Finally move out! Goodbye parents, hello sweet freedom. Next stop: Flat-sharing community! Life in a flat-sharing community is exciting. Quickly threw a party and enjoyed the time of life. But hardly with the eyelash flinched one sits with the members of the flat sharing community at the round table and worries about the future of the flat sharing community, because oh shock: Tim, the main tenant, moves out. All the others, all of them subtenants, stay inside. What happens now with the rental agreement?

Three people in the apartment: Flat-sharing community


From a purely legal point of view, a rental agreement in a flat-sharing community does not differ from an ordinary rental agreement – in other words, the provisions of tenancy law apply. However, there are three different ways of drafting tenancy agreements.

  • One main tenant, the rest: subtenant
  • Each member of the shared flat is the main tenant
  • Each resident as an independent tenant

One main tenant, the other WG members are subtenants

In this case, the main tenant has a strong position. He is at the same time a tenant as well as a lessor, as he enters into sublease agreements with all other residents. It is important that the main tenant agrees with the landlord in the main contract that he may accept subtenants in the apartment. In addition, he also acts as a contact person for his subtenants.

This model of the tenancy agreement is particularly recommended for main tenants who plan to use their apartment alone at some point or for subtenants whose rental period is only planned for a foreseeable period. In the case of dismissals from the lease, the legal regulations apply; however, depending on the case, they may deviate from those of regular tenancies in the case of subleases.


  • The main tenant has all rights in relation to the landlord.
  • Subtenants are not jointly and severally liable* towards the owner of the apartment, but only towards the main tenant in accordance with the subtenancy agreement. As a rule, liability is limited to the rented room, bathroom and kitchen.
  • If a roommate doesn’t pay his rent, you don’t have to step in as a subtenant.


  • The main tenant is liable to the landlord for culpable conduct of his subtenants
  • If the rent of a subtenant is not paid, the main tenant owes the complete rent to the landlord.

Each member of the flat-sharing community is the main tenant

This model of the rental agreement is probably the most common. All tenants have signed the rental agreement and together assume full contractual liability towards the landlord. If the apartment is terminated by a member of the flat-sharing community, the termination must be declared by all members. It is not enough if a flat-sharing resident cancels the flat alone.


  • All members have the same rights and duties
  • No member of the group can give the termination to another member
  • The landlord must always send ancillary cost settlement, termination and other letters to all tenants
  • The landlord can collect any claims at his discretion from any tenant.


  • All members of the flat-sharing community are jointly and severally liable*.
  • Due to joint and several liability rather risky for individual tenants

*All joint and several liability means that the rental receivables can demand from all tenants, in full amount. If a flat-sharing resident does not pay the rent, the landlord can claim the full amount of the debt from any tenant.

Important MOVU tips:

  • Especially with this variant, it is important that a new tenant arrangement is agreed. This prevents problems with later changes of members of the flat-sharing community.
  • In addition, residents should make an internal written agreement independent of the main tenancy agreement, which regulates important details such as who has to bear what share of ancillary costs and how electricity, telephone and Internet costs are shared.

Each resident as an independent tenant

As a further option, residents can conclude a separate rental agreement with the rental authority. As a rule, this is done via the individual shared room and the shared use of common rooms such as the bathroom or kitchen. This option is particularly recommended for weekend residents or students who are only looking for a room for a certain period of time.


  • Tenants are only liable for their contract – shared rooms and the common rooms regulated in the contract. Breaches of duty by other residents are not at their expense.
  • Individual residents may terminate their lease at any time, subject to the legal cancellation period.
  • Tenants must not worry about a new tenant


  • Members of the flat-sharing community cannot choose their roommates themselves. This is done by the landlord.