If a lessor rents out property, including the supply of utility services, the national court should assess whether multiple supplies or a single supply takes place, taking into account the contract and the economic reason thereof. In this case, the court ruled that renting out immovable property and the supply of utility services should be regarded as separate supplies for VAT purposes.
The Wojskowa Agencja Mieszkaniowa is a public body which is responsible for renting out immovable property from the state. In the context of this activity, it resells supplies including the supply of certain utilities, such as electricity, heating, water and refuse collection. In this regard, the Wojskowa recharges the costs which it incurred in purchasing those services from third-party suppliers to the lessees. Wojskowa has concluded the agreements for the supply of utilities, not the lessees and therefore, the ECJ states that it is the lessor that purchases the services for the immovable property which it rents out. Although the lessee uses those supplies directly, it does not purchase them from third-party suppliers. As a consequence, the lessor should be regarded as the provider of the supplied utilities to the lessee.
Bearing in mind that the lessor is supplying utilities to the lessee, it should be determined whether the rental of property and the supply of the utilities should be regarded as one supply or as multiple single supplies.
The fact that the lessee is free to determine his own level of consumption and the existence of individual meters and billing according to the amount of the services used are factors of importance which suggest that the supply of utilities should be regarded as separate supplies. With regard to the refuse collection, the lessee may either conclude a contract directly with the supplier or may for reasons of convenience obtain the service from a supplier designated by the lessor on the basis of a contract concluded between the lessor and the supplier. That circumstance also points to the existence of a supply separate to the rental. If, in addition, the amount due for refuse collection is mentioned (and other utilities) separately on the invoices, it must be considered that the lessor does not provide a single supply consisting of renting out immovable property and the supply of utilities. The national court should, however, assess whether there is a single supply or multiple supplies, taking into account the relevant circumstances.