Housing is in short supply, rents are correspondingly high. Not least because of the energy transition, the additional costs have risen dramatically. They now account for up to 40 percent of the total rent. It is therefore more than understandable that tenants look more closely at the annual utility bill. In fact, according to tenants' associations, more than half of all bills seem to be wrong. In particular, non-recoverable additional costs can be found again and again.
Incidental costs are complex
When you rent an object, there are numerous other costs - the operating costs. Although the landlord is legally required to make the utility bill for a layman understandable and clear at the same time. Nevertheless, the additional costs are made up of a whole series of individual ancillary costs. These can in turn be so complex that form errors in the service charge settlement are very likely.
The recoverable operating costs
Within the statutory periods, however, the renter has the right to see all the additional costs. In addition to form and miscalculation here is a special attention not payable additional costs, which are often also included in the billing - out of ignorance, but also partially knowledgeable. However, to understand what non-recoverable additional costs are, it is first of all important to know the recoverable operating costs.
- Hot water
- Wastewater (sewer)
- Refuse collection
- Street cleaning
- House cleaning
- Lighting (common areas)
- Machine washing facilities
- Garden maintenance
- Community antennas and / or cable TV
- Chimney cleaning
- Property and casualty insurance
- Pest control
- Property tax
- other operating costs
Not every item is compulsorily repayable
In principle, all these operating cost items can be apportionable. The prerequisite for this, however, is that they are also mentioned in detail in the lease, namely at the time of initial agreement and not retroactively or retrospectively. Apart from a few exceptions, such as solar energy upgrading with new ancillary costs, there are no new additional charges. Thus, only the operating costs that were actually agreed are recoverable.
Real operating costs that are not recoverable
If the landlord, for example, a garden, which was carried out after the renter, it can incur no additional costs - if not already agreed in advance. But additional costs that have already been covered by other circumstances, can not be redistributed. For example, the tenants take over the house cleaning or the caretaker the garden maintenance.
Generally non-recoverable ancillary costs
In addition, only those costs that actually affect the tenant may be allocated. If the landlord retains a garden for himself or the garden is awarded to another tenant, no costs may be charged. Similar to the insurance: only those that affect the house (fire, storm, liability), are repayable. Non-recoverable are those that the landlord concludes for his benefit, so a rental insurance or his own home insurance.
Incidental costs must be regular costs
But not all of the real operating costs are also apportionable. It is the principle that it must be regularly recurring costs. Unique repair costs are therefore excluded - be it the heating system or the elevator. In the event of storm damage such as fallen trees, regional aspects may still be added. In the center of Germany there is a lower storm risk than in Hamburg. In Hamburg storms are even with a certain regularity on the agenda and thus feasible.Tips & Tricks That it is not easier with some different interpretations by the courts, is obvious. But it also makes it clear that it is very difficult even for tenants and landlords to recognize and interpret everything correctly. As a tenant, you should therefore first contact a tenant association in case of suspicion of ambiguity. There you will be told if it is after a utility bill with non-recoverable incidental costs or other errors. Then you go through the following details requested by the landlord for the service charge settlement together. The experts recognize very quickly whether there are non-recoverable items or other incorrect figures.