With every move, there is usually always renovation work to be done in the old apartment. When all concentration is already on the new domicile, this is often annoying. Both the new and the old living spaces may appear in this context the attribute ready for wallpapering or wallpaperable. Even though the word is often taken to be self-explanatory, it is often not fully clear exactly what this term means. In rental agreements, it is more often addressed under the so-called wallpaper clause – but this has been declared invalid.
What does ready for wallpapering mean?
“Ready for wallpapering” or “ready for wallpapering” means that the substrate of the walls has been cleaned of old wallpaper and prepared for the application of new wallpaper. After complete removal of all wallpaper residues, the substrate must also be primed and filled for this purpose. The new occupant or owner can then directly apply new wallpaper. But beware! This applies especially to woodchip wallpaper, because they forgive minor irregularities of the walls. For high-quality designer wallpapers or glossy wallpapers, a taper-finished substrate usually needs to be refinished. This boils down to priming, dispersion painting and spackling. Even if the walls are to be painted without wallpaper, additional filling and priming work is usually required. In professional circles, the Q2 standard means “wallpaperable”. Q2 is one of four quality levels of filler work. The quality grades were established by the Bundesverband der Gipsindustrie e. V. and Eurogypsum (European Association of the Gypsum Industry).
Quality levels Filling work
Q1 – basic filling: Q1 is sufficient to lay tiles.
Q2 – Standard filling: Filler ridges, joints and butt edges must not be visible. Fasteners such as screws must be removed or covered with putty. Smooth and stepless surfaces are given. The walls are ready for wallpapering with woodchip wallpaper and for the application of emulsion paints. Several work steps required: first application of filler (as in Q1), re-filling with fine filler, sanding of visible transitions and burrs if necessary.
Q3 – special filling: the basis is Q2, in addition, joints are filled, the entire surface is stripped, structures are smoothed by sanding. According to DIN 18340, this stage is considered a special service. Also suitable as a base for non-textured paints and gloss and designer wallpapers.
Q4 – full-surface filling: comparatively high amount of work (filling and sanding) to eliminate any disturbances in the surface. Suitable for glazes, any paints, glossy coatings and metal and vinyl wallpaper.
Wallpaper clause overturned
In the past, the so-called wallpaper clause used to haunt leases and cause tenants to break out in a sweat. The wallpaper clause stated that upon moving out, the tenant must remove all wallpaper that had been installed or had been installed by the previous tenant. A ready-to-wallpaper handover was the keyword here. This is a considerable amount of work or expense. But this spectre is a thing of the past. The Federal Court of Justice declared the wallpaper clause invalid due to unreasonable disadvantage to the tenant. So you can be sure that you do not have to hand over rented rooms ready for wallpapering in any case – even if this is stated in your rental contract. (By the way: The rights of builders are better protected by the new law on contracts for work and services).
Duties of the tenant when moving out
In addition, there are a number of recurring issues that always occupy minds when moving out. First and foremost, it should be noted that the contents of the lease agreement regulate what the landlord can demand from the tenant. Thus, one can rely less on general statements than on the concrete text of the contract. However, the contract should also be read in the light of the existing landmark rulings of the German Federal Court of Justice – because if it is contrary to these, certain clauses may be considered null and void. (You want to rent out yourself? Then you may be interested in our article Building granny annexe).
It should be noted that, contrary to everyday understanding, cosmetic repairs are in principle also the responsibility of the landlord. Only a corresponding contractual clause makes this an obligation of the tenant. Therefore, if there is no explicit clause regarding cosmetic repairs, the tenant does not have to perform them.
Even if the clauses are too rigid, the tenant is not always legally obligated to make cosmetic repairs. For example, if the contract clause states flatly that the tenant must always paint without regard to the condition of the apartment. In such a case, the landlord in many cases can not oblige the tenant to paint. The Federal Court of Justice also ruled in favor of tenants in landmark decisions: in the case of apartments that were handed over to the tenant unrenovated when he moved in, no cosmetic repairs can be demanded when he moves out. (Find out why the Steinert family decided to move from a rented apartment into a house of their own in our house building diary).