KIt has been less than a year since the federal and state governments agreed on a CO2 price after a long struggle. Companies and consumers will have to pay 25 euros per ton from the beginning of 2021 if they use heating oil, natural gas, petrol or diesel. The price is expected to rise to 55 euros by 2025. Hopefully, those who have to dig deeper into their pockets for fossil fuels will be more environmentally friendly. But shortly before the start date, a fundamental debate broke out in Berlin about who should pay the CO2 price and who shouldn’t.
Specifically, it is about the question of whether tenants or landlords should be burdened with the additional costs for climate protection. At the moment it all boils down to the tenants. The energy companies are increasing their prices for oil and gas, the landlords allocate these to the individual apartments and tenants via the utility bill. But especially in the big cities, where many people already spend more than a third of their disposable income on rent, this meets with criticism. The climate protection program therefore contains a test order to determine whether and how the allocation of the CO2 price could be limited.
The SPD-led federal ministries for finance, environment and justice proposed at the end of September that the additional costs should be divided equally between tenants and landlords. As expected, this met with little enthusiasm in the CDU.
Costs could be an incentive for landlords
Environment Minister Svenja Schulze is now increasing the pressure again: “It is important to me that the CO2 price is cushioned socially,” she told the FAZ. The equal division between tenants and landlords is appropriate, as both have an influence on CO2 emissions. “A new regulation is not only necessary in terms of social policy, but also provides better incentives in terms of climate policy. I expect the Union to say yes not only to the CO2 price, but also to protect tenants. “
The German Economic Institute in Cologne has calculated the amounts involved using a single-family house with an area of 125 square meters and natural gas heating as an example. For this home – monthly warm rent so far a good 1,000 euros – the tenants would have to pay 12 euros more every month in the coming year because of the CO2 price. By 2025, this amount will rise to a good 26 euros. The institute’s projections predict a cost increase of more than 60 euros per month by 2040. This only includes the CO2 price for heating. This does not include the additional expenses for gasoline or diesel if the household has a car.
The Greens even go one step further than the SPD: In a new proposal by the parliamentary group, they demand that the landlords should take over the costs of the CO2 price in full. The MPs argue that the tenants bear the entire heating costs without having any influence on the energy source. But if the price was to ensure that more climate-friendly heating systems were installed, those who decide would have to bear it. The German Tenants’ Association and Environmental Aid also want landlords to bear the additional costs alone. A change in the apportionment ability can be quickly implemented “through minor adjustments” in the heating cost ordinance, it says there.