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HomeGerman HousingDoes your apartment rent include costs for garden maintenace?

Does your apartment rent include costs for garden maintenace?

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Community gardens are an ornament to rental housing complexes. The garde maintenance costs for maintenance can be passed on to the tenants. Even if tenants are only allowed to look at the gardens.

Operating costs can be passed on to tenants, including the garden maintenance costs. The prerequisite: The operating costs were agreed in the rental agreement.nd Germany. Tenants then pay the regular and agreed costs on a pro rata basis.

In addition to the costs for water, community electricity or house cleaning, the expenses for the management and maintenance of the garden can also be passed on. Landlords can bill the costs of mowing the lawn, weeding, pruning plants or watering the garden as operating costs.

One-time costs for garden maintanance do not count for tenants

However, one-off costs such as the installation of a garden irrigation system or an outdoor water tap cannot be passed on through the operating costs.

A garden water meter can be installed to reduce water costs. This does not reduce the water costs, but the wastewater costs significantly, as the water is not returned via the sewer system, but rather seeps into the ground.

There are costs anyway

By the way: The costs for garden maintenance and irrigation can also be billed as operating costs if the garden is not used or is not allowed to be used by the tenants. This was decided by the highest court of the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) (Az .: VIII ZR 135/03).

The justification of the judges: The residents of the house benefit from a well-tended garden even if they cannot or cannot use the garden.

The running costs of garden maintenance include:

  • Personnel costs for garden maintenance (hiring a gardener for gardening)
  • Care of the horticultural areas
  • Maintenance of squares, driveways, etc. on the premises
  • Lawn care including mowing, fertilizing and scarifying
  • Playground maintenance
  • Maintenance of playground equipment and benches
  • Renewal of plants and woods *
  • Pruning shrubs, trees and hedges
  • Watering and watering
  • Age, weather and environment-related removal of shrubs and trees, as well as corresponding new plantings
  • Removing dead flowers
  • Removal of garden waste, leaves, etc.
  • Plants, fertilizers, etc. *
  • Operating, maintenance and repair costs for devices, which can save higher personnel costs **
  • Electricity or gasoline costs for the lawn mower

What are the additional costs of garden maintenance?

The costs of garden maintenance are part of the so-called apportionable additional costs. Apportionable means that the landlord can reclaim the costs from the tenants. To do this, however, it must be agreed beforehand in the rental agreement which costs the tenant should bear and the landlord must prepare an ancillary cost statement for the agreed cost items at the end of the billing period.

In the case of garden maintenance costs, the landlord can settle all personnel and material costs that are regularly incurred with the tenant. If a new lawn is created or dead plants are replaced, the tenants have to bear the costs. One-off purchases such as a garden shredder or lawn mower, on the other hand, cannot be transferred.

What are the exceptions to the garden maintenance costs?

When the tenants assume the costs, it does not matter whether the tenants are allowed to enter the communal garden or green area or not. Something different, however, applies to kitchen gardens, which are rented by individual tenants and can only be used by them. The respective tenant has to pay alone for the maintenance or the maintenance costs of such private gardens.

What are the exceptions to the garden maintenance costs?

When the tenants assume the costs, it does not matter whether the tenants are allowed to enter the communal garden or green area or not. Something different, however, applies to kitchen gardens, which are rented by individual tenants and can only be used by them. The respective tenant has to pay alone for the maintenance or the maintenance costs of such private gardens.

Additional costs for garden maintenance in the tax return

Even if the costs of garden maintenance make up a relatively small share in the utility bill, tenants can save here. Because garden maintenance is one of the so-called household-related services. Tenants can claim 20 percent of these costs against income tax. Incidentally, the same also applies to the costs of pest control.

Should you pay unusually high ancillary costs for garden maintenance?

For tenants, it is always worth having the billing checked: If the billing was too high, the tenant gets money back. If the billing was too low, only the first (lower) invoice amount has to be paid. If the billing was too late, the tenant doesn’t have to pay anything! Unless the landlord is not to blame for the delay.


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Michelle Halterman
USA, China, South Africa and now Munich - Michelle has come a long way in the world. She is an outdoor person and loves to be in nature with friends and on her mountain bike. Or she meets up with friends for pasta, vino, cappaccino & Co.
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