Pauschalmiete and rent increase due to Nebenkosten

11 posts in this topic

Hi all,

 

Agreed to a contract for a room as a Zwischen/Untermieter for a fixed time period of ~11 months. The contract simply states

 

1. Der Mietzins beträgt monatlich:

Pauschalmiete: EUR 700,00

Mietänderungen sind abhängig von der Vermietungsgesellschaft vorbehalten.

 

The Hauptmieter recently emailed saying due to increased Nebenkosten (heat/electricity), additional pay for the months of the previous year would be needed and the rent would be raised at the start of next month.

 

My understanding is that Pauschalmiete means a flat-rate all inclusive rental fee, including Nebenkosten, and that rent can't be increased for the first year of the contract or in the case of a fixed rental period. Can anyone provide any insight on German/Munich rental law? Anything I've misunderstood, or any advice on where to go from here?

 

Thanks for your help!

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Thanks for the reply and the links! So what's the difference between a Pauschalemiete and Warmmiete? The only mention of changing the rent price is that Mietänderungen sind abhängig von der Vermietungsgesellschaft vorbehalten, no mention is made Betriebs/Nebenkosten, or does a Pauschalmiete by definition mean the rent can be changed and additional costs for Nebenkosten can be charged at the end of the year like this?

 

Thanks again!

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With regular warm miete, you have two components, cold rent and utilities (nebenkosten+heizung).

 

At end end of the year, the meters are read and the cost is calculated per apartment.

 

If the estimated amount you have been paying for utilities over the year, does not cover the actual cost, the landlord can present you with a bill. If it's the other way around, the landlord has to give you a refund.

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I see, thanks for the reply! Any idea how things work if the contract doesn't differentiate between the two components, it simply says Pauschalmiete (no mention of a cold rent price or utilities)? How would the renter know if the proposed additional costs for utilities are justified (or if a refund should be owed)?

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wakawaka - I like your TT user name :-) but I don't like your rental contract.

 

IME German lease contracts rarely refer to Pauschalmiete, probably because of it's terminological inexactitude. AFAIR Pauschale can be translated as 'lumped together', 'flat charge' or 'inclusive' but, although Pauschalmiete may mean flat rent, blanket rent or inclusive rent, without an explanatory sentence to specify inclusions/exclusions, it is open to argument as to what is included.

 

However, whatever the legal opinion on the linguistic specifity of Pauschalmiete may be, the other party/ies to your contract appear to have all their bases covered with the sentence 'Mietänderungen sind abhängig von der Vermietungsgesellschaft vorbehalten'. 'Changes in rent are dependent on the rental company' I would also presume the word vorbehalten implies they have a reserved right to effect such changes.

 

As to your questions in post #5 we would need to know what it says in your contract* about utility charges and whether metered quantities or totals are/were shown in order to offer you any help with that. We do try but we're not great at long-distance guesstimates on TT. :-)

 

2B

 

Edit: *In fact you should scan, redact (to remove identifiers) and post your entire contract here or, if it's larger than the board limit, link to it at an alternative PDF, image or document storage site.

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Thanks 2B! I'm liking my rental contract less and less too. Isn't 'Mietänderungen sind abhängig von der Vermietungsgesellschaft vorbehalten' different than changing the rent due to utilities/Nebenkosten? I've upload the contract here http://imgur.com/a/acPGu No mention is made of utility charges or metered quantities/totals. Thanks again for your help!

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Hi wakawaka,

 

As you know from our PM exchange, I did read your contract but didn't respond immediately as I needed to do some related research and was a bit busy with other matters. While searching for something else I happened across a very useful guide to tenant's rights (Mieterfibel) here on the official Berlin.de website:http://www.stadtentw...erlin.de/wohnen /mieterfibel/de/index.shtml Unfortunately, although the content is very comprehensive and logically presented (rare in texts on German legal matters), it's only available in German. However the following passage did save me time searching out the legal paragraphs relevant to your case.

 

 

Betriebskosten

 

Mietvertraglich vereinbart werden kann, dass die "kalten" Betriebskosten (ohne Heizung und Warmwasser) als angemessene Vorauszahlungen oder als Pauschale ausgewiesen werden (§ 556 BGB). Möglich ist auch die Vereinbarung einer Inklusivmiete, in der Teile der kalten Betriebskosten oder alle in der Miete enthalten sind und keine gesonderte Ausweisung der kalten Betriebskosten erfolgt.

Wurden Vorauszahlungen vereinbart, muss der Vermieter jährlich über die Betriebskosten abrechnen. Dies muss grundsätzlich innerhalb von zwölf Monaten nach Ende der Abrechnungsperiode erfolgen (§ 556 Abs. 3 BGB). Nach diesem Zeitraum sind eventuelle Nachforderungen durch den Vermieter grundsätzlich verwirkt, wenn er die verspätete Abrechnung selbst zu vertreten hat. Einwendungen gegen die Betriebskostenabrechnung sind grundsätzlich innerhalb von 12 Monaten nach dem Zugang der Abrechnung dem Vermieter mitzuteilen. Mieter und Vermieter können nach der Betriebskostenabrechnung durch eine Erklärung in Textform eine Anpassung auf eine angemessene Höhe der Vorauszahlungsbeträge vornehmen (§ 560 Abs. 4 BGB).

Sind Pauschalen vereinbart worden, erfolgt keine jährliche Abrechnung der Betriebskosten. Der Vermieter kann aber Betriebskostenerhöhungen auf die Mieter umlegen, soweit dies im Mietvertrag vereinbart ist (§ 560 Abs. 1 BGB). Eine Erklärung über die Erhöhung der Betriebskostenpauschale muss der Vermieter in Textform abgeben, d.h. schriftlich, per Telefax oder ggf. per E-Mail. Die Gründe für die Erhöhung sind zu erläutern. Zu bezahlen ist die erhöhte Pauschale ab Beginn des auf die Erklärung folgenden übernächsten Monats. Der Vermieter kann maximal rückwirkend bis zum Beginn des auf die Erklärung vorausgehenden Kalenderjahres Betriebskostensteigerungen weitergeben. Voraussetzung ist jedoch, dass der Vermieter innerhalb von drei Monaten nach Kenntnis der Erhöhung eine entsprechende Erklärung abgibt. Der Vermieter muss eine Ermäßigung der Betriebskosten dem Mieter unverzüglich mitteilen. Vom Zeitpunkt der Ermäßigung ist die Pauschale entsprechend herabzusetzen.

Wurde zwischen Vermieter und Mieter eine Teilinklusivmiete (z.B. eine Bruttokaltmiete) nach dem 1. September 2001 vereinbart, können Betriebskostenerhöhungen nicht gesondert auf den Mieter abgewälzt werden. Bei vor dem 1. September 2001 vereinbarten Teilinklusivmieten können hingegen Betriebskostensteigerungen an die Mieter weitergegeben werden, soweit dies mietvertraglich vereinbart wurde. Sinken die Betriebskosten, muss der Vermieter die Miete entsprechend herabsetzen und dies dem Mieter unverzüglich mitteilen.

Soweit Betriebskostenveränderungen (z.B. aufgrund Wechsel des Dienstleisters) erfolgen und bei der Betriebskostenabrechnung bei vereinbarten Vorauszahlungen, muss der Vermieter den Grundsatz der Wirtschaftlichkeit beachten.

My bolds.

 

Due to time constraints I've had to make do with a google-translated (ie. rough) version:

 

Tenancy agreement can be agreed that the "cold" operating costs are reported (without heating and hot water) as a reasonable advance payment or as a lump sum (§ 556 BGB). Another possibility is the lease included an agreement which included part or all of the cold operating costs in the rent and no separate designation of cold operating costs has been made.

Were advance payments agreed, the landlord must settle annually on operating costs. This must always be done within twelve months after the end of the billing period (§ 556 para 3 of the Civil Code). After this period, any subsequent claims by the landlord are normally forfeited if he is responsible for the delay in settlement itself. Objections to the utility bill are basically notify the landlord within 12 months after receipt of the statement. Tenants and landlords can search for the utility bill by a declaration in writing to adapt to a reasonable amount of advance payment amounts do (§ 560 Section 4 of the Civil Code).

If lump sums have been agreed, no annual accounting of the operating costs results. The landlord can however pass operating cost increases on to tenants if this is agreed in the lease contract (§ 560 para 1 BGB). A statement of the increase in operating cost allowance must submit in writing by the landlord, ie writing, by fax or by e-mail if necessary. The reasons for the increase must be provided. You have to pay the increased fee from the beginning of the second month following the month in which declaration is made. The landlord can maximum retroactively pass on cost increases from the beginning of the previous calendar year to the statement provided, however, that the landlord makes a declaration within three months following notice of the increase. The landlord must notify a reduction of operating costs to the tenant immediately. From the time of the discount fee is reduced accordingly.

Was a partial inclusive rent (eg a gross rental income) agreed between landlord and tenant after 1 September 2001, operating cost increases can not be passed separately to the lessee. Before 1 September 2001 agreed partial inclusive rents can be passed on to the tenants, however, operating cost increases, to the extent agreed tenancy agreement. Reducing operating costs, the landlord's rent must reduce accordingly and notify the tenant immediately.

As far as operating costs changes are made (eg due to a change of provider) and the utility bill at the agreed advance payments, the landlord must comply with the principle of economic efficiency.

My bolds.

 

Quoted below are the legal paragraphs mentioned in the above texts. They are taken from the English translation of the BGB – German Civil Code and can be found here: http://www.gesetze-i..._bgb/index.html

 

 

Section 560

Changes in operating costs

(1)In the case of a lump sum charge for operating costs, the lessor is entitled to apportion increases in operating costs proportionately to the lessee by a declaration in text form, to the extent that this has been agreed in the lease agreement. The declaration is only effective if the basis of the apportionment is referred to and explained in it.

(2)The lessee owes the part of the apportionment falling to him from the beginning of the second month following the month in which the declaration is made. To the extent that the declaration is based on the fact that operating costs have risen retroactively, it has a retroactive effect from the date when the operating costs rose, but at the earliest from the beginning of the calendar year preceding the year of the declaration, provided the lessor makes the declaration within three months after he first has knowledge of the increase.

(3)If operating costs are reduced, then the lump sum for operating costs must be reduced accordingly from the date of such reduction. The lessee must be informed of the reduction without undue delay.

(4)If advance payments of operating costs have been agreed, then, after a statement of operating costs, each of the parties to the contract may undertake an adjustment to a reasonable amount by a declaration in text form.

(5)In the case of changes in operating costs, the principle of economic efficiency must be observed.

(6)A deviating agreement to the disadvantage of the lessee is ineffective.

 

My italics.

 

If you need the German text for your landlord or main tenant it's here: § 560 Veränderungen von Betriebskosten

 

(1) Bei einer Betriebskostenpauschale ist der Vermieter berechtigt, Erhöhungen der Betriebskosten durch Erklärung in Textform anteilig auf den Mieter umzulegen, soweit dies im Mietvertrag vereinbart ist. Die Erklärung ist nur wirksam, wenn in ihr der Grund für die Umlage bezeichnet und erläutert wird.

(2) Der Mieter schuldet den auf ihn entfallenden Teil der Umlage mit Beginn des auf die Erklärung folgenden übernächsten Monats. Soweit die Erklärung darauf beruht, dass sich die Betriebskosten rückwirkend erhöht haben, wirkt sie auf den Zeitpunkt der Erhöhung der Betriebskosten, höchstens jedoch auf den Beginn des der Erklärung vorausgehenden Kalenderjahres zurück, sofern der Vermieter die Erklärung innerhalb von drei Monaten nach Kenntnis von der Erhöhung abgibt.

(3) Ermäßigen sich die Betriebskosten, so ist eine Betriebskostenpauschale vom Zeitpunkt der Ermäßigung an entsprechend herabzusetzen. Die Ermäßigung ist dem Mieter unverzüglich mitzuteilen.

(4) Sind Betriebskostenvorauszahlungen vereinbart worden, so kann jede Vertragspartei nach einer Abrechnung durch Erklärung in Textform eine Anpassung auf eine angemessene Höhe vornehmen.

(5) Bei Veränderungen von Betriebskosten ist der Grundsatz der Wirtschaftlichkeit zu beachten.

(6) Eine zum Nachteil des Mieters abweichende Vereinbarung ist unwirksam.

 

 

In 30 years in country I've signed 8 Mietvertraege, and looked over a score or more for other people, but never seen one which lacked as many of the (usually) standard clause as your's does. I noticed a mention of the word Ferienwohnung in the last paragraph (8) of your contract (the one related to misuse of the internet connection) so am wondering if that may be more typical of contracts used in the short-stay holiday let business.

 

Other TTers* may have more experience with Ferienwohnung and their usual contract conditions. You could try editing the thread title or subtitle to attract their attention. If you want to but don't have editing rights just post what you'd want to change and I, or some other TTer, can act accordingly.

 

*the.frollein regularly suggests using them to people who are in urgent need of short-term accommodation.

 

Be that as it may, I think your current situation is covered by the above quoted BGB paragraphs. It appears your rent contract did/does not indicate any form of agreement regarding possible increases in Betriebskosten. Seemingly your main tenant/proxy landlord has made a declaration regarding increases which, (as the declaration lacks information in which the basis of the apportionment is referred to and explained in it), is ineffective.

 

HTH

 

2B

 

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and the above does not constitue legal advice. Consult a qualified professional lawyer for legal advice.

 

For property rental cases in Germany contact a 'Rechtsanwalt mit Mietsache als Schwerpunkt bzw. Fachkenntnis'.

 

ETA: After posting I re-read the thread and YL6's comments. I'd be interested to hear now if his opinion had been affected after reading your contract (not that I know if if he has read it yet).

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Hi all,

 

This was the closest thread I managed to find regarding my current situation, which I explain below.

 

We rented a fully furnished apartment with an all inclusive rent from 15-Mar-2016 until 31-Dec-2017. The terms of the rent from the contract is as below.

 

"Der Mietzins beträgt 1400,00 EUR pro Monat. Es handelt Sich um eine Pauschalmiete inkl. aller Nebenkosten, mit Ausnahme von Telefongebühren fur Anrufe außerhalb des deutschen Festnetzes sowie Sonderrufnummem. Sollten die Verbrauchskosten 15 % Ober dem Durchschnittsverbrauch für die genannte Personenzahl liegen Oder Sich die Betriebskosten wesentlich erhöhen, behält der Vermieter Sich das Recht vor, diese Mehrkosten geltend zu machen und gegebenenfalls mit der Kaution zu verrechnen bzw. den monatlichen Mietzins entsprechend anzupassen."

 

A week ago the landlord wrote to us asking for additional payment towards the heating/warm water costs for the period 1.1.2017 until 1.12.2017 to the amount of approx 1500 Euros. He has asked it to be paid in two weeks. 

 

Since I was skeptical about this very high charge I asked for the Abrechnung of 2016 and 2017. 

Based on the invoice I found that for 2016 they had not used the readings from our radiators. Instead have done an average estimation and invoiced it. 

But in 2017 they have used the readings from our radiators (though I cannot validate how accurate they are). 

 

My doubts are:

1. The reading company did note change the yellow and red tubes in Dec-2016 and replaced them with new ones in all radiators. But they seem to have not used it for the calculation. The landlord didn't share with us the Abrechnung nor informed us about the average calculation methodology. Shouldn't the landlord ask/inform us if they knew that the readings were not used for the calculation? The reason being I could have accordingly reduced the energy costs for the following year. 

 

2. How is the calculation of the heating done when the previous years readings were not used ?

 

3. I contacted Mieterverein and got the advice that I am not obliged to pay this additional cost as it is all included in the Nebenkosten. After reading other threads about the MVs credibility, I have my reservations about their feedback. The simple reason being 2Bs reference to  § 560 Veränderungen von Betriebskosten.  So I would need your additional feedback. (Ofcourse within the disclaimer conditions)

 

4. Since my contract has already ended does  § 560 Veränderungen von Betriebskosten  have an effect in my case? As this is not an increase of the operating cost by the heating company but rather increased consumption costs. 

 

5. From the contract excerpt, it can also be seen that there is no mention about the split between the Nebenkosten and the rent. So until now I am not explicitly told what is the breakup between the two.

 

6. Would you now suggest me to consult a " Rechtsanwalt mit Mietsache" before responding back to the landlord or should I first contest based on the MV's feedback and then see the next course of action.

 

Thanks for your help!

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If the Meitverein said you are not responsible than go with it it sounds like the landlord is trying to take advantage of you. Plus a 125 a month extra is a pretty heffty surcharge. I'd have the Meitverein send the landlord a letter laying out your position. Usually that is enough.

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