Passing on “Changeover Fee” to Tenant

The BGH decided on November 14, 2007 (VIII ZR 19/07) the quarrel between a landlord and his tenant in the matter of the annual “utilities bill”. The landlord wanted to turn over the fee of heating company because of an extraordinary change of the resident.


The tenant rented an apartment from the landlord. After some time, the tenant properly cancelled the contract. The proprietor demanded to be reimbursed for a fee from the heating company, he had to pay, because the tenant cancelled the rental contract. As the tenant refused, this issue went to court.

The Bundesgerichtshof ruled that these costs cannot be demanded from the tenant as they do not represent assessable costs in accordance with the Civil Code (§556 I 2 BGB). The law understands as “assessable costs” such costs that regularly occur in relation to the typical use of real estate. The user change fee does not accrue permanently and repeatedly but only once upon change of tenant. Therefore, the landlord has to carry this fee as an operational expense.


If you are renting out apartments and you want to successfully pass this fee on to your tenant upon termination, then add it as a special clause, i.e. as an individual agreement, to the contract.

Published on the old CMS: 2008/1/16
Read on the old CMS till November 2008: 328 reads

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