How renters in Germany could get help with rising heating costs

The Local Germany
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How renters in Germany could get help with rising heating costs
An apartment building in the Hannover region. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Julian Stratenschulte

Germany’s Expert Commission on Gas and Heat has proposed six months of protection against eviction for tenants who can’t pay their energy bills because of rising prices.


On Monday, the Expert Commission on Gas and Heat set up by the German government presented its latest proposals for easing the burden of rising energy prices on companies and private households.


The proposals aim to compensate for rising energy bills and to bridge the gap until the planned introduction of the gas price brake next spring. Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, energy and consumer prices have spiralled in Germany, with energy bills more than doubling in some cases.

The commission, which includes experts from trade unions, academia and the Bundestag, already put forward a slew of proposals in its interim report a few weeks ago.

READ ALSO: Germany could pay December bill for gas customers to help with rising costs

These recommendations included a one-off payment for gas and district heating customers in December and a gas price brake from March, as well as a separate gas price brake for large industrial companies from January.

Protection for tenants

The main proposal in the commission’s new report is for tenants who can’t pay their energy bills because of rising prices to have six months' protection against termination of their rental contracts.

The report states that: “At least half a year's time must be given to tenant households to settle their energy debts."

READ ALSO: Tenants in Germany need eviction protections during energy crisis, says housing boss

Struggling tenant households should also get assistance from debt counselling services. The report proposes that this measure should remain in place at least until the German government's "housing benefit plus" is paid out next year.

Landlords who have to make advance payments on behalf of their tenants will also get support in the form of interest-free liquidity assistance. 

Which other measures for consumers are being proposed?

The report also proposes a so-called 'emergency aid fund' to support households with lower and medium incomes that are struggling to cope with rising energy costs. 

What constitutes hardship for the purpose of this financial aid will be left up to the federal government to decide.

The experts also propose that financial aid should be subject to taxation for those earning over €72,000 annually and that consumers who make significant energy savings should be rewarded with a bonus.


At the press conference following the report's publication, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that the commission had "made very good proposals" and that the German government will now "work through" them.


Protection against termination - (der) Kündigungsschutz

Emergency relief - (die) Soforthilfe

Debts - (die) Schulden

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