Utility costs privilege gone: Soon everyone will have to pay for cable TV themselves

Utility costs privilege gone: Soon everyone will have to pay for cable TV themselves

The additional costs privilege is being abolished. This affects tenants and landlords alike when it comes to additional costs for cable television.

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People who live in an apartment building often get their cable TV via a house connection. Until now, owners have been allowed to charge their tenants the costs for this via the additional costs – even if they don’t watch TV at all. This is regulated by Paragraph 2 No. 15 of the Operating Costs Ordinance, or BetrKV for short. The property management passes the money for the connection on to the cable network operator. The allocation via the operating costs statement is known as the additional costs privilege.

This regulation expires on June 30, 2024. The abolition is part of the Telecommunications Modernization Act (TKMoG), which came into force on December 1, 2021. A transitional period has so far applied.

For tenants who do not use a television, the utility bill will be slightly cheaper in this regard from July 1, 2024 due to the missing item. You should check the bill for 2024 to ensure that the adjustment has actually been made. The legal change has the advantage for tenants that they no longer have to pay twice in case of doubt – for example, if they do not use the cable connection at all but receive television over the Internet. In the future, they will also be able to decide for themselves which provider they agree to a television contract with and under what conditions.

A special arrangement applies to many Vonovia tenants: Vodafone, which as the market leader is particularly affected by the change, announced a deal with the housing group at the end of May: From July, 120,000 additional Vonovia residential units can switch back to Vodafone’s cable fiber optic network. Vonovia is informing the affected tenants that they can conclude a direct contract with Vodafone at the time of the switchover if they want to receive TV via the cable network.

Higher prices due to the end of the service charge privilege?

Network operators warn of higher prices that the end of the ancillary costs privilege will supposedly bring. According to the consumer advice center, however, the additional costs for individual contracts will be kept within limits. In their experience, the corresponding individual contract for terminated multi-user contracts costs around 8 to 10 euros per month. This corresponds to an increase of a maximum of 3 euros per month. In the medium term, prices are likely to fall anyway due to increased competition between providers.

Be careful with self-proclaimed “media consultants” who suddenly appear at your door and warn that your connection will be switched off and the screen will remain dark. You should not let them into your apartment, because alleged checks of the cable connection are usually used as a pretext to talk you into signing new contracts.

Apartment owners should also keep an eye on the deadline of June 30, 2024. As part of the new regulations, the owners’ association does have a special right of termination with their cable provider. However, if they do not use this right, the contract for the house connection will continue and must continue to be paid for by the owners. If the house community does not take care of it, tenants could soon be able to watch TV at the owners’ expense. Because passing on the costs will no longer be possible in the future.

Collective contracts for internet and telephone connections also fall under the ancillary costs privilege. However, they hardly play a role in the contractual relationship between tenants and landlords, as they have become very rare.

Source: Stern

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