Everyone who lives for rent has been confronted with this before: The ancillary costs. A term that can contain everything and nothing and has already caused many headaches. What exactly are ancillary costs? And why is there a request for additional payment in the mailbox?
What exactly are ancillary costs?
Ancillary costs are costs that have to be paid by the tenant in addition to the monthly rent. They are stated in writing in the tenancy agreement. These costs must always be related to the use of the rented property. For example, they may include heating and hot water costs, the maintenance of technical equipment or the landlord’s administrative expenses.
Caretaker costs: These costs finance the caretaker who takes care of repairs, maintenance and cleaning of the rented property.
Garden maintenance: If the garden maintenance is listed in the rental agreement, the costs will be used to maintain the garden of the rental property. This includes cutting hedges, mowing the lawn and removing leaves.
Electricity in the hallway: The costs are calculated for the general electricity. This includes, for example, corridor and front door lighting or electricity used in the laundry room.
Water and wastewater: The costs for water and wastewater include the costs for water for showers and cooking, etc., as well as the consumption fee for the wastewater that is produced.
Snow clearance: Although snow clearance is often set as an obligation of the tenant and therefore not billed separately, snow clearance work can be billed separately.
Elevator: If an elevator is installed in the house, the costs for electricity usage and maintenance can be billed.
It is important to note that repair and administration costs are not included in the ancillary costs settlement and must be borne by the landlord.
Payment on account or flat rate ancillary cost settlement?
Depending on what is stipulated in the rental agreement, the landlord will charge the costs on account or on a flat rate basis.
In the case of payment on account, the tenant pays a fixed monthly amount. The landlord prepares a detailed annual statement to provide the tenant with an overview and to justify any additional payments. If the payments on account have been overcharged, the tenant can expect a refund of his excess payments.
In the case of a flat rate payment, the tenant pays a monthly flat rate and does not receive an annual statement.
If certain costs are not mentioned in the rental agreement, they are included in the rent and may not be billed separately.
What to do in case of false invoicing?
If you find an error on your statement or if certain points are not clear, do not hesitate to contact the landlord. To be on the safe side, check the following points:
Is the settlement period of the ancillary cost settlement correct?
You will find the period for which the costs are calculated on the statement. Usually a period runs from January to the end of December, or April to the end of March, the start time is usually adjusted to the move-in month. Take a closer look when it comes to billing for your move-out, as it may not be exactly twelve months.
Are the individual ancillary costs correct?
The service charge statement must clearly state which costs are to be calculated. These costs must necessarily be specified in advance in the rental agreement. If additional costs have been listed, they may be inadmissible.
Is the distribution key correct?
Provided that you live in a house with several parties, the costs will be calculated proportionally for each apartment to ensure a fair distribution. The criteria according to which this is done are not prescribed by law, but should nevertheless be comprehensible for you.
Were flat-rate payments or payments on account correctly credited?
Check whether a calculation error has occurred and whether your already paid contributions have been incorrectly credited.
Compare the ancillary costs statement with previous statements. If something new is listed or a certain statement deviates greatly from the statements for the previous year, do not hesitate to contact the landlord and ask for a reason.
Have you checked the above points and are still undecided whether the ancillary cost statement is permissible? Then ask your landlord for a detailed list of the particular statement.
In principle, the tenant can also request access to the landlord’s invoice receipts. If there is actually an error in the statement, the tenant has the right to a new ancillary costs statement. The deadline for submitting the settlement to the tenant is six months after the end of the settlement period.