Heat Rights: Tips for Renters and Employers

Tenants and employees do not simply have to put up with high room temperatures

Work relaxed in a cool office

© plainpicture GmbH & Co KG / Robijn Page

Opportunities for tenants

  • "Tenants generally have a right to tolerable apartment temperatures," says Claus Deese, first chairman of the tenant protection association. "But it depends on the structural situation." The dishes are based on whether someone lives in an old building that has not been refurbished in terms of energy or a newer building.
  • Even for unrenovated old buildings with their less stringent regulations, the top floor ceiling has to be insulated since 2014. That protects against cold and heat. If this is not the case, the landlord can be sued for repairs.

Tenants can get advice from the Mieterschutzbund

© W & B / Michelle Günther

  • A reduction in rent is a good way of applying pressure in the event of non-compliance with specifications such as this one. Before resorting to this remedy, however, you should seek advice from a lawyer or the tenant protection association on how to proceed in a legally correct manner. You also have to be able to prove the defect. The landlord must be informed and given a reasonable deadline for rectification. However, courts judge differently how high the reduction can be.

Employers have a duty

  • Whether in the office, workshop or shop: The "Workplace Ordinance" requires employees to have a healthy room temperature. This is specifically regulated in the "Technical Rule ASR A3.5".
  • There it is prescribed what the employer has to do when certain temperatures are exceeded. "But there is no general heat-free," says Dr. Kersten Bux from the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, who helped create the rule.

The room temperature must be conducive to the workers

© W & B / Michelle Günther

  • At over 26 degrees, the employer should make additional offers, provided the building is already protected against heat: for example more flexible flexitime or a relaxed dress code.
  • At temperatures above 30 degrees, these offers are a must. "The stress must be noticeably reduced, for example by avoiding dehydration by drinking enough water," explains Bux.
  • At over 35 degrees a normal office is no longer suitable for work. Exceptions are possible, however: the employee must, for example, regularly be able to relax sufficiently in a cooler room.