Can the landlord keep a key to the rented apartment? Insights and Guidelines

Welcome to the blog of Hochheiden Hausverwaltung, your trustworthy partner in real estate management in Berlin. A frequently discussed topic among tenants and landlords is the question of whether the landlord can keep a key to the rented apartment. This article highlights the legal aspects and provides both tenants and landlords with valuable insights and recommendations.

Legal basis

The basic rule is: After the apartment has been handed over to the tenant, the tenant has the sole right of use. This means that the tenant can decide who has access to the apartment. The tenant's privacy is protected by the Basic Law, and the landlord is not allowed to enter the apartment without the tenant's consent.

Exceptions and special cases

However, there are situations in which the landlord wants or needs to keep a key for certain reasons:

  • Emergencies: In the event of an emergency, such as a burst water pipe, it may make sense for the landlord to have a key so that they can act quickly

  • Maintenance and repair work: For planned maintenance work, it can also be practical if the landlord has a key, but only if the tenant has expressly agreed to it beforehand

Consent of the tenant

The tenant's consent is the decisive criterion. A landlord may only keep a key to the rented apartment if the tenant allows him to do so. This permission should ideally be recorded in writing to avoid misunderstandings and to have a clear agreement.

Recommendations for landlords

  • Open communication: Discuss the topic early and openly with the tenant. Explain why you want to keep a key and assure that you will respect the tenant's privacy

  • Written Agreement: Record in writing the tenant's agreement to keep a key, including the reasons and conditions for its use

  • Building trust: Use the key only in agreed situations and always in consultation with the tenant to maintain trust and avoid legal conflicts


The tenant's right to privacy is paramount, and the landlord is not allowed to keep a key to the rented apartment without their consent. However, through open communication and a written agreement, arrangements can be made that are in the interests of both parties. It is important that both parties know and respect their rights and obligations. Hochheiden property management is at your side to support and advise you on all property management issues. Whether you are a tenant or landlord, we will help you find a fair and legally secure solution.

Do you have any questions about this topic or do you need support in managing your rental properties? Contact us – we are here to support you with our experience and expertise.