Advice on former landlord asking for backdated water bills

28 posts in this topic

Hi all,

 

I moved out of my old address 4 months ago and was contacted by my former landlord today asking to pay the utility bills for 2020. I have reviewed the sum and it is VASTLY higher than the first year I stayed there, somewhere in the region of 600 euros.

 

I asked her to clarify why the cost was so high and she explained she had made a mistake regarding the water bill and the company is now seeking to claim back for 2019 also, though I have no proof of this via documents, merely her word. Apparantly she had carried a decimal point in error as the bill was for "36,6 mnur 36m3".

 

Am I obligated to pay this? Or as it was her mistake is she liable? We ended on amicable terms but I don't know enough about the laws on this to respond to her yet.

 

Many thanks for your time.

 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

gooled

 

Wie viel kostet 1 m3 Wasser?
 
 
Laut dem Statistischen Bundesamt liegen die Preise für einen Kubikmeter (m³) Trinkwasser durchschnittlich bei knapp zwei Euro. Da ein Kubikmeter exakt 1.000 Litern entspricht, kostet ein Liter Trinkwasser demnach etwa 0,2 Cent.

 

 

 

y

you have an error or 0,6m3 thats less that 1 € . are you figures correct

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Has there been a formal handover of the apartment, in which all outstanding debts were signed off on as settled, and the apartment was handed back to her in acceptable condition resulting in your security deposit being paid back to you in full? If yes, then your business relationship with her has concluded, and you don't owe her anything.

 

If you really want to settle it on her terms, then you should probably insist that she sends you unambiguous documents showing that you clearly owe the amount she states you owe. The burden of proof that you owe this money should at least be with her.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have attached the document I received and redacted the personal info. Hopefully this will help?

waterbill2021.JPG

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ask her to provide copies of her calculations so you can understand where the bill is coming from. If you used the water you're liable to pay for it, even if a mistake was made in the previous year's calculations etc. 

 

 

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Brockman said:

Has there been a formal handover of the apartment, in which all outstanding debts were signed off on as settled, and the apartment was handed back to her in acceptable condition resulting in your security deposit being paid back to you in full? If yes, then your business relationship with her has concluded, and you don't owe her anything.

 

If you really want to settle it on her terms, then you should probably insist that she sends you unambiguous documents showing that you clearly owe the amount she states you owe. The burden of proof that you owe this money should at least be with her.

 

Hi Brockman,

 

Yes we had a formal signing off and keys were handed over, my deposit was returned and the house was spotless. There was no mention of outstanding fees during our goodbyes and I had believed this matter was all settled until today.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This billing you when you've moved on thing is quite normal in Germany because the landlord doesn't know the final bills until towards the end of the year. 

 

You should ask for her workings and check them yourself. Did you note the meter readings when you moved out?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, murphaph said:

This billing you when you've moved on thing is quite normal in Germany because the landlord doesn't know the final bills until towards the end of the year. 

 

You should ask for her workings and check them yourself. Did you note the meter readings when you moved out?

 

Hi Murph,

 

No, admittedly I didn't think to check. It was my first flat in Germany so I was very much on the side of "I hope I'm doing this right" etc. So, the step is to ask for the bill from the water company directly?  

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
43 minutes ago, Alakhiin said:

I have attached the document I received and redacted the personal info. Hopefully this will help?

waterbill2021.JPG

 

Small point but the document doesn't have a correct start date, it just says 'von Dezember' without a year.

I would ask her to send a updated bill with the correct start date so it is crystal clear the time period she is billing you for.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmm.  But the landlord has to bill for 2020 by the end of 2021, don't they? And the 2019 bill should have been sent by end of 2020 and that is the bill where they have made the mistake.

 

I would want to pay for anything that I had used so I am not saying don't pay but to expect you to come up with the 600 Euro within a month seems unfair.  I would ask for proof from the water company.  If you are prepared to pay, but don't want to pay that much all in one go, I would ask for more time to pay.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi all, 

 

I have received this document from the landlord from the water company. Maybe this can make more sense of it all? @sluzup, I agree I'm not trying to dodge paying here but the figures just don't seem to add up and whilst my landlord was good to me for the most part, I don't want to be taken advantage of.

 

@pmd she's always done this, simply an invoice and an amount to pay. She's older and retired, so I don't believe it's out of malice.

waterbill2.JPG

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

well - Landlord admits, that she made a mistake - and undercharged for 2020.

So, she wants to correct her Nebenkostenabrechnung for 2020, but that letter is dated 13.1.2022 - means nope, too late.

 

https://www.wbs-law.de/allgemein/wie-lange-duerfen-vermieter-die-nachzahlung-von-betriebskosten-verlangen-22245/

 

Did you ever check the water meter for yourself? Or sign any Ableseprotokoll?

 

I would seriously question the "progression" of these numbers reported.

 

A single person uses about 50m³ of water per year (statistically speaking, in Germany).
So, what is listed as Verbrauch 12.11.2019-11.11.2020 seems a little low, 34m³ - but reasonable.

There is no way, that you could have used 51m³ from 12.11.2020 - 31.12.2020. You'd have to run the water pretty much 24/7 to be able to use about 1m³ (1000 liters) per day.

 

I wouldn't pay. She needs to prove her numbers are correct.

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nobody has mentioned it yet but joining the Mietverein for this case and future rental problems in the future might be a good idea. It is cheap.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd offer to pay her based on the "pre-error" data available, ie the 2019/2020 34m³ figure. Tell her you'll pay for 2020/2021 based on this amount. That's entirely reasonable IMO as the paperwork she has provided you just shows her error (she entered 36,6 instead of 366 I believe. The 87 is an estimated "reading", not real, then she correctly read the 415m³ and so a huge bill arrived. If you accept her story that she entered 36,6 instead of 366 then you can work out how many m³ that really was (415-366=49m³) and pay based on that. I don't think she's trying to stiff you, just get you to pay for water you actually used. If she was a decent landlord I would not leave her paying for your water and I understand that you don't want to do that either.

 

How much did you pay for water in 2020? Presumably nothing as the meter reading she submitted was probably lower than the previous year's reading (unless the meter had been changed).

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, karin_brenig said:

well - Landlord admits, that she made a mistake - and undercharged for 2020.

So, she wants to correct her Nebenkostenabrechnung for 2020, but that letter is dated 13.1.2022 - means nope, too late.

 

https://www.wbs-law.de/allgemein/wie-lange-duerfen-vermieter-die-nachzahlung-von-betriebskosten-verlangen-22245/

 

Did you ever check the water meter for yourself? Or sign any Ableseprotokoll?

 

I would seriously question the "progression" of these numbers reported.

 

A single person uses about 50m³ of water per year (statistically speaking, in Germany).
So, what is listed as Verbrauch 12.11.2019-11.11.2020 seems a little low, 34m³ - but reasonable.

There is no way, that you could have used 51m³ from 12.11.2020 - 31.12.2020. You'd have to run the water pretty much 24/7 to be able to use about 1m³ (1000 liters) per day.

 

I wouldn't pay. She needs to prove her numbers are correct.

 

Guten Arbend Karin,

 

Thank you for your response. The link you sent, were you referring to the portion, "Abrechnung über Betriebskosten – welche Fristen gelten?Der Vermieter muss spätestens 12 Monate nach Ablauf der Abrechnungsperiode über die Betriebskosten abrechnen und dem Mieter eine vollumfängliche Abrechnung vorlegen. Die Betriebskostenabrechnung muss dabei gesetzliche Wirksamkeitsvoraussetzungen erfüllen. So muss eine rechtswirksame Betriebskostenabrechnung beispielsweise das genaue Wohnobjekt, den Abrechnungszeitraum, den Abrechnungsmaßstab und die auf die konkrete Wohnung entfallenden anteiligen Kosten enthalten. Verschickt ein Vermieter die Betriebskostenabrechnung nicht innerhalb von 12 Monaten nach Ende des Abrechnungszeitraums, kann der Vermieter grundsätzlich keine Nachzahlung von Betriebskosten mehr verlangen."

 

If so, that would suggest I would only be liable to pay for the 2020-2021 but she has added it on as simply a total sum... I am in agreement a months worth doubling a year is false, there's simply no way I used that much water at all. 

 

As of yet I have not arranged any payment.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, murphaph said:

I'd offer to pay her based on the "pre-error" data available, ie the 2019/2020 34m³ figure. Tell her you'll pay for 2020/2021 based on this amount. That's entirely reasonable IMO as the paperwork she has provided you just shows her error (she entered 36,6 instead of 366 I believe. The 87 is an estimated "reading", not real, then she correctly read the 415m³ and so a huge bill arrived. If you accept her story that she entered 36,6 instead of 366 then you can work out how many m³ that really was (415-366=49m³) and pay based on that. I don't think she's trying to stiff you, just get you to pay for water you actually used. If she was a decent landlord I would not leave her paying for your water and I understand that you don't want to do that either.

 

How much did you pay for water in 2020? Presumably nothing as the meter reading she submitted was probably lower than the previous year's reading (unless the meter had been changed).

 

Hi again Murph,

 

I believe I paid around 140 euros for the year, I shower daily and that's about it. Never been one to waste water. (It's not exact, I'm not home to find the first invoice) Hence the 600 near knocked me clean out :') 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, Alakhiin said:

As of yet I have not arranged any payment.

 

10 minutes ago, Alakhiin said:

Hence the 600 near knocked me clean out :') 

 

If you believe you owe the money and stay friendly with her, I'm sure she would accept a payment plan. If she is the nice lady as you describe.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The law says utility bills must be sent (and received) until 31 Dec of the following year. I doubt they can be changed after that window has closed.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, jeba said:

The law says utility bills must be sent (and received) until 31 Dec of the following year. I doubt they can be changed after that window has closed.

 

Hi Jeba,

 

So are you saying the mistake is hers and that I can't be held liable for that given I paid the amount she asked for in 2020? The problem is that these dates are giving me a headache, it would appear she has tried to simply "tack on" the 2020 outstanding amount to my 2021 bill, can she do that?

 

Cheers

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Those figures don't seem to make much sense unless you know the bill and readings of the previous bill(s) actuals

If anything they have balanced themselves out..366 to 415 is 49m3  for 2021 is around the right guessitmate

The total use bill for 2021 is less than 600 - which is based on the wild 300m3 + figure -  so how can your bit only be 600 extra?  

 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now