Operating cost billing: a central aspect of the tenancy

Welcome to the blog of Hochheiden Hausverwaltung, your expert for property management in Berlin. An essential part of the tenancy is the utility bill. It often gives rise to questions and sometimes even disagreements between tenants and landlords. In this article, we would therefore like to take a closer look at the topic of utility bills in order to ensure transparency and help both sides to better understand the process.

What are operating costs?

Operating costs are ongoing costs incurred by the owner through the ownership and operation of a property and can be passed on to the tenant in accordance with Section 556 of the German Civil Code (BGB). These include, among other things:

  • Water consumption and heating

  • heating costs

  • caretaker service

  • refuse collection

  • Street cleaning and winter maintenance

  • Building insurance

  • Property tax

The exact list of apportionable operating costs is set out in the Operating Costs Ordinance (BetrKV).

The annual statement of operating costs

Landlords are obliged to draw up a statement of operating costs once a year. This statement must be sent to the tenant no later than twelve months after the end of the billing period. It should transparently show how the advance payments made by the tenant were used in comparison to the actual costs incurred.

Important aspects of the utility bill

  • Transparenz: The statement must be comprehensible. This includes a detailed list of the total costs and the distribution key according to which the costs are allocated to the individual tenants.

  • Deadlines: Compliance with the deadlines is crucial. If the statement is delivered late, the landlord may no longer be able to assert any additional claims.

  • Comprehensibility: The statement should be designed in such a way that tenants have the opportunity to check it. Receipts and invoices must be made available for inspection on request.

Tips for landlords

  • Careful documentation: Keep a careful and clear record of all receipts and invoices relating to operating costs.

  • Clear communication: Explain the advance payments and expected operating costs to tenants at the start of the contract. This can avoid confusion later on.

  • Regular review: Adjust the advance payments regularly to avoid large additional payments or credit notes at the end of the year.

Tips for tenants

  • Check the statement: Take the time to check the statement of operating costs carefully. Make sure that the costs billed and the allocation formula are correct.

  • Ask questions: If you notice any ambiguities, don't hesitate to ask the landlord or property manager.

  • Observe deadlines: Observe the deadlines for objections to the statement of operating costs. Tenants usually have twelve months from receipt of the statement to raise objections.


The service charge statement is an essential part of the tenancy that ensures transparency and fairness in the settlement of service charges. It is important for both landlords and tenants to familiarise themselves with the basics and the legal framework. Hochheiden Hausverwaltung is at your side with its expertise and experience to provide professional support in both the preparation and review of utility bills.

Do you have any questions about operating cost accounting or do you need support with the management of your property in Berlin? Contact us - we are here to help you and optimise your property management.