Tips on how to amend payments on account for ancillary costs
As landlord, you can unilaterally amend the payment schedule for ancillary costs. This may become necessary, for example, if you as the landlord notice that the ancillary cost contribution paid monthly by the tenants no longer covers the ancillary costs incurred.
The landlord can demand the contribution amount be amended, but must comply with certain requirements to make this unilateral contractual change. We explain the details.
What are ancillary costs?
Ancillary costs are due for the services of the landlord or a third party in connection with the use of a rented object and must correspond to the actual expenses of the landlord in this regard. Ancillary costs must be listed accurately in the rental agreement. Everything that is not listed as ancillary costs is considered to be included in the normal rental fee. It does not suffice to say “all ancillary costs shall be charged to the tenants.”
What is the difference between payments on account and lump-sum payments?
This merely refers to the type of settlement. For both types, the costs to be invoiced must be clearly indicated. For settlement by lump-sum payment, an amount that covers all ancillary costs is charged. This amount should correspond to the average costs of the past three years. For payments on account, the payments made monthly are credited to the total amount invoiced once a year. Depending on consumption and costs, the difference must be paid by or reimbursed to the tenants. There are no exact provisions regarding how high payments on account should be. However, if the landlord charges payments on account that are much too low and knows that after receiving the annual statement the tenants will have to pay a lot each month to make up the difference, then this could be deemed a case of willful deception, i.e. the tenants were wrongfully led to believe that the living costs are low.
How can I increase the ancillary costs?
To do so, landlords must comply with certain legal provisions. The notification must be sent on an official form and include a clear reason.
How can I implement the increase?
An increase is only possible after the next possible notice period and the official form including a reason must be received by the tenants at least ten days before the start of the notice period.
What else must I keep in mind?
If the increase was not announced in an official form, is not clearly justified, or termination was threatened or issued with the notification, it is deemed invalid.
What can tenants do to oppose the increase?
You can contest the increase with the responsible arbitration office within 30 days of notification.
Additional information and a sample letter with justification can be found here for download.