The arrival of a bill for heating and ancillary costs usually means a host of questions for tenants. We have the most important answers and can show you how to check the bill in six easy steps, identify errors, and avoid inadmissible additional demands.
You receive a statement of ancillary costs because in your rental agreement various items are listed as ancillary costs which you are required to pay on top of your rent.
As a rule, a distinction is made between lump sum payments and payments on account. If lump sum amounts have been agreed, the ancillary costs are considered to have been paid, even if they are somewhat higher or lower in practice. With payment on account, you receive a credit with the annual statement if the actual heating and ancillary costs are less than the amount paid in advance. If the actual costs are higher than your payment on account, you will have to make a back payment.
Unclear terms such as “operating costs” are not permitted in a rental agreement; they must be specified in detail. A reference to general contractual conditions is also not permitted. For you as a tenant it must be clear which ancillary costs you will have to pay in addition to the rent.
If the actual heating and ancillary costs exceed the total payments made on account, you normally have to make a back payment.
If your total payments on account exceed the actual costs, you will receive a refund from your landlord – or the corresponding amount will be credited to your next annual statement.
You won't receive a statement if your heating and ancillary costs are already included in your rent or if you settle these costs by way of a lump sum payment.
In general, it is advisable to agree a sufficiently high payment on account when drawing up the rental contract. In this way, you can avoid having to make substantial back payments.
If something is unclear in terms of the ancillary cost statement, try talking to your landlord first: he or she will certainly let you see the receipts on which the statement is based. In this way, questions or misunderstandings can often be resolved directly and simply.
If you receive a bill for heating and ancillary costs, it’s worth taking a close look at it. When checking your annual statement of heating and ancillary costs, take it step by step: