliners increasingly vulnerable to exploitative and discriminatory practices.
After finding a place on the popular platform WG-Gesucht, Carla was invited to a flat viewing. In order to organise the flat viewing she was sent a link to a website where she could schedule the date. At this stage, the landlord also asked her to provide some documents, including proof that she wasn’t going to move into the flat with children.
“Zudem muss nachgewiesen werden, dass keine Schwangerschaft besteht” (“This includes providing evidence that you are not pregnant”), wrote the landlord. To complete this process Carla was expected to contact a doctor designated by the owner of the property.
Rejected for “inappropriate behaviour towards landlords”
Carla said that her initial reaction to the pregnancy test request was, “What the hell is this about? My desperation is great, but my sense of justice is greater,” she told t-online.
In response to the landlord’s stipulations, Carla replied and argued that the demands were illegal and discriminatory. To this, she received an equally questionable response, with the flat owner telling her that as a private landlord, they were allowed to determine whatever contractual terms they pleased. The landlord added, “Of course, you can seek legal advice and file a complaint if necessary. However, this will be rejected."
The landlord continued with this line even after Carla argued that the application requirements were in breach of Germany’s Grundgesetz, and eventually relinquished her offer for the flat because of Carla’s “unlawful accusations” and “inappropriate behaviour towards landlords”
Were the landlord’s pregnancy test demands legal?
Speaking to t-online, a specialist in housing rights and Press Officer for Berlin’s Mieterschutzbund (Renters’ Protection Association), Christoph Albrecht, explained that the answer to the question of whether Carla or her prospective landlord was in the right is a bit more nuanced than one might initially expect.
The question of pregnancy status comes under so-called “non-questions”, which the landlord can ask but prospective tenants are not obliged to answer. And if tenants are unsure about whether they have to give an answer, “I would advise them to lie,” Albrecht said, adding that landlords cannot cite the tenant having children as a reason to reject their tenancy application.
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