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Utilities billing per cell phone: Bonn renters’ association warns against mobile app

Utilities billing per cell phone : Bonn renters’ association warns against mobile app

A desire to increase digitalization has taken on a strange twist in the housing market: A landlord in Tannenbusch wants to communicate with its 260 tenants only via smartphone app. Experts warn against such a business practice.

As the Renters' Association Bonn/Rhein-Sieg/Ahr reports, the landlord Diwo Home wants to communicate with its 260 tenants in Neu-Tannenbusch only via a smartphone app in the future. "This is likely to be our last letter to you", wrote the Allegron company in Bad Ems, which operates under the name Diwo Home. The letter was sent at the end of October to its tenants.

Diwo further stated that the app would improve communication, which beginning immediately would only take place via the app. Bills for heating and utilities would also be sent via the app.

Bernhard von Grünberg, chairman of the Renters' Association, warns against such a business practice. "We would like to point out to all tenants that nobody is forced to change to digital communication with the landlord," he emphasizes, "even if the letters suggest that one has to change.”

Tenants should object

The association advises especially tenants without sufficient internet skills against using the app. "We fear that the landlord will be able to 'track' renters digitally by accessing the app and that the renter will be at a disadvantage in the event of a dispute," warns von Grünberg. Experts say that the documented written form is preferable, especially for notices of defects or notices of termination. As a precaution, tenants should appeal to their landlord against a changeover to the app.

The renter app “Homecase” is a creation of Domus Software SG. It advertises the software like this: “Reduce your work load and optimize your profits!” The app is connected to an administrative software and is meant to reduce work for the landlord in terms of billing or other communication.

Domus recommends to landlords that they use the app to sell themselves as modern digital pioneers. But an inquiry to the property manager on site revealed that Allegron would make allowances for those who are not digitally savvy or equipped. They would still be able to communicate with the property managing using existing methods.

Orig. text: Martin Wein

Translation: ck