Wohngeld spiralling out of control

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I purchased a neubau end of 2014, which was completed in 2018.  Due to unforseen circumstances I ended up leaving Germany before it was completed, so am renting it (which I will do as soon I have I have owned it for 10 years).

 

In the initial purchase contract the wohngeld was quoted to be around 197,00 EUR

Its been increased each year however, and I just found out today via backpay bill that increased again this January from 308 to 370 EUR from .  This was a shock not only for the amount of increase but because when I inquired about the last increase, the agency told me they don't expect further increases as everything has been running for a couple of years, so they know the costs.

 

I'm already renting at a loss so this is really stings, and it worries me it will make it hard to sell.

 

Is there anything I can do to challenge this or prevent it from being increased again?

 

Also what are my rights in terms of passing this on to tenants?

 

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Most of the cost of "Wohngeld", as you call it (that´s actually a state subsidy for low income earners), can be passed on to the tenant. Usually, the property management company will tell you what and what can´t. It also depends on the lease contract. E.g. property tax can only be passed on if it´s expressively stipulated in the contract.

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What does your wohngeld include?  You can pass some of it on to your tenants unless you have pauschal miete.  Check https://www.mieterbund.de/mietrecht/ueberblick/nebenkosten.html for example.  

 

Obviously water and heating but also grundsteuer, insurance (fire, storm, water, gebäudehaftpflicht), cost of landscaping / snow removal, cost of hausmeister, chimney sweep, garbage, cost of cleaning of the building roof and siding, cleaning of the stairwell if it's not being shared between the tenant and other apartments, maintenance cost for the furnace and elevator if there is one and common washing machines if there are and also power / lighting in the stairwell / basement.

 

You may not charge your tenants for other repairs / renovations or money that is being put in the building piggy bank in order to do renovations later.  You may not charge them for the cost of doing these calculations whether you do it yourself or get a company to do it.  See https://www.nebenkostenabrechnung.com/welche-nebenkosten-duerfen-nicht-auf-mieter-umgelegt-werden/ 

 

Unless you had pauschal miete, you should have been providing your tenant with an itemized bill every year so that your tenant pays the actual cost of those things, not more or less.  However, if you haven't been doing it, you have a year after the calendar year ends so you can no longer bill them for 2019 but you can bill them for 2020 until the end of this year.  If you find out that the actual nebenkosten are way more than your tenant is currently paying, you can suggest to your tenant that they pay you more nebenkosten every month to avoid getting a big bill at the end of the year.  I don't know if they have to agree to that though.  If you think the rent is too low as well, you should look at the rules in your city and find out what the mietspiegel is.  You can not raise the rent above the mietspiegel and not more than 15 or 20% in a 3 year period.  If you raise the rent, you must inform your tenants in writing with at least 3 months notice.

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On 7/13/2021, 4:22:35, audioboy77 said:

 

 

Is there anything I can do to challenge this or prevent it from being increased again?

 

Also what are my rights in terms of passing this on to tenants?

 

 

The economic plan (Wohngeld) must be presented at the owners meeting and voted on.

 

Did you attend the last owners meeting?

 

Also the high Wohngelld is because the property management which runs the flats do not want to pay out of their own pocket so it might be likely that you will get some money back at the end of the year.

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On 14/07/2021, 17:13:47, RenegadeFurther said:

 

The economic plan (Wohngeld) must be presented at the owners meeting and voted on.

 

Did you attend the last owners meeting?

 

Also the high Wohngelld is because the property management which runs the flats do not want to pay out of their own pocket so it might be likely that you will get some money back at the end of the year.


I don't attend any of them as I'm out of the country.  But I assume many of the other owners do.

But do you mean that if one single owner objects then it cannot be increased?  Just out of interest...

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You should be getting the invitation to attend the AGM (Eigentümerversammlung) with the topics for discussion. It's hard to believe nobody is questioning these costs increasing like this if there's no good reason. How large is this apartment? Are they putting too much into the Rücklage for such a modern building I wonder? (In principle a good idea to build up a nest egg for larger repairs to in future years and you will get this back in any sale- I experienced the opposite problem where the Rücklage was too small to cover some major repairs that needed doing and we all got to pay Sonderzahlungen which really sucks)

 

Are you sure your share is being correctly apportioned? (Usually by floor area of your apartment relative to the whole but this may not always be the case)

 

Perhaps the original figure was simply way too low and 300 is a realistic figure. Lift maintenance alone can drive up the cost a fair bit.

 

The first thing you should do by the sounds of it is request contact details of the other owners and reach out to them yourself to see how they feel about things. 

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2 hours ago, audioboy77 said:

But do you mean that if one single owner objects then it cannot be increased? 

That´s not the case. It´s a majority decision for which unanimity isn´t needed.

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Just wanted to add a couple of comments since my WEG (Wohnungseigentümergemeinschaft) has been dealing with similar problems with our Neubau apartments.

 

On 8/16/2021, 12:30:55, murphaph said:

Perhaps the original figure was simply way too low and 300 is a realistic figure. Lift maintenance alone can drive up the cost a fair bit.

 

Yes, this is likely the case. Not sure what the size of your Wohnanlage is but anything below 200 sounds really too little, and 300 is more realistic.

 

 

On 7/14/2021, 10:13:47, RenegadeFurther said:

Also the high Wohngeld is because the property management which runs the flats do not want to pay out of their own pocket 

 

As far is I know it's not their job to pay for anything out of their own pocket. Their job is to administrate the WEG funds, organize repairs & stuff and put your money in their pocket.

They tend to be quite carefree with money that belongs to others. In fact, they pushed our WEG into bankruptcy by means of:

  • Not fetching more than one quote (with the aim of finding better offers) when it came to repairs. We always ended up paying more than we should have, which was bad for our Rücklage.
  • Not claiming the Bauträger-Gewährleistung when we would have had the right to it, because that's actual work and heaven forbid they do what they are paid for, so paying for repairs that should have been covered by the warranty bled us dry. Insolvency proceedings were opened (that's how bad it got).

 

On 7/14/2021, 10:13:47, RenegadeFurther said:

it might be likely that you will get some money back at the end of the year.

 

In theory yes, you hear about this all the time.

In practice (based on my experience, that is) the money is never enough so there's hardly ever any to get back.

 

This catastrophe of a Hausverwaltung was Zi3gler & Zi3gler - replace "3" with "e". It got voted out as soon as we had the chance to.

 

Bottom line: as others said, better check which costs are umlagefähig.

More generally, this is definitely not a business that runs itself. I think one really needs to keep an eye on it, lest it turns into a money pit.

 

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For perspective, we're in a WEG in Berlin. The buildings date from the late 60s and there is a sizeable green space. Our building doesn't have an elevator or piped hot water. Our Wohngeld is €235 and has been for the 10 years we've been here. We normally get a little back every year.

For a Neubau with elevator, €370 doesn't sound that out of line. It still wouldn't hurt to scope out some other property management companies. Although you can't attend the annual meetings, you should still receive a detailed annual expense breakdown and an agenda for any new outlays, plus a proxy form. Use your proxy right and contact other owners.

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On 7/14/2021, 10:13:47, RenegadeFurther said:

it might be likely that you will get some money back at the end of the year.

 

17 hours ago, skinnypuppy said:

We normally get a little back every year.

 

it surprises me to hear that such situations might give back the extra at the end of the year.  There isn't a reserve built up to help with eventual big capital outlays, like a new roof?  Or fire-suppression sprinklers?  etc.

 

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