Autumn can be a big challenge for many renters. Due to the sharp rise in energy costs, the additional costs are skyrocketing. In some cases, nuclear and family families have to make additional payments in the three-digit range.
“The big hammer for tenants will come in autumn 2022 at the latest, when excessive utility bills for 2021 end up in the mailboxes,” Volker Rastadter from the Munich Tenants’ Association told FOCUS Online in the spring.
Nevertheless, Rastatter warned of indirect fare increases. If the ancillary costs continue to rise sharply, landlords can increase the monthly installments. This makes the rent, including heating, more expensive overall.
The President of the German Tenants’ Association, Lukas Siebenkoten, fears that tenants will soon have to pay “too much” given the high inflation rate, mainly due to rising electricity and gas prices.
Can landlords increase the upfront payment?
Basically yes, if the landlord has previously submitted a statement for the current year. If this results in a significant increase and the tenant has to pay much of the amount owed, landlords can increase the upfront payment.
This process provides a lot of material for discussions between tenants and landlords, as tenants’ associations explain on request. In order to be able to pay oil, gas and district heating bills, according to the German Tenants’ Association, previous landlords now insist on a higher monthly advance payment in the current billing year – before the bill is available. “Tenants are increasingly expressing a desire for more leeway,” was the original formulation.
“If the landlord can increase the amount of the monthly advance payment, the tenant is threatened with high additional payments because of the increased heating costs,” explains Volker Rastadter from the Munich Tenants’ Association.
This increases the rent including heating, as it consists of a fixed rent and an advance payment. The landlord calculates the amount of the advance payment according to the current prices and consumption. It is initially unclear whether the tenant heats too much or uses too much water.
Landlords collect upfront payments before the all-important billing
In its hearing, the Haus und Grund owners’ union registered that high costs are causing landlords concern: “In our unions, too, there are more and more inquiries about rising energy prices – for example in the case of advance payments. can be customized via this question.”
It is unclear to what extent the higher advance payment has already been agreed. “Inquiries reach the tenants at least as quickly,” explains Jutta Hartmann, spokeswoman for the tenants’ association. So far, no major controversies have been reported.
Hartmann emphasized: “Landlords are not entitled to demand higher advance payments during the year. The landlord is only entitled to payment of the increased ancillary cost deduction payment after the information has been transmitted.
Will rental apartments be expensive at the end of the year?
Overall, higher inflation is actually driving rents higher. All apartments with index rent are now directly affected. This amount is based on consumer prices. If the last increase was at least a year ago, it can now become more expensive for tenants.
Apartments that are linked to the customary local rent index are also indirectly affected. “Munich, for example, will have a new rent index in spring 2023. Inflation could rise further here. That cannot be ruled out,” says rental specialist Raststetter.
Contract growth is fixed with graduated tariffs. An additional price increase due to the current wave of inflation is not allowed.
Index rental cover is coming
For the tenants’ association, the question arises as to whether a cap on indexed leases is necessary at all, explained Lukas Siebenkoten, President of the German Tenants’ Association (DMB). “From our point of view, that would be a sensible approach.” In standard rental agreements, rents are currently allowed to rise by a maximum of 20 percent over three years, and by 15 percent in cities with a housing shortage.
The traffic light coalition wants to reduce this price to 11 percent. According to Siebenkoten, adjustments to the index leases would limit annual growth to less than four percent – which is currently below the inflation rate.
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