We all have heard the word a-conto and knows the meaning of the word, but only a few knows what the rules are. There are actually many who are scammed with a-conto payments – are you one of them?
What is a-conto?
A-conto payment is a fixed amount that serves as a prepayment for your consumption with the purpose of being balanced with your actual consumption later on. A-conto is an approximate amount payable on the basis of an average calculation, for example a year’s consumption, that is paid based on what you expect the final payment to be. A-conto can be divided into both half-yearly, quarterly and monthly payments. If your consumption is not balanced and you don’t receive the statement for your actual consumption, you will be entitled to a refund of your prepaid a-conto.
Example: One expects to pay 3600 kr in water for 12 months. Therefore, a-conto, with a monthly payment, will be 300 kr.
If the final bill ends at DKK 6000, you have therefore paid 2400Kr less, then a-conto has been found “wrong” and you owe the landlord 2400 kr, since the final balancing is the actual consumption.
Example: Last year you lived with your boyfriend in your apartment and paid 500 kr in a-conto for water, which suited perfectly your situation. You have later on left your boyfriend and therefore you are the only one who has used water – but you have still paid 500 kr in a-conto in water, as it is expected that the same terms will apply in this fiscal year. Instead, you have only spent 200 kr in water per month and therefore you have paid 3600 kr too much. This means that you now have to get this amount refunded.
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How is a-conto determined?
Based on last year’s consumption
Normally, a-conto is determined based on last year’s consumption – it will therefore often be this which constitutes a-conto amount. A-conto amount is adjusted at times to better reflect the actual consumption. The consumption may have changed due to circumstances as mentioned in the example above that you go from 2 tenants to one tenant.
The former tenants
If you have moved into a new residence and taken over from another tenant, it is very normal that the same a conto will be determined based on the previous tenant’s consumption. This is where you often see that a conto amount fails and you may have to pay a lot extra at the final balancing or be refunded a large amount. This is due to the different usage habits of the tenants.
Example: If you move into an apartment alone and the previous tenants lived 3 people together, a-conto will typically be set for 3 people and since you are only one person, there will be a high chance that you pay too much for a-conto the first year and therefore will receive money back.
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What can you pay a-conto for?
You pay a conto in connection with the supplementary benefits besides your rent. There are 3 expenses that may , and may not be settled by a-conto. There is water, heat and electricity.
There are strict requirements in the Danish Rent Act for when the landlord can make a-conto payment.
Landlord can charge a-conto-payment for heat, this can be done by square meter / volume or via a specific consumption meter to the residence which measures your actual consumption.
Water may only be charged a-conto if there is a specific consumption meter for the residence. In cases where it is not, the landlord loses the right to a-conto payments of water and must therefore be charged by the rent.
Electricity may only be charged a-conto if there is a specific consumption meter for the residence. In cases where it is not, the landlord loses the right to a-conto payment for electricity and therefore has to be charged by the rent.
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What are other options to pay for consumption?
Included in the rent
The heat, water and el consumption may also be included in the rent instead of being charged a-conto. If they are included in the rent, the landlord will not be able to charge a payment if the consumption should prove to be greater than expected.
Direct payment to the utility company
It can also be seen from the lease that you pay its consumption costs directly to the utility company concerned. That is, the landlord has nothing to do with the payment and therefore there is an agreement between you and the company.