In accordance with DIN 31051, the term “maintenance” refers to all measures to conserve and restore the utility, functional and intended status of a property. Furthermore, maintenance also includes the identification and assessment of the current state of equipment or buildings.1 The maintenance level is dependent on the wear margin. When a building is completed this is 100% and is reduced continuously by use unless maintenance measures offset this wear. Maintenance comprises the following areas:

  • Inspection (analysis of the current situation, determining the causes of wear and deriving maintenance measures)
  • Servicing (measures to preserve functionality)
  • Repairs (restoration of functionality)
  • Improvement (modernisation)
  • Vulnerability analysis2


In residential construction a distinction must be made between maintenance in tenancy law and in home ownership. In accordance with section 535(1) of the Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch (BGB – German Civil Code), maintenance is one of the landlord’s main duties. Accordingly, the rented apartment must be kept in a usable and contractual condition. This means that its habitability is not impaired by wear or ageing. The landlord’s maintenance obligation also includes communal spaces and entrances. In rental practice, minor repairs can contractually be recovered from the tenant up to a certain amount.

For the maintenance of private property it should be noted that the owner itself is responsible in accordance with section 14 no. 1 of the Wohneigentumsgesetz (WEG – German Residential Property Act). It must bear the full cost of maintenance. By contrast, the cost of maintenance on community property is shared. The respective maintenance measures are usually resolved by the owners’ association.3
Maintenance is the duty of the owner of a property. In commercial leases, however, this is regularly assigned to the tenant. The fundamental contract freedom allows individual arrangements for the assumption of maintenance costs. In so-called triple-net leases, the entire costs of the upkeep, maintenance and repair of the building are assigned to the tenant in addition to the taxes and insurance.4

  • 1 Vgl. Pfnür, Andreas (2011): Modernes Immobilienmanagement, 3. Aufl. Berlin, S. 113-114.
  • 2 Vgl. Kurzrock, Björn-Martin (2011): Lebenszyklus von Immobilien. In: Rottke, Nico B.; Thomas, Matthias: Immobilienwirtschaftslehre Band I. Management, Köln, S. 430.
  • 3 Vgl. Sailer, Erwin; Grabener, Henning J.; Matzen, Ulf (Hrsg.) (2014): Immobilien-Fachwissen von A-Z. Das Lexikon mit umfassenden Antworten und Erklärungen auf Fragen aus der Immobilienwirtschaft, 10 Aufl. Kiel, S. 556-557.
  • 4 Vgl. Bönker, Christian; Lailach, Martin (2009): Praxisleitfaden Immobilienrecht. Erwerb Finanzierung Bebauung und Nutzung, 2. Aufl. München, S. 233.
Swiss Life Asset Managers
: 6/28/2022