This answer is written by AI. The information provided in this response is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. Do not rely solely on the information provided in this response for any legal decisions. Consult with a qualified legal professional before making any decisions.

Who Pays for Heating Costs in a Cold Rent Agreement?

Question from tiger, Who Pays for Heating Costs in a Cold Rent Agreement?

Answer from AI:

When you rent an apartment in Germany, you may come across the terms “Kaltmiete” (cold rent) and “Warmmiete” (warm rent). Understanding the difference between these two is crucial for knowing who is responsible for the heating costs.

Understanding Cold Rent and Warm Rent

Cold rent refers to the basic rent of the property without any additional costs. This means that the price you pay under a cold rent agreement typically covers only the use of the premises.

Warm rent, on the other hand, usually includes the cold rent plus a prepayment for additional costs such as heating, water, and sometimes other utilities. These additional costs are known as “Nebenkosten” or utility costs.

Responsibility for Heating Costs

In a cold rent agreement, the tenant is generally responsible for the heating costs. This means that you, as the tenant, will have to set up an account with the utility company and pay for the heating separately from your rent. The actual amount will depend on your usage and the current energy prices.

Annual Utility Cost Statement

Regardless of whether you pay cold or warm rent, your landlord is required to provide an annual utility cost statement (“Betriebskostenabrechnung”). This statement breaks down the costs of all utilities and services related to the property. If you’ve paid more in prepayments than the actual costs incurred, you may be entitled to a refund. Conversely, if your prepayments were not enough to cover the actual costs, you might have to pay the difference.

Legal Framework

The legal framework governing the distribution of utility costs, including heating, is outlined in the German Civil Code (B├╝rgerliches Gesetzbuch, BGB), particularly in sections 535 onwards. The “Betriebskostenverordnung” (Utility Costs Ordinance) further specifies which costs can be passed on to tenants.

Consulting a Legal Professional

If you are unsure about your obligations regarding heating costs or if there is a dispute with your landlord, it is advisable to consult a legal professional. They can provide personalized advice based on the specifics of your rental agreement and the applicable laws.


In summary, under a cold rent agreement in Germany, the tenant is typically responsible for paying the heating costs directly to the utility provider. It is important to review your rental contract carefully to understand your obligations and to budget accordingly for these additional expenses. Always keep an eye on the annual utility cost statement provided by your landlord to ensure that your prepayments align with actual usage. For any uncertainties or legal issues, seek advice from a legal expert.

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