The government wants to split the CO2 price between tenants and landlords

The government wants to split the CO2 price between tenants and landlords
The government wants to split the CO2 price between tenants and landlords

Berlin The debate on how to split the CO2 price between tenants and landlords is entering the next round. Parliamentary deliberations on the government’s plan to also allow landlords to share in CO2 costs from January 1, 2023 will begin this Friday.

In the future, landlords are to share these costs – depending on the energetic condition of the building. Federal Ministers Robert Habeck (Greens), Klara Geywitz (SPD) and Marco Buschmann (FDP) agreed on this in April. The cabinet had approved in May.

In view of the energy crisis and the search for ways to relieve people, the housing industry is calling for “suspending the CO2 price for the duration of the crisis”. That would currently be “the only right solution,” said Axel Gedaschko, President of the Central Association of the Housing Industry, the Handelsblatt.

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Energy prices are so high that a CO2 price cannot have any steering effect for additional energy-saving behavior or investments in energy-efficient buildings, said Gedaschko. “The only thing it causes are even higher prices.”

What is the government up to?

A model with ten stages is planned in order to be able to link the cost allocation to the annual CO2 emissions of the building. In the case of apartments with a particularly poor energy balance, i.e. consumption of more than 52 kilograms of CO2 per square meter, the landlords bear 90 percent and the tenants ten percent of the CO2 costs.

The better the building’s energy balance, the higher the tenant’s share of the costs. If the consumption is below twelve kilograms of CO2 per square meter, the tenants should have to pay the surcharge in full themselves.

Daniel Föst, construction and housing policy spokesman for the FDP parliamentary group, speaks of a “fair division”. With the step-by-step model, “both tenants and landlords have incentives to save energy or invest in energy efficiency,” he told the Handelsblatt. “The more efficient the house, the lower the costs for tenants and landlords.”

>> Also read here: Real estate owners are calling for a waiver of CO2 pricing

It is also important “that the step-by-step model is unbureaucratic and does not overwhelm people,” says Föst. This will be dealt with in the parliamentary process. “The new calculation must be easy to use, especially for small and private landlords.”

For which buildings is the law intended?

The phased model should apply to all residential buildings, including residential, old people’s and nursing homes and buildings with mixed use, in which fuels that fall under the Fuel Emissions Trading Act (BEHG) are used. The CO2 costs to be borne by the parties per residential unit should be determined via the heating bill.
For non-residential buildings such as commercial premises, the 50:50 split should initially apply. In the future, however, the stage model should also be applied to non-residential buildings.

What is the carbon price?

A price of 30 euros per tonne of CO2 emitted when heating and fuel is burned currently applies. The increase of five euros per tonne of CO2 planned for January 2023 will be suspended for a year. This is what the government’s third relief package provides for.

>> Also read here: How CO2 becomes a valuable raw material

What criticism is there of the project?

The President of the German Tenants’ Association, Lukas Siebenkotten, is moderately satisfied: The planned distribution of the CO2 costs is fairer than the status quo, in which only the tenants have to bear the CO2 costs, he told the Handelsblatt. “But it would be right not to burden tenants with CO2 costs at all.”

Tenants, according to Siebenkotten, have no influence on the type of heating system, that is solely up to the landlord. In addition, one thing should not be forgotten: the planned division of costs will continue to lead to a double burden, especially for lower-income tenant households in poorly renovated houses: “They have to heat more to get the apartment warm, and because their landlord has been inactive to date, they have to pay additional CO2 fees for energetic building refurbishment.”

The Haus & Grund community of owners, on the other hand, criticizes the plans as “one-sided redistribution of the costs of climate protection, which actually have to be borne jointly, to the group of renting property owners”.

What does the opposition think?

Jan-Marco Luczak, construction and housing policy spokesman for the Union parliamentary group, described the plans as “bureaucratic and complicated”. According to the draft law, the traffic light itself assumes that there will be numerous legal disputes and an additional burden on the courts. “I have no sympathy for driving landlords and tenants into processes with their eyes wide open,” he told the Handelsblatt.

>> Read here: CO2 sharing between tenants and landlords: government expects lawsuits

Worse, however, is that the state of renovation of a building does not play a role at all, because the costs are divided according to fuel consumption. “Landlords who have invested in the past and modernized their house in terms of energy efficiency now benefit directly from it,” says Luczak. “Because how much fuel is consumed depends on many factors, such as the proportion of users, consumption behavior and, last but not least, the weather conditions.”

But according to Luczak, tenants are also punished. “If tenants are particularly frugal and fuel consumption falls as a result, the building is classified in a better category. However, this means that the expense ratio for tenants increases.”

Luczak called for a law that provides the year of construction and, if necessary, subsequent renovations as a simple starting point for the gradual division. “This must be supplemented by targeted tax incentives for investments in the energy efficiency of buildings.”

More: Construction industry is concerned: “Need a quick decision on new construction subsidies”

The article is in German

Tags: government split CO2 price tenants landlords

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