You probably have already heard that the energy prices have gone up and are still rising. You may be wondering what that means for your rental agreement. Or maybe your landlord has already asked for an extra contribution for the energy costs. Can your landlord charge you extra costs because of the high energy prices?
To answer that question, you first need to look at what your rental agreement says about how the costs are charged. We'll go over the different possibilities:
1. You pay an all-in price
The landlord is not allowed to increase the rent during the term of your contract. Moreover, even if you continue to rent the same place next year, the rent may not be increased. The rent may only be indexed.
In case of successive rental agreements, the landlord may also not decide to start charging the energy costs separately on top of the rent. He has to stick to the all-in price.
2. You pay a fixed cost for energy on top of the rent
A fixed cost or flat fee means that you pay a predefined fixed price for energy regardless of your actual consumption.
The landlord may increase neither the rent nor the fixed cost during the term of your contract. If you continue to rent the same place next year, the fixed cost may be increased. The rent may only be indexed.
3. You pay an advance for the energy costs on top of the rent
If you pay an advance for the energy costs, your actual consumption will be checked at the end of the rent. If the monthly advances you paid do not cover the actual costs, you will have to pay extra. If you paid more than the actual cost, you will get back what you paid in excess. Given the steep rise in energy prices, it is more likely that you will have to pay extra at the moment.
The landlord may increase neither the rent nor the advance for the costs during the term of your contract. If the landlord suggests paying a higher advance, this is not necessarily a bad thing. In this way you avoid suddenly having to pay a huge extra cost at the end of the rent. However, he can't force you to do this; the choice is yours.
If you continue to rent the same place next year, the advance may be increased. The rent may only be indexed.
CAUTION: Make sure that you know how the calculation will be done. If every unit is equipped with an individual meter for gas and electricity, make a note of the meter readings together with the landlord at the beginning and at the end of the rental period.
If there are no individual meters, an allocation key to determine how the costs will be divided among the tenants should be stated in the rental agreement.
The landlord has to provide you with a correct, clear and detailed calculation of the costs. You are entitled to look into the invoices for water, gas and electricity.
Don’t hesitate to contact the student housing service of your educational institution if you have questions about your personal situation.