By Daniel A. Lauretano, Sr.
Chief, Client Services and Policy Division
Legal Assistant, Client Services & Policy Division
WIESBADEN, Germany – Army Regulation 420-1 and U.S. Army Europe Supplement 1 to Army Regulation 420-1 initially gives the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Housing Office the responsibility to resolve any landlord–tenant disputes you might have, before or after you move into your off-post residence.
Only after the housing office has exhausted their ability to resolve your problems with the landlord, will they refer you to the Legal Assistance Office.
Here are a few helpful tips as you prepare to search for a residence off post, move in and live in your residence during your time here in Germany.
First, attend the housing briefing. The briefing is held daily by a seasoned housing representative and provides valuable information you should be aware of before you prepare to search for a residence.
Second, ensure you use the lease agreement that the housing office offers. The housing lease is accepted by most off-post landlords and contains several helpful provisions that protect the tenant. The lease includes a description of the residence, including square footage, whether parking will be provided, how the rent payment will be made, the costs that will be paid by the landlord and tenant, minor repairs, move out of the tenant, and most importantly, termination of the lease.
Third, ensure the lease clarifies to your satisfaction who has responsibility for maintaining the yard (grass, weeds, bushes, trees, etc.) and common areas (snow removal, cleaning, etc.).
Fourth, ensure the landlord is present with you for the initial home inspection, and if housing is providing the service, ask for a representative of the housing office to attend and conduct the inspection. Inspect the residence meticulously before you move in using the Housing Inspection Checklist.
If you discover ay damage, annotate it on the form and if necessary, take photos of any damage. Ensure the landlord receives a copy of the move-in inspection sheet and photos so that your move out will be smooth.
Fifth, invite the landlord to observe household goods deliveries, furniture deliveries, and any movers from other local businesses. If movers damage the common areas or your residence, the landlord can handle the damage directly with the movers, saving you time from having to notify the landlord.
Finally, act quickly to mitigate any damage on your property. For example, if you have a leak, do everything possible to capture the water and prevent it from spreading, otherwise you may be responsible.