You probably already heard that energy prices are getting higher and higher. You may be wondering what that means for your lease. Or maybe your landlord has already asked for an extra contribution for energy costs. Can an increase in energy prices be passed on to the student-tenant? Can you make your own energy interventions? And how can you help reduce energy bills?
Know what’s in your contract
Do you have an all-in price? The landlord may not increase the rent during the term of your contract. More so, even if you continue to rent the same room next year, the rent may not be increased. The rent may only be indexed. With successive contracts, the landlord is not allowed to split the rent and a separate fixed or non-fixed cost for energy consumption.
A fixed cost for energy on top of the rent, also called a lump sum, means that you pay a predetermined fixed price for energy regardless of your actual consumption. The landlord cannot increase the rent nor the fixed cost during the term of your contract. If you continue to rent the same room next academic year, the fixed cost may be increased. The rent may only be indexed.
If you pay an advance on top of the rent for energy costs, the actual consumption will be checked at the end of your contract. If the monthly advances you paid do not cover the actual cost, you will have to pay extra. If you paid more than the actual cost, you will get back what you overpaid. Given the fierce rise in energy prices, it is currently more likely that you will have to pay extra.
The landlord may neither increase the rent nor the advance payment during the term of your contract. If the landlord suggests paying a higher advance, this is not necessarily a bad thing. It will prevent you from suddenly having to pay a huge extra cost at the end of the lease. However, he cannot oblige this increase, the choice is yours. If you continue to rent the same room next academic year, the advance may be increased. In contrary, the rent may only be indexed.
What kind of gauge do you have?
Make sure you know how charges will be settled. If your room has an individual meter for gas and electricity, note the meter readings with the landlord at the beginning and at the end of the tenancy.
If there are no individual meters, the tenancy agreement should include an allocation key to determine how costs will be shared among tenants.
The landlord must provide a correct, clear and detailed calculation of the costs. You have the right to inspect the bills for water, gas and electricity.
Can you do energetic interventions by yourself?
You can also make minor adjustments yourself such as fitting a draught excluder, LED lighting, .... Be aware that at the end of the rental period you must leave the room in the same state as described in the location description. Installing draught strips and other fixed elements should be done in consultation with the owner to avoid discussions.
Tips and tricks to save energy
Energy prices are soaring and life is getting more expensive.... So that also means: less money left over for student life. STAN helps you out with tips & tricks on what you and your dorm mates can do to save on energy bills.
Don’t hesitate to contact the student housing service of your educational institution if you have questions about your personal situation.