Refurbishment with a heat pump: "Donate the mood in advance"

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Refurbishment with a heat pump: "Donate the mood in advance"
  • By deutschewhiskybrenner

pv magazine: Does the new Home Owners Act, WEG for short, reduce the formal hurdles when installing heat pumps in apartment buildings?

Julia Wagner: In fact, it has become easier. A simple majority at the owners' meeting is sufficient. However, it is nicer if the owners agree in advance whether they want this.

So without battle vote.

You have to clarify a lot in advance. The first question is whether it is a structural measure, i.e. replacing a functioning heating system, or maintenance because the heating system has broken. The following applies to structural measures: If more than two-thirds of the votes cast are in favor and they represent at least half of the property, everyone must pay. The same applies if the costs are amortized within a reasonable period of time.

It's defined as?

I don't know, and neither does the law. That's not the only legal uncertainty. With a simple majority of two-thirds or fewer votes, only those in favor of the project usually pay. Only those who have decided to take the measure may use it. At least in theory.

How should that work with a heating system?

That's exactly the problem. It's easy with elevators and bike sheds, but with heating, even those who don't pay benefit.

And if the system is broken or so outdated that it needs to be replaced?

Then it is first of all a maintenance measure that has to be carried out and that, according to the law, everyone pays for. But it doesn't have to be a heat pump. Gas heaters are significantly cheaper. There are different views as to whether the price difference is still part of the maintenance measures.

Will the reserves not be used?

In the case of maintenance, yes, but not necessarily in the case of structural measures. It becomes difficult if not everyone wants to participate. In most cases, the reserves should not be high enough. Then the administrator is asked how to solve this.

But the WEG is legally competent and can apply for funding.

Experience shows that banks tend to resist lending, but that's possible. It's easier with grants. It is best for the administrator to get offers from several banks and sometimes invite representatives of the institutes to the owners' meeting. Often, however, financially strong owners do not want any additional credit. Then all that remains is for everyone to see for themselves how they contribute their share.

Renovation with heat pump:

Can landlords pass the costs on to their tenants?

Most likely it is a modernization within the meaning of tenancy law. If the landlord has also paid, he can also apportion his contribution in accordance with the statutory provisions.

But he could also sit back and not pay if there is a majority in favor without his vote, and his tenants benefit from the cheap heat?

Yes, but that is not in the spirit of the solidarity of the WEG and climate protection.

So committed co-owners have little chance of getting through with such an idea.

You should at least prepare it well, also in cooperation with the administration. And they should sound out the mood in advance. It is best to get a high quorum at the owners' meeting. This is the only way to avoid years of legal disputes. Because there is no case law on this yet.

Jochen Bettzieche conducted the interview.

Focus on electric heating in existing buildings

Heat pumps or infrared heaters for new buildings are almost standard. But if you want to advance the energy transition or if the old gas heaters in existing houses break down, what do you do then? There are already a number of examples of existing single-family homes, but the challenges are still great for existing multi-family homes.

We took a look at the status of development in the November 2021 issue of pv magazine (premium content):

In the November 2020 issue of pv magazine you will find:

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