Incidental costs: which distribution keys can apply

Setting a distribution key for distributing heating costs to tenants is a complicated matter. By law, different rules of law may be used for fair distribution and combined with each other. How to do it right and what is not allowed, read here.

Consumption-based billing

In order to encourage individual tenants to save energy as well, the Heating Cost Ordinance stipulates that the allocation of heating costs to tenants must also be based on consumption.

At least 50% of the heating cost key must therefore take into account the consumption of the leasing party.

On the other hand, the allocation of heating costs must not be based solely on consumption, but up to a maximum of 70 percent. This complicates the design of a distribution key for the renter's utility bill.

Legally permissible distribution keys

Regular scales

The law permits a whole number of different so-called control standards. A control scale is a criterion by which the heating costs are distributed.

Permitted rules are, for example:

  • according to the ratio of the living space of the rented flats
  • to the ratio of the volume (m³ enclosed space) of the rented flats
  • to the number of persons
  • by so-called personal months or person days

In addition, the individual yardsticks can be almost arbitrarily combined. Once set, you may not just change it as a landlord.

General rule of thumb

If no other standard rule is specified in the rental agreement, the ratio of living space as a rule of thumb is automatically applicable under § 556a (1) of the BGB.

That is, if the landlord has set no other scale, the heating costs will be split 50 percent according to the consumption of the respective tenant, and 50 percent of the corresponding proportion of total floor space.

Calculation based on cubic meters of enclosed space

This can be useful if the rented apartments do not have the same room height, so that just a comparison of the floor space would not offer a fair distribution. The apartments with a larger room height have a comparatively higher heating demand (because of the larger indoor air content) than the apartments with a lower ceiling.

For the correct calculation, the II. Calculation Ordinance applies to the heating costs. This calculation method must be adhered to.

Calculation according to number of persons and / or person days and person months

The calculation is certainly more complex if it is done by persons. But she is also fairer. A single man in a 70-square-meter apartment certainly causes lower additional costs, as a family of four in a similar sized apartment.

The landlord must therefore always take into account the number of people living in each apartment. He is in the burden of proof for the number of people, if it comes to disputes. Because of this, this distribution key is rarely used.
Discounts for children or pets are as inadmissible as surcharges to the number of people due to special use.

Calculation of vacancy

A vacancy may - even for a limited time - be allocated to the other tenants. Vacancies are always at the expense of the landlord and must be calculated accordingly from the total costs.

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