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Household dissolution in the event of death:
Tips for clearing out

A budget dissolution often has to take place under time pressure. This means an additional burden for the bereaved. We'll show you how to best organize a clearing out in order to avoid unnecessary stress.

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What happens if a household is dissolved?

When a household or apartment is dissolved, the entire household of a deceased is cleared out. The entire facility, all furniture, all household items and all personal items are sold, given away, disposed of or taken to another household when a household is closed. At the end there is an empty apartment that can be renovated and moved into after clearing out.

Who can dissolve a household?

In the event of death, the deceased's estate becomes the property of the heirs. This also includes his entire household. The heirs can decide whether they want to keep the apartment including household items and furnishings, or whether they want to dissolve the household.

Terminate the rental agreement or not?

If the apartment is a rental property, the rental contract will also pass to the heirs of the deceased. As the heir, you then have the choice of terminating the rental agreement or taking over the apartment and using it yourself.

Take over apartment

If you would like to move into the apartment yourself, you can take the place of the deceased in the tenancy. In this case you will be entered as the new main tenant. You are of course free to carry out a household liquidation anyway and to set up yourself according to your own taste.

Exercise special right of termination

Alternatively, as an heir, you can make use of a special right of termination in the event of death in accordance with Section 580 of the German Civil Code (B├╝rgerliches Gesetzbuch). To do this, you must terminate the rental agreement within one month of the death of the main tenant. You then have the statutory period of three months to dissolve the household and clear out the apartment.

Right of termination for the landlord

The landlord also has a special right of termination in the event of death. However, he can only make use of this if there are serious reasons that make living together with the heirs unreasonable (e.g. noise pollution, pets).

How does a budget dissolution work?

There are two ways to dissolve a household or an apartment: Either you clear the apartment yourself or you hire a professional household dissolver to clear it out. Which way is the better depends above all on how much time you have to liquidate the apartment.

Organize household liquidation yourself

If you can exhaust a three-month notice period, a self-organized household dissolution is no problem. This time should be enough to sell, give away, or dispose of the entire household. A big advantage: the self-organized household resolution and clearing out is free of charge.

  • The biggest challenge in dissolving a household or apartment is to sell or give away all of the home furnishings.
  • Fortunately, today there are many ways to get rid of used furniture and household items.

You shouldn't expect high profits from the liquidation of the household: Old furniture is usually not very valuable, unless it is antiques (before 1945) or particularly sought-after styles such as Danish mid-century furniture. But it would be a shame to dispose of well-preserved pieces. There are many people who are still happy about it.

Art and valuables

At the beginning of the clearing out, you first sort out objects that could be valuable: This includes jewelry, old porcelain, paintings and art objects. You can offer these to second-hand bookshops or auction them on eBay. If you are unsure whether a piece is valuable, get a professional to estimate it. If in doubt, it is worthwhile to seek several opinions.

Furniture and household items

You no longer have to drag furniture, kitchen appliances, crockery and furnishings to the flea market yourself. With free eBay classifieds you can get rid of (almost) all of your household goods for self-collectors - provided the price is right.

Well-preserved furniture, kitchen appliances and other items are also picked up by charitable institutions such as social department stores or by Caritas. It is best to ask what is needed. Often these facilities also accept worn clothing, toys, and books.

It is best to dispose of shabby and broken pieces of furniture in the bulky waste. Picking up bulky waste is free in many municipalities. But even if you have to pay for the disposal, this is usually cheaper than ordering a whole container.

Used clothing

When a household is liquidated, one usually has to deal with used clothing. Items of clothing and shoes in good condition can be disposed of in the used clothing collection. If the clothes are in perfect order, they will also be accepted free of charge by social department stores. Damaged and soiled items of clothing should be thrown into the trash immediately.

Toys and books

Old toys in good condition can have a high collector's value today. It is best to have it assessed by a professional. You can sell newer toys at the flea market or auction them off on eBay after the household has been closed.

Books, on the other hand, are difficult to get rid of. Offer them for self-collection on eBay classifieds or hand the books in as a complete package with clothing, furniture or toys to a social department store. Books that you can no longer get rid of can be disposed of as waste paper.

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Hire a clearing company

If you want to rent out the apartment or use it yourself, it is advisable to hire a clearing company to dissolve the household. Time-consuming, self-organized clearing out can mean you lose valuable rental income or you end up paying rent for two apartments. A clearing company is also a good idea if you don't have the time or the inclination to take care of the budget liquidation yourself.

  • Clearing companies handle household liquidations in a fraction of the time it would take you to do them yourself.
  • You can find professional providers for household resolutions and clearing out as well as waste disposal companies on the Internet.
  • It is important that you do not hire the first provider to dissolve the household right away. There are also black sheep with professional providers.

compare offers

Compare at least three providers before choosing a clearing company. The disposal company should make you a transparent offer. This can be, for example, a predetermined all-inclusive price. Other companies offer a non-binding inspection of the apartment in advance and then make a cost estimate.

Important: liability insurance

Make sure the household dissolver has liability insurance. Just as with a move, the liquidation of an apartment can quickly lead to damage in the apartment, in the hallway or in the stairwell.

Duration of a household dissolution

How long it takes the clearer to dissolve the household depends on the size of the apartment and the type of furnishings. As a rule of thumb, clearing out a 3-room household should not take longer than one working day.

Household liquidation costs

Professional clearing out costs around 500 euros per room. Some providers of household resolutions also buy discounts or resell well-preserved furnishings. The proceeds can later be offset against the costs of liquidating the apartment. This is known as crediting.

Tip: secure hidden treasures

Before you start clearing out, you should carefully search the apartment for personal mementos and hidden valuables. Once the facility is sold, given away or thrown away, hidden treasures are lost forever.

  • Look in closets and drawers for money, valuables, or items with high emotional value.
  • In books you can sometimes find hidden or forgotten banknotes, letters and postcards that have been used as bookmarks.

What else is important in the event of death?

When a loved one dies, there are many important decisions to be made in a short space of time. In addition to the dissolution of the household, the bereaved must organize the funeral, inform insurance companies, and terminate contracts and memberships.

Here you will find an overview with the most important points to be observed in the event of death:

What to do in the event of death

Apartment liquidation in the event of death

If you are not the heir to the main tenant or if you are declining the inheritance, you do not have the right to dissolve or clear the household. In this case, you are also no longer allowed to enter the apartment. If you have a key to the apartment, you have to give it to the landlord.

Your contact in the event of death

We would be happy to advise you free of charge. In the event of death, we will take care of all formalities for you and organize a funeral according to your wishes.

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