Housing: Tenants' association fears higher surcharge after heating replacement

After agreeing on the main features of a future heating law, important cost issues are still unresolved.

Housing: Tenants' association fears higher surcharge after heating replacement

After agreeing on the main features of a future heating law, important cost issues are still unresolved. The German Tenants' Association, for example, fears that apartment rents will increase further as a result of modern heating systems. Environmental groups see the agreements of the governing coalition as a step backwards for climate protection.

A top group of SPD, Greens and FDP had agreed on major changes to the original draft of the Building Energy Act passed by the cabinet. This ended a week-long conflict. The draft law will now be discussed for the first time in the Bundestag on Thursday. It is to be passed before the parliamentary summer recess, which begins on July 7th.

Worry about even higher costs for renters

After the compromise, the Building Energy Act and a Heat Planning Act are to be linked and both will come into force on January 1, 2024. If you are connected to a district heating network, you no longer have to worry about installing a heat pump, for example. Mandatory municipal heat planning is to be introduced by 2028 at the latest. As long as there is no municipal heating plan, gas heaters should also be allowed to be installed when replacing the heating system - if they can be converted to hydrogen.

The President of the German Tenants' Association, Lukas Siebenkotten, was concerned about even higher costs for tenants. "Instead of finally reforming and significantly reducing the existing modernization levy in a socially just way, another modernization levy should even be introduced," Siebenkotten told the dpa. "That doesn't bode well. We need more tenant protection and no further rent increases."

Further negotiations must be about "increasing the subsidies for landlords and at the same time reforming the modernization levy in such a way that significant energy savings can be achieved by replacing the heating system - this is the only way landlords and tenants can benefit," explained Siebenkotten.

Greenpeace: Climate protection goals are "far away"

The environmental organization Greenpeace rated the resolutions of the coalition negatively. Your energy expert Andree Böhling said that if the municipal heat planning should be completed first, then that means: "By 2028, most municipalities will continue to install climate-damaging gas heating systems. With this watered-down heating law, the government's climate protection goals are a long way off."

The German environmental aid spoke of a low point for the climate policy of the federal government. "The most serious thing is that the heat transition in existing buildings will be postponed until after 2028 and thus to the next government, even in a large proportion of new buildings where it is particularly easy to implement," criticized Federal Managing Director Barbara Metz. "In addition, the fairy tale of hydrogen-capable gas heaters is maintained and the climate and environmentally harmful combustion of wood is made possible."

The energy industry, on the other hand, reacted positively. "The points that the coalition has agreed on significantly improve the law," said the general manager of the Federal Association of Energy and Water Management, Kerstin Andreae. Above all, "the planned integration with municipal heat planning when converting existing buildings" is positive. The Association of Municipal Companies (VKU) made a similar statement. The agreement of the coalition is "a good and important signal".

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