The social clause in rental law: Protection mechanism for tenants

Welcome to the blog of Hochheiden Property Management, your expert in real estate management. In the dynamic world of the real estate market, it's crucial to maintain a balance between the interests of landlords and tenants. A central element contributing to the protection of tenants is the social clause. In this post, we aim to explain what the social clause is, how it works, and what significance it holds for both tenants and landlords.

What is the social clause?

The social clause, legally embedded in German tenancy law, provides tenants with protection against terminations that would represent an undue hardship for them or their family. This protective mechanism particularly applies to termination notices for landlord's own use or terminations due to extensive renovation measures. The social clause allows the tenant to raise objections against the termination if ending the tenancy would constitute a special hardship that cannot be justified even when considering the legitimate interests of the landlord.

Application of the social clause

The application of the social clause requires evidence that the tenant would indeed face a special hardship due to the termination and the associated relocation. This may include:

  • Severe health problems

  • High financial burdens due to the move

  • Social integration in the local community, especially for elderly individuals

The decision on whether the social clause applies ultimately rests with the court, which considers all circumstances of the individual case.

Significance for tenants

For tenants, the social clause offers an important protective mechanism aimed at preventing them from being displaced from their homes without valid reasons and without consideration for their personal situation. It enables tenants to remain in their familiar environment, even if the landlord claims own use or extensive renovation of the building.

Significance for landlords

The social clause is also significant for landlords. They must be aware that enforcing a termination based on the social clause may be challenging and could potentially result in longer notice periods or legal disputes. This underscores the need for landlords to carefully consider termination reasons and engage in early dialogue with tenants to find mutually acceptable solutions.


The social clause is an essential part of German tenancy law designed to protect the interests of tenants and ensure social balance. It requires landlords to exercise a high level of care and responsibility when dealing with terminations. For tenants, it provides an important protective function that can come into effect in difficult life situations.

Hochheiden Property Management is here to assist you with all questions regarding tenancy law. Whether you're a tenant or a landlord, our team will help you find fair and legally sound solutions in your best interest.

Do you have questions about the social clause or need assistance with tenancy matters? Contact us – we're here to provide you with competent and comprehensive advice