Photo: Sandra Neumann / stW BERLIN
Photo of residence hall

15.07.2022

Increase in costs for electricity and heat

The rent for new and follow-up contracts for our halls of residence will increase from 01. September 2022

The energy crisis does not stop at the studierendenWERK BERLIN. Due to the war in Ukraine and the resulting cutbacks in raw material supplies, Germany's and Europe's energy needs can no longer be met to the usual extent. As a result, energy prices for electricity and heat have already risen and will continue to rise in a most drastic manner.

Consequently, this means that although the studierendenWERK BERLIN has already had to raise its rents by up to 20 euros at some locations in 2021/22, it will have to raise them again for all places from 2023, and this time by a much greater amount (specifically by a further 60 euros).

Electricity and heat for the dormitories of studierendenWERK BERLIN are purchased through the “Energiewirtschaftsstelle des Landes Berlin" (EWS), which also handles procurement for state-owned properties such as schools, universities and district offices. The EWS is currently forecasting price increases of up to over 200 per cent for the coming year.

Tenants in our halls of residence have always paid inclusive rents. These include the basic rent, the utilities and also the costs for water, heat and electricity. Inclusive rents can legally only be adjusted when concluding rental and follow-up contracts. Price adjustments are not legally possible during a current rental period.

However, student housing of studierendenWERK must be self-supporting; if we as landlords were to absorb the price increases, this would result in an economic imbalance to an extent that would seriously jeopardise the continued existence of the institution.

We have already calculated that the price increases will mean a seven-figure deficit for us, as our inclusive rental contracts only allow rent increases for contract extensions or when concluding new contracts. Numerous contracts already in force will remain unadjusted until the end of their individual terms, and the costs of this will be reflected in the implementation of our renovation plans.

In order not to exacerbate this deficit, immediate action is necessary. The developments forecast for 2023 by the EWS will be taken into account by the studierendenWERK BERLIN by adjusting the rent in all tenancy agreements concluded from 01. September 2022 onwards. In addition to the increases already made at the respective locations, we will raise the rents by a further 60 euros per place and month. Students with follow-up and new contracts must therefore expect significantly higher rents from 01. September 2022.

We hear from all sides that the currently forecast price increases are only the beginning. In order to be able to react more flexibly to the constantly changing situation in the future, we will shorten the regular contract periods from two to one year. This way, we will be able to react more quickly to further price increases with contractual adjustments.

However, these are still predicted price increases; the actual increase has not yet taken place at this point. The studierendenWERK BERLIN takes this into account in the interest of its tenants and will provide the rents of the contracts concluded from 1 September with a corresponding discount until the price increase actually takes place.

This means that the rental income from 1 September 2022 will not only be adjusted for the increases that have already occurred, but will also already show the coming price increases. Legally, this means that we can actually implement the coming increases from 2023 and do not have to wait until the expiry of then running contracts. However, the coming increases will really only be charged in full once they have actually been implemented  (which is forecast for January 2023).

It is also currently unclear whether the gap-free supply of electricity, heat and gas in Germany can be secured at all. We cannot influence the current overall political and economic situation. We ourselves can only try to develop a conscious use of these resources and thus reduce our consumption.

We therefore expressly appeal to our tenants: Help us and each other to survive the coming difficult times.

  • Before leaving your flats, always make sure that electrical appliances that are not in use are switched off and that no water is running anywhere.
  • Close windows when heaters are on and ventilate only intermittently.
  • Do not use additional heaters or air conditioners. They put a heavy load on the electricity grid and increase costs for all dorm residents.

We continue to hope that the energy crisis will be short-lived. As soon as the energy prices go down, we will of course reduce the rents. Until then, we ask our tenants for their understanding. This step was not easy for us, but it is necessary in order to maintain the economic viability of student housing and ultimately of studierendenWERK BERLIN.

 

No. From 1 September onwards, the only part of the heating and electricity costs that will actually be paid more is the part that had already demonstrably risen in the previous months and now has to be included in the follow-up or new contract.

The increases that had already taken place differed from location to location; many halls of residence had incurred additional costs of 20 euros per place and month*.

The additional costs currently forecast for 2023 will only be paid in full by tenants with new contracts when they are actually passed on by.
We currently assume that this will be the case from January 2023.

However, the rental contracts from 1 September 2022 will be concluded in such a way that they already show the expected rental price for 2023.
This enables the studierendenWERK to react promptly to price increases that actually arise.

 

*In some halls of residence, the rents for other incidental costs (e.g. cleaning) have risen independently of the electricity and gas costs.

If the price increases do not occur as expected in January 2023, the principle of discounting will continue until they do.

The price increases that are forecast for 2023 will also only be incurred as additional costs for studierendenWERK from 2023, specifically presumably from January.

However, since the contracts concluded from 1.9.2022 run for one year and may not be adjusted within their term, studierendenWERK is already contractually increasing the prices, but will only implement the actual price increase when it actually occurs.

In short: We will discount all increases by a total of 60 euros until prospectively 1. January 2023.

No. The studierendenWERK is not allowed to adjust prices in current contracts. This means that price increases can only take effect once the contract period has expired. The studierendenWERK must bear any resulting deficits itself. The price adjustments for the new contracts exclusively reflect the price increases that have actually occurred for the respective place or are expected to occur from 2023 onwards.

We are not allowed to adjust running contracts. The price increases can only be implemented in subsequent contracts. The actual deficit resulting from this is borne by the studierendenWERK BERLIN. We are currently calculating that this will result in a seven-figure deficit.

No. The price increases will be felt by all of us. However, since many other landlords only apply increases in operating and ancillary costs retrospectively to the statements, these developments will reach their tenants later, but cumulatively over the year.