Since 2021, every ton of CO2 produced in Germany has been taxed at € 25. The new Fuel Emissions Trading Act (BEHG) is intended to encourage consumers to pay more attention to their CO2 production. This applies above all to heating with fossil fuels (petroleum and gas), which produces carbon dioxide. Tenants have therefore experienced a surcharge since January this year, which depends on their heating behavior. However, the question arises as to whether the landlord also has a significant share in the amount of CO2 produced, as he determines the type of heating system and the energy efficiency of the building. The Union and SPD therefore decided in mid-May as part of a climate pact that the landlord should pay 50% of the surcharge. There is a concrete draft law in this regard, but adoption has been delayed due to the new refusal of the CDU / CSU.

If oil or gas boilers are used for heating, the landlord first pays the full surcharge for the CO2 tax, as he is responsible for purchasing the fuel and already pays the surcharge. Accordingly, in future the landlord will not only have to bill the tenant's exact consumption via the operating costs, but also offset his share of the CO2 tax.

If the heating system is based on district heating, it depends on the specific provider. Either it is climate-neutral biogas or waste heat from power plants. Since thermal power stations burn fossil fuels and thus also produce CO2, but district heating is only a waste product of this process, it would be exempt from the CO2 tax in this case. However, there are also providers for whom this is not the case. Some district heating providers have increased their prices due to the CO2 tax. Here the landlord has to contribute to the costs. There is also district heating, which is operated with natural gas and biogas. This of course also falls under the CO2 taxation and results in a surcharge for tenants and landlords.

In the case of gas boilers, the legislator still has to take action and develop a concept of how tenants and landlords share the CO2 tax, because in apartments with gas boilers, the tenants are responsible for concluding gas supply contracts. As with electricity, the tenant can choose his own supplier. However, this causes the problem that the landlord has no control and does not know the contract and actual consumption. So the question arises as to how the tenant can now claim his share of the CO2 tax back from the landlord. The tenant could send the landlord the corresponding expense report - for example in the form of a copy of the gas bill - and request payment of his share of the tax. How this will be implemented in practice is still open.

In addition, around 1.5 million night storage heaters are still in operation in German rental apartments. Although they use electricity instead of natural gas or heating oil, tenants have to pay CO2 taxes in addition to electricity prices. According to CO2-Online, the carbon dioxide emissions from night storage heaters are usually more than twice as high as from gas or oil heating. However, it is difficult to determine the proportional power consumption for heating. The reason is that the power consumption of the night storage heater is not separated from the power consumption of other devices such as a television or washing machine.


With CO2 tax prices set to continue to rise through 2025 (and perhaps beyond), it might be more cost-effective for some landlords to switch to more environmentally friendly heating methods in the long run. After all, this is also the motivation behind the new emissions law itself.