Tenants’ Association warns of additional costs: heating billing comes monthly

Tenants’ Association warns of additional costs
Heating bills come monthly

In the future, households should no longer receive a list of their energy consumption for heating every year, but every month. According to a decision by the Federal Council, all heating cost meters must be remotely readable by 2026. But: who bears the cost of the retrofitting?

In future, tenants and apartment owners will be informed about their heating energy consumption on a monthly basis. The Federal Council approved the new heating costs ordinance, but demanded a review after just three years. The regional chamber fears that the regulation could lead to additional costs for tenants. If their demands are implemented, the regulation can come into force.

Newly installed heating cost meters must then be remotely readable. Existing devices must be upgraded or replaced by the end of 2026. Data protection is to be ensured by an obligation for manufacturers to only install meters in accordance with the standards of the Federal Office for Information Security.

The heating cost bill should, if possible, contain a comparison of the previous consumption and the average consumption as early as January 2022. The information can be made available by post, e-mail or in an app. According to the government, the aim of the regulation is to encourage consumers to “use heat energy more consciously and sparingly”.

The newly installed meters should be able to exchange data with devices from other manufacturers. This is to ensure that there is sufficient competition and that metering service companies cannot enforce drastic price increases.

Tenants’ Association warns of additional costs

This is exactly what the Federal Council fears, however, and therefore called on the federal government to review the regulation after three and not five years. The aim is to be able to recognize as early as possible whether the changes will result in additional costs for tenants and these will be charged without compensation, explained the regional chamber.

The German Tenants’ Association had also warned of additional costs for tenants in advance of the vote – for example due to high billing costs and drastic price increases by metering service companies. Landlords could use the expense of newly installed equipment as an opportunity to increase the rent for modernization or, under certain conditions, pass on the rental costs for the equipment.

In the Federal Council, an application by the states of Hamburg and Bremen to strengthen tenant protection when renting out furnished apartments and short-term contracts was also removed from the agenda at short notice. The two city-states had criticized the fact that the regulations on rent controls are circumvented in practice by short-term or chain rental agreements. A majority for the project was not foreseeable. By being removed from the agenda, the federal states prevented the initiative from becoming obsolete and can now continue to promote the project in the Federal Council.

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