Information about increased service costs by landlords and information about energy surcharges for students. This is relevant for those with their own energy contract and offers information about block heating and shared meters.
Energy costs have risen sharply. In practice, we notice that many landlords have increased the advance service costs and state the rising energy costs as the reason for this.
However, such a large increase in service costs is not always possible/permitted. The possibilities to increase the advance of the service costs are laid down in Article 7:261 of the Dutch Civil Code. A landlord cannot just ‘increase’ the advance.
Because there are currently many questions about the increase in advance payments, we would like to inform you about your rights and obligations with regard to your service costs.
Because there are several unique situations that are possible, we want to explain the rights and obligations in different situations through a flowchart to you.
Option 1: You have only lived in the house since 2022
The landlord has two options for reasons to increase costs, either by providing a statement from last year or if a tenant gives permission for an increase (see Article 7:261 paragraph 1 sub b of the Dutch Civil Code). Since you will not be living in the house until 2022, the landlord cannot increase your advance payment until a settlement of 2022 can be submitted in 2023, unless you as a tenant give permission. If you do not give permission, read the ‘benefits and dangers’ section below.
Option 2: You did not receive a service charge settlement, even though you lived there in 2021
The landlord has two options to increase, either by providing a statement from last year, or if a tenant gives permission for an increase (see Article 7:261 paragraph 1 sub b of the Dutch Civil Code). The landlord may not increase the advance service costs, but must first provide a statement for the year 2021. You can request this yourself, if you need further assistance, you can make an appointment with Huurteam Zuid-Limburg. If you do not receive a statement and do not give permission, see below for the ‘benefits and dangers’ section.
Option 3: You did receive a statement from 2021, but you received your money back.
This means that your advance payment for 2021 was sufficient. The landlord may make a proposal for an increase, but you may refuse this. See below for the ‘benefits and dangers’.
Option 4: You did receive a settlement for the service costs 2021 and had to pay extra.
The additional amount you had to pay, divided by the number of months you lived in the property in 2021, is the amount by which the advance payment may be increased within reason. If this amount is higher, you may refuse the increase for the part that exceeds the additional payment. If this amount is lower or the same, it is not possible to refuse the increase.
Benefits and Dangers
Service costs are always an advance. The advance may be settled up to 2.5 years after the end of the year. To demonstrate actual consumption, the lessor must draw up a full statement of all service costs (including, for example, furniture and upholstery costs) substantiated by invoices. In the absence of such a settlement, a subsequent payment cannot be enforced. If a full settlement has been drawn up with substantiation by means of invoices, the tenant will have to pay any subsequent payment.
Therefore, if you do not agree with the proposal of the increase, there may be risks involved. If you do not agree, or agree to an increase lower than proposed by the landlord, your advance will remain low. This saves on monthly costs. The danger of this is that you may have to pay a large amount with the 2022 statement (provided the landlord draws up a full statement).
Energy allowance for students with their own energy contract
The municipality of Maastricht has announced that students can still claim the energy allowance. To do this, they must meet the following conditions:
– The student must be at least 21 years old
– The student must study for at least 6 months at an MBO, HBO or WO course
– The student must have his own energy contract (so not via the service costs)
– The student must live in an independent house (so no shared kitchen, bathroom and/or toilet)
– The student may not earn more than 120% of the minimum wage (a DUO loan intended for living expenses will also be taken into account)
Allowance for block heating
The cabinet is currently working on an allowance for complexes that have block heating. The idea is that the scheme allows owners or managers of a block connection to apply for a refund per home or housing unit. It is not yet known how high the amount will be. It is known that this arrangement will run through the owners or lessors. The lessor or owner must apply for the allowance and then distribute it.