Autumn is just around the corner: When does the heating have to be on?

Irrespective of the fact that many tenants will probably turn on the heating a little later because of the exorbitant energy costs, the question arises as to when landlords have to ensure that the apartment is heated.

Autumn is just around the corner: When does the heating have to be on?

Irrespective of the fact that many tenants will probably turn on the heating a little later because of the exorbitant energy costs, the question arises as to when landlords have to ensure that the apartment is heated. Here is the answer.

become fresh. At least at night. Autumn is just around the corner. And in the apartments it will be significantly cooler. If it weren't for the expensive heating costs, many would like to turn up the heating from time to time. In many rented apartments, however, this does not even get warm.

Why? Because the heating season hasn't started yet. This usually starts from October 1st to April 30th. The landlord then has to adjust the central heating system so that a minimum temperature of between 20 and 22 degrees Celsius can be reached in the apartment, according to the German Tenants' Association (DMB). The new ordinances on energy security passed by the federal government do not contain any specifications for residential buildings with regard to heating times and room temperatures.

But the landlord does not have to guarantee these minimum temperatures "around the clock". At night, i.e. between 11:00 p.m. or 12:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m., 18 degrees Celsius are sufficient after the night-time reduction. The so-called night setback has been intended to help save energy for a long time. Lease clauses, according to which, for example, a temperature of 18 degrees Celsius between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. is declared to be sufficient, are ineffective.

According to the DMB, if the minimum temperature of 20 to 22 degrees Celsius is not reached in winter, there is a housing shortage. The landlord is obliged to rectify this defect. As long as this has not happened, the tenant can reduce the rent, i.e. pay less. In the event of a complete heating failure and sub-zero temperatures in winter, a rent reduction of up to 100 percent is possible. For example, the district court of Hamburg decided (Az.: 7 O 80/74). On the other hand, a complete heating failure in January was only worth a rent reduction of 50 percent to the Berlin district court of Tempelhof-Kreuzberg (Az.: 12 C 409/84). In order to avoid a arrears in payment if the rent reduction is too high, tenants can also pay the rent with reservations and later reclaim the excess money paid.

If the temperature in the apartment is no more than 18 degrees Celsius, a rent reduction of up to 20 percent is conceivable. In addition, if the apartment stays permanently cold, the tenant is also entitled to terminate the tenancy without notice due to impending damage to health.

According to the Tenants' Association, the failure of the hot water supply is also a housing shortage that must be remedied by the landlord, which entitles the tenant to a rent reduction, for example. The same applies to an inadequate hot water supply, i.e. if the minimum hot water temperature of between 40 and 50 degrees Celsius is not reached.

However, clauses in residential leases that oblige tenants to heat to a certain minimum temperature have been temporarily suspended since September 1st. However, the obligation of tenants to avert damage to the apartment through appropriate heating and ventilation remains unaffected. This also applies if tenants are absent for a longer period of time, for example during a holiday. So if you think you don't have to heat at all to save energy, you may have to answer for frozen pipes or mold in the rented property.

(This article was first published on Monday, September 12, 2022.)

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