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Exactly my own understanding, having lived in apartment in Luxembourg with exactly the same arrangement. But calling these charges "utilities" is confusing. In England we would refer to them as "charges" in France "frais de co-propriété". The tenant is responsible for their own utitlity bills as a rule (i.e. electricity, telephone, internet etc.)
these are payments made to the landlord to offset the actual utility bills ... also, apparently, used for payment of the property taxes, since the landlord is the one receiving the bill in this case. I think you also get situations like this in co-op situations where the building is the covered entity and all the individual owners chip in. So, these payments are not going directly to the utility/State but to a third party who then forwards them on as needed.
I'm currently renting in France and I pay a monthly "provision pour charges", listed separately on my rent receipt although paid together with my rent in one monthly payment. Not an unusual but indeed a standard arrangement for covering cost to be shared (usually pro rata) among tenants for the maintenance and upkeep of communal areas, but also utilities (electricity and water) of communal areas.
just to be sure what this ST is about: these payments are made to whom exactly? The landlord? To a list of utility companies? If it's made “with the rent payment", a reasonable assumption would be that he landlord is collecting these "provision pour charges"? Not impossible, but it would be a rather unusual arrangement that the landlord pays once a year tenant's utility bills, is it explicitly stated somewhere in this contract?
Automatic update in 00:
17 mins confidence:
provision for (utility) charges
Explanation: see refs., since this is annually accounted for as you explained
FoundInTrans United Kingdom Local time: 07:45 Native speaker of: English
Notes to answerer
Asker: Thanks FoundInTrans. My worry here is that we might be dealing with something other than a standard balance sheet term, which is why I really want to see US or UK sources referencing this arrangement. As it stands, I've seen this referenced in sites from Germany, Belgium and France (and as Nikki has personally experienced). The only time I come up against "provision for charges", so far, in a UK context is when they're talking about a company offsetting future liabilities (sometimes called a provision for loss).