Higher ancillary costs because of the impending energy crisis?
At present, all media are reporting that heating and energy costs could rise significantly in the near future. But what does this mean for you as a tenant? Do you have to expect a higher an-cillary cost statement? Can you take a stand and what are your rights? We tell you everything you need to know.
What ancillary costs do tenants have to pay?
In general, tenants must pay the ancillary costs that have actually been incurred. Specifically, this means that you must pay for the amount of gas, oil, water, or electricity that you have ac-tually used. However, with regard to the amount of the ancillary costs, not only the amount is relevant, but also the cost per unit. If the landlord has to pay more for electricity, gas, or other energy sources due to higher prices, then these additional costs may be passed on to the tenants.
With the following checklist, you can easily and quickly check yourself why the ancillary costs have increased.
For this check, you also need the following documents:
- Rental agreement
- Current ancillary cost statement
- Ancillary cost statement of the previous year (or as an alternative, years in the more distant past)
Check what you have agreed to in the rental agreement regarding ancillary costs. A flat fee or payment on account?
- If a flat fee was agreed, then your landlord cannot send you an annual statement. If they still do so, we recommend you obtain legal advice.
- If payment on account was agreed, then you can check which items have been agreed.
Tip: These details are normally listed with the rent.
Check the ancillary cost agreement in the rental agreement. Which items are mentioned in the rental agreement under ancillary costs?
Only the points expressly mentioned as ancillary costs can be billed. Costs for building maintenance, for example, can only be billed if this is stipulated in the rental agreement. The ancillary cost items can be found with the rent or in a separate section of the rental agreement. See also: Ancillary costs – what you should know | information sheet (myright.ch)
Compare the current ancillary cost statement with last year’s statement. Which items have increased year on year?
If you have noticed an increase in heating costs, it may be because of rising energy costs.
- If only the heating costs have increased: Since energy prices are currently higher than before and the landlord is entitled to pass on the costs that have actually been incurred to the tenants, higher costs must generally be accepted. As a tenant, it may be a good idea to look through the detailed invoices of the landlord. Based on these, you can check whether the costs invoiced were actually incurred in the corresponding amount. See also: Request to view invoicing documentation | template (myright.ch)
- The costs of other items have also risen: If the costs of other items have also risen, then we recommend you review the detailed invoices and also seek dialog with your landlord.
You have agreed to payment on account with the landlord and they recommend increasing the monthly payments. Do you have to accept this?
As a tenant, you must pay the costs actually incurred. If the payments on account you make over the year do not cover the costs incurred, then you must make additional payments when you receive the annual ancillary cost account. Since with rising energy prices the additional payment will probably be much higher, it makes sense to split the amount and make higher monthly payments on account. In this way, you can avoid an excessively high additional payment for ancillary costs. For this reason, we recommend reviewing the landlord’s proposed increase and setting a suitable amount in a conversation with your landlord.
See also: Changing monthly ancillary cost payments | template myright.ch)
You have agreed a flat rate for ancillary costs. Now your landlord wants to increase the flat rate because of the higher energy prices. Is this allowed?
In the case of a flat rate, the situation is somewhat different. The landlord may only increase the flat rate if they can prove that the ancillary costs have increased over the last three years and that the flat rate does not cover the increase. Since the prices have presumably only start-ed to rise at the beginning of this heating period, the landlord can probably not prove this. As a result, they must bear the increased energy costs in these cases – at least for the first few years. However, it is feasible that such flat rates were already insufficient in previous years, meaning that the landlord can justify an increase.
It’s also important to know that an increase in the flat rate must be reported with an official form and is only possible from the next contractual termination date. As a tenant, you can contest such an increase within 30 days from receipt with the mediation authorities.