Where can I get final settlement notes

Additional costs: when tenants do not have to pay

Status: 05/27/2019 3:54 p.m. | archive
Often there is a dispute between tenants and landlords about heating costs.

Every tenant has to pay ancillary costs, also called operating costs, if the landlord adheres to the legal requirements. You will be billed once a year. But almost 50 percent of the utility bills are wrong, say tenants' associations. Landlords often issue inflated bills. Markt gives tips on how tenants can recognize errors in the utility bill and refuse to pay.

What are additional costs?

In addition to heating and hot water, there are 14 types of additional costs: property tax, water, sewage, elevator, street cleaning and garbage disposal, house cleaning and pest control, garden maintenance, lighting, chimney cleaning, insurance, caretaker, community antenna or broadband cable, laundry facilities and other costs such as swimming pool or sauna in the house.

When are tenants obliged to pay?

Tenants are only obliged to pay the ancillary costs if this is expressly agreed in the rental agreement. Exception: consumption-based heating costs have to be paid by tenants even if they are not mentioned in the rental agreement.

Until when do landlords have to settle accounts?

The landlord must submit the bill to the tenant no later than twelve months after the end of the billing period, i.e. the operating costs for 2018 by December 31, 2019.

What information should be included in the statement?

The landlord is obliged to provide the following information in the utility bill:

  • Billing period
  • Explanation of the allocation key
  • List of total costs
  • Calculation of the tenant's share
  • Offsetting of advance payments
  • Amount of repayment or additional payment

When billing, landlords must observe the principle of economic efficiency. The tenant may only be charged with operating costs that are necessary and reasonable.

How can tenants check the billing?

Tenants have the right to view all receipts. You may copy receipts, take notes, photograph them, scan them or copy them, as long as the landlord is not unreasonably affected. If the tenant cannot be expected to have a personal inspection, for example because of the great distance, he has a legal right to have copies sent.

What to do if landlords refuse to view documents?

If the landlord refuses to inspect the receipts, the tenant has the right to withhold the ongoing advance payment of additional costs. As long as the inspection of the receipt is refused, the landlord cannot demand any additional payment from the statement. Tenants also have the option of taking legal action to inspect the documents.

When do tenants not have to pay the ancillary costs?

The tenant must raise objections to the landlord within twelve months of receiving the invoice. Anyone who does not object and makes the required additional payment recognizes the billing.

If a statement contains fundamental errors, it is ineffective as a whole. It is then to be treated as if it had not been billed at all. If there are errors in the content of individual cost items, the tenant does not have to pay for these items.

HuhCommon errors in the utility bill

  • administrative expenses: Administrative costs, such as bank charges, postage, interest and telephone charges, are not included in the ancillary costs. The tenant does not have to pay, regardless of what is in the rental agreement.
  • Repair costs: The tenant does not have to pay for repairs in the house or apartment. That is up to the landlord.
  • Commercial space: If shops, companies or offices located in the same building cause higher ancillary costs, the landlord must take this into account. The tenants then only pay what is proportionately attributable to the apartment.
  • Maintenance costs: Maintenance costs can hide repair costs that tenants do not have to pay. Let them show you the evidence.
  • Insurance: Only property and liability insurance for buildings and land may be passed on to tenants, but not the landlord's legal protection insurance or his contribution to the property owners' association.
  • facility manager: Some caretaker contracts include garden maintenance or stairwell cleaning. If these items also appear on the utility bill, tenants may pay twice.
  • Vermin control: One-off costs, for example for cleaning an apartment contaminated with pests, are not operating costs. Even costs that can be proven to have been caused by a tenant may not be passed on to all.
  • Garbage disposal: The operating costs do not include the rental costs for garbage cans and the purchase costs for garbage cans.
  • miscellaneous: If the landlord wants to settle "other operating costs", the rental agreement must state what the specific costs are.
  • Advance payment: Tenants should check whether their prepayments made in the accounting period have been offset in full.

Incorrect utility bills after apartment sales

After the sale of an apartment and the change of property management, utility bills are often incorrect, observe tenants' associations. Possible reasons:

  • The knowledge of the previous property management company is lost through the sale.
  • Large residential groups often have their utility bills drawn up by central property managers who are not always familiar with the conditions in the individual apartments.

Trouble with a deposit: tips for tenants

After moving out of a rented apartment, the trouble often begins: It happens again and again that landlords do not repay the deposit. How can tenants defend themselves? more

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Market | 06/03/2019 | 8:15 pm