When in Germany, do what the Germans do. Play by the rules and chances are you won’t get into trouble. However, that’s not to say that some rules don’t make you cringe.
1. The Peeing Law
At the Gynaecologist clinic, Dan pointed out to me that there was a sign telling men to pee sitting down. I’ve now learnt that men who do that are known as “Sitzpinkler” – which basically refers to their unmasculine behaviour. Gawwwd… I only pick up words like Stinkefinger and Sitzpinkler! So useful, right?!
I pointed out that since it’s a women’s clinic, perhaps they didn’t want men spraying everywhere in the loo. I didn’t know that such signs are actually quite common in Germany. I’ve never asked my German male friends how they pee, but why would I? I assume they all do it the “regular” way.
So, what happened recently is that a tenant’s deposit was withheld by his landlord who claimed that the former ruined his marble flooring in the loo by peeing while standing. However, the judge ruled against the landlord thus emphasizing that urinating while standing up is still common practice.
2. Agent Fees
2.38% commission (of Cold Rent) is what renters pay to agents who barely do anything apart from being there when you’re viewing an apartment and signing the contract. No after service whatsoever. Most of the time it’s the existing tenants that answers your questions regarding the flat instead of the agents.
However, landlords will soon be the ones responsible for engaging these agents. Really? They can surely include that expense in your rent. It will be interesting to see what rental prices are like once this rule is enforced (supposedly in Spring).
3. Fine for not paying for public transportation
I haven’t noticed any lately, but there used to be inspectors dressed in plain clothes checking if commuters have purchased valid tickets. It’s quite freaky because you could jolly well be seated next to an inspector and you didn’t know till he stands up and asks for your ticket. If you look back into history (all the spying!!), you would think that Germany would be the last place to have “secret inspectors”!
Anyway, the fine will increase from €40 to €60. Try moaning about the hike – you’ll be told it’s worse in France! Wow! That makes me feel better now.
4. Radio & TV Fee
We have no access to watching TV or listening to the radio. However, the fact that we own a TV for games & DVDs and a computer, we have to pay €17,98 MONTHLY!!! But now, we can save €0,48 each month because the rates have gone down. Every little counts, yah?