Anyone who lives in an apartment building often gets their cable television via a house connection. Owners are allowed to charge their tenants the costs for this through additional costs – even if they don’t watch TV at all. This is regulated by Paragraph 2 No. 15 of the Operating Costs Ordinance, in short: BetrKV. The property management forwards the money for the connection to the cable network operator. The allocation via the operating cost bill is referred to as ancillary cost 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 transition period currently applies.

For tenants who do not use a television, the utility bill will be slightly cheaper in this regard due to the missing item from July 1, 2024. You should check the billing for 2024 to ensure that the adjustment was actually 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, you will also be able to decide for yourself which provider you agree to a television contract with and under what conditions.

Network operators warn of higher prices that the end of the additional charge privilege supposedly brings with it. According to the consumer advice center, however, the additional costs due to individual contracts will be kept within limits. In their experience, when multiple user contracts are terminated, the corresponding individual contract 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 among providers.

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

Apartment owners should also keep an eye on the deadline of June 30, 2024. As a result of the innovation, the community of owners has a special right of termination from their cable provider. However, if she does not use this, the contract for the house connection continues and must continue to be paid by the owners. If the house community doesn’t take care, tenants could soon be watching TV at the owners’ expense. Because in the future it will no longer be possible to turn it over.

Incidentally, collective agreements for Internet and telephone connections also fall under the additional cost privilege. However, they hardly play any role in the contractual relationship between tenants and landlords because they have become very rare.

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