Cable TV no longer billable via service charges from 01.07.24

From 01.07.2024, the monthly costs for a subscription contract concluded by the landlord for cable television (cable house connection) may no longer be billed to tenants via the ancillary costs.

An amendment to the Telecommunications Act passed by the German government in 2021 will now come into force after a transitional period. Tenants and landlords are therefore now interested in their options due to the changed legal situation.

Cable TV billable via service charges until 30.06.23

Many landlords have concluded a cable TV supply contract for several parties in their apartment buildings and pass the costs on to the tenants as a lump sum via the ancillary costs. This is still permitted until 30.06.24 according to § 2 No. 15 of the Operating Costs Ordinance (BetrKV).

However, some tenants are no longer necessarily interested in this due to modern streaming options. It is therefore a good idea to ask the tenants for their opinion. Is there interest in continuing the old contract, which may be more favorable? Is a takeover of the contract or an alternative form of cost allocation (supplementary agreement) desired? If this is not the case, the landlords must ask themselves whether they can terminate their contract.

Special right of termination for landlords?

For all cable TV contracts concluded before 01.12.21, § 230 Para. 5 Sentence 1 TKG provides for a special right of termination without notice from 01.07.24 - unless the parties have agreed otherwise.

However, this special right of termination does not apply to contracts concluded after 01.12.21, as the change in the law strictly speaking came into force in 2021 and the regulation therefore had to be expected from then on.

It is worth mentioning that in the event of termination for this reason, the network provider cannot assert a claim for damages against the landlord, Section 230 (5) sentence 2 TKG.

If a landlord wishes to terminate the contract earlier or renegotiate it with the providers as part of an overall package, a legal review of the facts and the contracts is necessary.

Special right of termination for tenants?

As a general rule, tenants must continue to pay for the shared cable TV connection (house connection) via the ancillary costs until June 30, 2020. Even if they do not use it at all. From 01.07.24, however, the special right of termination without notice under § 230 Para. 5 Sentence 2 TKG applies.

The termination can be declared by the landlord now, but must refer to the termination date of 01.07.2024. Here too, neither the landlord nor the network provider may demand compensation from the tenant.

Otherwise, in the case of telecommunications services, tenants retain their right to terminate the contract after the tacit extension of the contract term, e.g. under Sections 71 (2) sentence 3, 56 (3) sentence 1 TKG, as well as other ordinary and, if applicable, extraordinary termination rights.

How should landlords and tenants proceed?

For both landlords and tenants, it is advisable to check the contracts and personal interests. If tenants and landlords want to keep the TV house connection, landlords must make individual agreements with their tenants. The costs of the TV cable connection can then continue to be billed by the landlord on the basis of this agreement. However, it is probably advisable to terminate the house connection and leave it to the tenants to decide whether, how and via whom they wish to receive the TV program in future.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for further questions and explanations.