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Old 24.07.2015, 08:47
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Bill for extra Nebenkosten over 12 months later

I was hoping someone might have some advice here, I'm awaiting a call back from the agent and to me this seems a bit crazy.

I have been sent a bill for about 350 CHF for additional Nebenkosten for the period April 1 to June 30 2014 from the previous agents (the building management changed at the start of 2015). A lot of the dates in the document mention 1 July 13 to 30 June 14 so I'm assuming they have billed me for 1/4 of the annual total but this is not clear. As most of the bill is heating I'm not prepared to pay for 1/4 of a winter's heating bill when I was there in a mild spring.

The main issue I have though, is why on earth have they sent this over a year after the period ended? My contract is clear in that I have to pay additional costs within 30 days of being billed, but says nothing about when the bill should be sent.

I no longer have any dealings with the letting/managing agent who has sent the bill, and my contract was transferred to another company some months ago if this makes a difference.

Do I have any grounds to reject the bill on the basis of the time passed since the event? The bill for the heating and hot water they sent me as evidence is payable by 1 September 2014 so they've been sitting on this for ages and done nothing about it.

Any advice would be appreciated!
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Old 24.07.2015, 08:53
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Re: Bill for extra Nebenkosten over 12 months later

Small companies may present new bills up to 5 years late....! You might now get your deposit returned.
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Old 24.07.2015, 08:57
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Re: Bill for extra Nebenkosten over 12 months later

This is not a small company, it's a (very) large residential and commercial lettings firm.

I am still living in the same apartment, just the owners of the building appointed a new managing agent and transferred everything over to them. This bill is from the old agents.

I'm also a little concerned that if they're billing me 350 for 3 months I'm going to get another bill for 1400 for the next 12 months, which seems crazy as I'm already paying 240 per month for the Nebenkosten, heating etc...
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Old 24.07.2015, 09:04
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Re: Bill for extra Nebenkosten over 12 months later

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I'm also a little concerned that if they're billing me 350 for 3 months I'm going to get another bill for 1400 for the next 12 months, which seems crazy as I'm already paying 240 per month for the Nebenkosten, heating etc...
240CHF is cheap unless it's a very small apartment. Basically, this is a trick they use to make you think the apartment is cheaper. Our previous tenant sent us detailed bills which included a breakdown of costs of regular maintenance, gardening, heating etc. In other words, they knew damn well the standard Nebenkosten would not cover the true expenses.
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Old 24.07.2015, 09:14
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Re: Bill for extra Nebenkosten over 12 months later

It's not a small apartment, but it is a brand new building with triple glazed windows, air re-circulation and all the other eco-home stuff so should be fairly cheap to run.

I'm going to speak to the current letting agent as well to get their view on the Nebenkosten as if they say this is normal and expected then maybe that will accelerate our decision to look for a new place.

I'm also wondering how they propose extracting their share of the costs from all the people who have moved out since last summer!
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Old 24.07.2015, 09:19
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Re: Bill for extra Nebenkosten over 12 months later

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This is not a small company, it's a (very) large residential and commercial lettings firm.

I am still living in the same apartment, just the owners of the building appointed a new managing agent and transferred everything over to them. This bill is from the old agents.

I'm also a little concerned that if they're billing me 350 for 3 months I'm going to get another bill for 1400 for the next 12 months, which seems crazy as I'm already paying 240 per month for the Nebenkosten, heating etc...
My last landlord (also a big company) waited 4 years and 50 weeks before sending us a new nebenkosten bill for nearly 2000 CHFs. We checked with our lawyers because we have insurance for nearly everything and was told that they were within their rights and we would normally have to pay. But, fortunately the landlord didn't send it registered (or start a legal process) so by the time they sent a reminder the 5 years was up and we didn't need to pay.

In your case you will have to pay, it sucks but that's the way it is.
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Old 24.07.2015, 09:25
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Re: Bill for extra Nebenkosten over 12 months later

It would be best for you to join the Mieterverband as you do not understand how things are calculated here.

The Nebenkosten is an advance payment on the final bills, and at first is always presented as low as possible. The final Nebenkosten amount is sometimes 50% higher. The agency take their fees as well.

For a 100 square meter apartment, with 3 or 4 people, I would calculate at least Fr 3,500 per year Nebenkosten, plus the electricity.
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Old 24.07.2015, 09:25
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Re: Bill for extra Nebenkosten over 12 months later

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I'm going to speak to the current letting agent as well to get their view on the Nebenkosten as if they say this is normal and expected then maybe that will accelerate our decision to look for a new place.
The only way to protect yourself against these unexpected costs is to look for apartments with Nebenkosten Pauschal (aka all-inclusive). These are, however, quite rare.
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Old 24.07.2015, 09:35
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Re: Bill for extra Nebenkosten over 12 months later

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Small companies may present new bills up to 5 years late....!
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This is not a small company, it's a (very) large residential and commercial lettings firm.
I doesn't matter if it's a small company or not but Sbrinz is right about the 5 years.
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Old 24.07.2015, 09:38
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Re: Bill for extra Nebenkosten over 12 months later

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It would be best for you to join the Mieterverband as you do not understand how things are calculated here.

The Nebenkosten is an advance payment on the final bills, and at first is always presented as low as possible. The final Nebenkosten amount is sometimes 50% higher. The agency take their fees as well.

For a 100 square meter apartment, with 3 or 4 people, I would calculate at least Fr 3,500 per year Nebenkosten, plus the electricity.
I understand exactly how it is calculated, the issues I have are that they have sent the bill a year after they received it from the supplier (and seven months after they ceased to be the managers of the building) and that they are asking for the equivalent of 1,400 CHF a year on top of the 2,880 CHF we are already paying for a brand new apartment. This feels extremely high as most of it is on heating and the period it covers is April, May and June so I think they're billing me for a chunk of time when the place was empty before I moved in.

Thanks for the advice and help so far - I am fully expecting to have to pay up eventually but if this level of under-estimation of costs is normal for this building I need to be prepared for the next bill...
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Old 24.07.2015, 09:57
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Re: Bill for extra Nebenkosten over 12 months later

Up to five years is still o.k. according to the law:
https://www.admin.ch/opc/en/classifi...ndex.html#a128
Not much you can do about that.

But you contradict yourself:
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I understand exactly how it is calculated,
[...]
most of it is on heating and the period it covers is April, May and June so I think they're billing me for a chunk of time when the place was empty before I moved in.
The bill should be clear about the cost, break down and distribution over actual rental period. Question: Is it clear from the bill how it was calculated and that the calculation is correct or is it not?

You have the right to see the actual utility bills : https://www.admin.ch/opc/en/classifi...dex.html#a257b
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Old 24.07.2015, 10:06
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Re: Bill for extra Nebenkosten over 12 months later

You're right, I did contradict myself!

I know how Nebenkosten are allocated and calculated, and that it's an estimate and I have to pay any extra which is due.

The bit which is a bit opaque at the moment is how they have split the costs over the period when I rented the place and the period when it was empty after being built/still being finished and decorated.

I just spoke to the current letting agent, they said their phones have been red-hot with people complaining about this bill and they suggest sending a registered letter asking for more details to the previous agent, which I will do if I can't get hold of them today to clarify it.
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Old 24.07.2015, 10:07
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Re: Bill for extra Nebenkosten over 12 months later

Take the bill to the Mieterverband and get advice, you are wasting your time arguing with the agents, https://www.mieterverband.ch/
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Old 24.07.2015, 10:10
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Re: Bill for extra Nebenkosten over 12 months later

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The only way to protect yourself against these unexpected costs is to look for apartments with Nebenkosten Pauschal (aka all-inclusive). These are, however, quite rare.


These are quite rare and not always a good deal. In one case I had a client who was considering a property like this and I inquired directly about the utility costs. This is not always easy to do as you need to know exactly where the bills come from. Not all the suppliers are so forthcoming with this information. Once I collected all the data it was clear to me that the landlord was making a very nice profit. At the same time he was complaining about people who raise the heat, keep the windows open in winter and take too many showers.


So I suggested to him that my client pay the utilities akonto (on account). No, that was not acceptable either. We walked away.


The nebenkosten for an apartment can be much higher than a free standing house because there are a lot of things included in the apartment charges which each tenant participates in.


I have seen many new buildings where the NK are outrageous. The problem with a new buildling is that there is no history to work with.
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Old 24.07.2015, 10:39
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Re: Bill for extra Nebenkosten over 12 months later

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You're right, I did contradict myself!

I know how Nebenkosten are allocated and calculated, and that it's an estimate and I have to pay any extra which is due.

The bit which is a bit opaque at the moment is how they have split the costs over the period when I rented the place and the period when it was empty after being built/still being finished and decorated.

I just spoke to the current letting agent, they said their phones have been red-hot with people complaining about this bill and they suggest sending a registered letter asking for more details to the previous agent, which I will do if I can't get hold of them today to clarify it.
Slightly unclear.... was the flat empty for a while before you moved in but your contract had started, or just empty? You're not responsible for any bills dating from before your contracts start date unless the contract stated otherwise (and you signed agreeing to that).

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Up to five years is still o.k. according to the law:
https://www.admin.ch/opc/en/classifi...ndex.html#a128
Not much you can do about that.

But you contradict yourself:


The bill should be clear about the cost, break down and distribution over actual rental period. Question: Is it clear from the bill how it was calculated and that the calculation is correct or is it not?

You have the right to see the actual utility bills : https://www.admin.ch/opc/en/classifi...dex.html#a257b
Correct, you're entitled to ask for a complete breakdown of this kind of bill; as it seems your new agents are being inundated with phone calls from other unhappy tenants it might be worth suggesting to them that they organise a buildings meeting to discuss the problem?
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Old 24.07.2015, 10:48
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Re: Bill for extra Nebenkosten over 12 months later

Out of interest, can anyone tell me how the expenses are calculated?

E.g. for communal electricity / heating: Is it taken from expenditure from entire apartment block, divided by each apartment (taking size into account)? Or is there some way they measure the usage from each individual apartment?
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Old 24.07.2015, 10:55
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Re: Bill for extra Nebenkosten over 12 months later

Flat was empty until I moved in - prior to me living there is was being built, fitted out and decorated but as far as I know it was still being worked on until about a month before we moved in.

Basically, it seems that they have a right to send the bill, but people are contesting the amount they are being charged as it seems to be unreasonably high - 575CHF for heating and hot water for April, May and June is a big chunk more than was budgeted and this is in months where you would expect usage to be below average. If you take the same numbers and extrapolate them for winter usage levels it puts you well over 300CHF a month just for this without any other costs - hence the incredulity at how a brand new building can generate this size of heating bill.
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Old 24.07.2015, 10:58
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Re: Bill for extra Nebenkosten over 12 months later

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Out of interest, can anyone tell me how the expenses are calculated?

E.g. for communal electricity / heating
Depends:
Communal electricity normally equally split per apartment.
Communal heating normally equally split per apartment.

Apartment heating and warm water, depends on age and size of building.
- Could be based on floor space.
- According to measuring device on each radiators
or the most exact
- According to measuring device for each flat.


Very detailed explanation but in German
https://www.mieterverband.ch/dam/jcr...uebersicht.pdf
and
https://www.mieterverband.ch/dam/jcr...checkliste.pdf
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Old 24.07.2015, 11:10
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Re: Bill for extra Nebenkosten over 12 months later

I've just had a more detailed look at the breakdowns by category, things like communal electricity and the lift are clear in the way they are split, but there are a few strange ones:

Kabelanschluss (cable connection) - 42.4k, my share is 103.10 - no idea what this is doing on the bill or why it is so massively high!

Lift - 2.7k, my share is 13.3% of this, there are 6 flats and two offices so that probably makes sense, but the number looks like an annual bill, not a quarterly one (based on UK costs, and bearing in mind it is brand new and covered by a guarantee)

Communal electricity - 2.2k, same split as the lift, I guess this covers electricity for the lift as it's way too high to just be lighting.
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Old 24.07.2015, 11:18
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Re: Bill for extra Nebenkosten over 12 months later

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Kabelanschluss (cable connection) - 42.4k, my share is 103.10 - no idea what this is doing on the bill or why it is so massively high!

.
That will be the often discussed cablecom connection fee of about 34 chf per month. If you have a cable outlet then you pay this fee regardless of whether you use it or not unless you have it officially blocked off.
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