The housing costs (Hausgeld or Wohngeld) in Germany are made up of the following components: utilities (Nebenkosten), house management services (Hausverwaltung) and the community insurance fund (Instandhaltungsrucklage). The housing costs are paid to the housing cooperative, which then distributes them.

1) The utility bills (cold and hot water, heating, gas, insurance, etc.) are paid according to a rate determined every year. At the end of the year there is a recalculation of utilities actually used according to meter readings. If the meter readings show that you used more utilities, you must pay the difference. If less was used than what was paid for, the surplus is returned. And new rates are set for the following year in accordance with the volume of consumption in the previous year.

For this reason, it does not really matter how much you pay when you buy a house, because at the end of the year everyone in Germany will only pay what they have actually spent. For average consumption the cost of utilities is about 2 – 4 euros per m2.

2) House management services. Every house in Germany has its own house management company. These are private organizations that are responsible for keeping the house clean and tidy, providing the house with utilities and ensuring that all residents pay for them on time, as well as minor and major repairs to the building and common areas, and so on. The fees for the building management service range from an average of 20 to 40 euros, depending on the building and the scope of the service.

3) Community treasury. This is used to accumulate money for minor or major repairs of the building and public areas. At the annual meeting of the owners and the house management, decisions are made on the future activities in the house (repairs, painting the facade, installing an elevator, creating a playground, etc.), as well as on the amount of funds to be contributed to the community fund. The decision is made by a majority vote. After the decision has been made, every apartment owner in the building contributes to the treasury on a monthly basis, which can be used for the intended purpose in a number of years. The amount of the contribution depends on the scope and cost of the proposed works and ranges on average from 20 to 40 euros. In buildings awaiting renovation, this amount can be higher. When you buy an apartment, the new owner automatically becomes the indirect owner of a portion of the money already paid into the utility fund by the previous owner. It goes without saying that this amount may vary from apartment to apartment.

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