Monday 20 September 2021

Complaining about high service costs often pays off: BNR radio

Service costs can be too high. Photo:

Tenants who complain to rent tribunals about the high service costs they pay are extremely likely to win their cases, according to research by BNR radio.

Some 90% of tenants who take their case to a tribunal end up winning, and that can cut their costs by hundreds of euros a year, the broadcaster said.

Landlords are allowed to charge tenants for cleaning and energy costs in communal areas but cannot make a profit on the services. They are also required by law to send tenants an annual statement detailing all the costs. In addition, contracts are supposed to state what costs are covered.

‘Major maintenance such as painting cannot be covered by service costs,’ rent tribunal spokesman Albert Roele told the broadcaster. ‘Nor can landlords charge service costs for replacing a fridge if that is not specified in the contract.’

Tenants’ association Woonbond said that landlords often charge high service costs in order to earn more money and that the problem impacts both social housing and non-rent controlled tenants.

However, tenants who live in the non-rent controlled sector cannot apply for help to a rent tribunal and are forced to go to court if they want to reclaim the extra cash, spokesman Marcel Trip said.

‘We think they too should be able to go to a rent tribunal,’ he said.

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