What should you pay as communal costs?
In this piece we will cover the topic that is one of the most important ones in every rental contract – the costs besides the actual rent. For a long time landlords have inserted as many side costs/communal costs (in Estonian kõrvalkulud or kommunaalkulud) into rental agreements as possible but it is good to see that tenants have become more aware of their rights.
According to the law (The Law of Obligations Act, you can read it in English: https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/510012018003/consolide# ):
In addition to the payment of rent, a lessee shall bear other expenses related to the leased thing (accessory expenses) only if so agreed. Charges for the services and acts of a lessor or a third party which are related to the use of a thing are accessory expenses.
So firstly, there has to be an agreement that the lessee shall bear the additional costs in the first place. In case of no such clear stipulation, there is no obligation to bear any of the additional costs and they shall be deemed to be included in the rent.
Secondly, landlords often forget (knowingly or not) that not all costs that they want to stipulate in the contract are related to the use of the apartment/house. These costs usually could be:
Loan payments of the apartment association (in Estonian korteriühistu);
Reserv fund payments;
It is important to know that an agreement that conflicts the law is null and void. So in case you have paid any of the costs that are not related to the use of the real-estate, you can re-claim some of them or at least stop yourself from paying them in the future. Contact us if you would like our help in knowing more or helping you.