Punctual Settlement of Utilities Bill

This article will explore if the landlord’s utility bill settlement is correct if it has arithmetical errors or if non-deductible items were considered. Will a supplement payment claim mature?


After the year’s end, the landlord has one year time if he wants to demand supplement payment after settling the utility bill (§556 BGB). If he still insists upon payment though settling late, you can comfortably await the case in court because you can be sure to win.

Does the same go if the bill came in time but had calculating mistakes and this bill was corrected beyond the settlement period? The OLG  Düsseldorf (March 30, 2006, re I-10 U 143/05) clarified the problem with arithmetical errors. Supposing the settlement is wrong because the apportionment is false, that will only touch the formal correctness of the settlement. Maturity, following the judgment, does not demand formal correctness of the supplement bill. It is only relevant that the landlord sends you a settlement. Maturity is, therefore, not touched by the formal correctness or wrong contents.

If the landlord only settles 70% instead of 70,25% this will not give you the right to countermand his demand for further payment. It is not of interest if the settlement is unjust to other tenants. If the other tenants complain or not about this unfair settlement does not concern the relationship between you and the proprietor.

This judgment has been heavily criticized by lawyers and organizations on behalf of tenants. It remains to be seen if the plaintiffs do not appeal to the Federal Court of Justice to have this judgment overruled.

Published on the old CMS: 2006/12/21
Read on the old CMS till November 2008: 461 reads

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