As in many aspects of everyday life, also an apartment reservation requires some legal regulation. Lodging rental / reservation is based on the regulations on temporary rental (German civil code) and are binding. Additionally, the guideline of the German hotel and gastronomy association (DEHOGA) apply. Accordingly, DEHOGA informs as follows:
1. As soon as a guest room is ordered and confirmed, a lodging agreement becomes effective. Written form is not required. Ordering via telephone is sufficient. For proof reasons, it is recommended to make an ordering in writing or at least insist on a written confirmation which applies especially for longer stays. Fax may be a helpful and quick tool.
2. The lodging agreement requires the parties to fulfill the respective obligations for the entire duration of the agreement:
a) The host is required to provide the lodging as booked.
b) The guest is required to pay the rent for the duration of the booking.
3. The host can be held liable if the booked room is not available upon arrival (e.g. over-booking, construction etc.). In this case, the host has to pay damages to the guest. This may include transportation to a replacement lodging and the difference for a higher lodging price in the replacement lodging. The guest is not required to take a lower-priced lodging than the original one.
4. The guest can be held liable if he or she does not uses the booked lodging (cancelation, no-show). He or she remains required to pay the price for the booked lodging service regardless of the reason of the cancellation/no-show (§ 537 German civil code). This does not represent damages but the fulfillment of a valid claim.
5. A lawful right to cancel is not provided. Also illness, death and car breakdown does not eliminate the duty to pay the lodging rent. This general provision does not apply if
- The parties have agreed on a right to cancellation by an individual agreement or by means of general term and conditions.
- The host’s service shows deficiencies (e.g. unusual noise, dirt, bugs, wrong promises etc.) and the host does not make use of an adequate term to remedy the deficiencies set by the guest. The guest has a cancellation right according to § 543 German civil code.
- The host or his employees accepts the cancellation.
6. Alternative rent
Only for the period wherein the accommodation is fully occupied for the booked apartment category does the guest not have pay the amount equal to the alternative revenue for said period. The host is bound by good faith to offer unused apartments to avoid vacantness.
7. Deduction of saved expenditure
Cancellation invoices have to take saved expenditures into consideration. Regularly, saved expenditures regarding lodging in a holiday apartment are 10%, regarding lodging with breakfast 20%, regarding half board 30% and regarding full board 40% of the agreed price. In Bavaria (official communication No 10/84, dated 24 August 1984) provides a respective condition recommendation approved by the ministry of economics. This was approved by case law. The higher district court Frankfurt (U 77/83) and district court (U 79/91) assumed only 10% of saved expenditures for lodging including breakfast.
8. Cash payment and lien
The host has a right to cash payment of all services before departure and, accordingly, a lawful lien regarding the items brought in by the guest.
9. Place of jurisdiction
Regularly, the place of lodgment is the place of jurisdiction, because also in case of non-using of the apartment, the obligation according to the lodging agreement (payment of the rent) is due at the place of the lodging business (place of jurisdiction is place of service, § 29 civil rules of procedure, § 269 German civil code). This was frequently confirmed by case law, e.g. by the district court Kempten (S 2154/86): no-show shall not be put the guest in a better position than regular arrival.