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Old 14.02.2017, 21:05
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nebenkosten and others costs

Hi Everyone.

I just received an invoice from my landlord and am rather puzzled (to remain polite).

We rent a house and pay 200 in nebenkosten per month (included in the rent), but which had not gone to anything to my knowledge. Separately I pay everything else, water, electricity, storm/drain, chimney sweep..etc.

The common garbage/compost box at the end of the street was fixed this year (I assume this is once every 15-20 years) and we had faulty electrical wiring which needed an electrician.

As I wrote - I just received an invoice the landlord where he added up the amount of nebenkosten paid and subtracted the cost for the garbage area, which was split evenly among the neighborhood units, and the cost of the electrician. The result is CHF -900, which he asks me to pay.

To me this is outrageous. It is as if I would have to pay if the roof was rotten and collapsed or the foundations would have to be redone...
Am I being Swissed?
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Old 14.02.2017, 21:33
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Re: nebenkosten and others costs

The list of Nebenkosten should be on the your rental contract. Anything not listed you don't have to pay. Or are those 200 Fr that you pay a flat rate "pauschale"? In case of pauschal the landlord has no right to charge for anything extra at all (but you also won't get any refunds if you overpay). And in any case you have a right to see what exactly the money was spent on and upon request even see the receipts - Art. 257b OR.

Fixing things when they get broken is also 100% landlord's responsibility. Except for 'small maintenance' - things that you can be reasonably expected to fix yourself and that don't cost much (150 Fr is a common threshold), or if you yourself caused the damage. Charging for electrician definitely crosses the line IMHO.

Write back to the landlord stating that this is not a case of small maintenance (because it's both over 150 Fr and required a specialist), and hence not your responsibility to pay. Also ask for copies of receipts for what he has otherwise spent your NK money on (quote Art. 257b OR) in the past years and request him to refund you the difference, unless you're on pauschal NK.

Last edited by ivank; 14.02.2017 at 21:47.
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Old 14.02.2017, 22:01
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Re: nebenkosten and others costs

Do you pay for the heating fuel?

Tom
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Old 14.02.2017, 22:11
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Re: nebenkosten and others costs

At first glance it looks like the landlord might be trying to bill you for stuff that is not your responsibility.

If you join your local Mieterverband (or in the Romandie Asloca ) it will cost you about SFr 100 per year and you will get all the free legal advice you need. Take your papers, & they will dictate letters for you to send to your landlord.

http://www.englishforum.ch/search2.php?q=Mieterverband

Make the appointment, and go and see them soon!
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Old 15.02.2017, 08:37
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Re: nebenkosten and others costs

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Do you pay for the heating fuel?

Tom
How do you know he uses heating fuel?
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Old 15.02.2017, 08:56
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Re: nebenkosten and others costs

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The list of Nebenkosten should be on the your rental contract. Anything not listed you don't have to pay. Or are those 200 Fr that you pay a flat rate "pauschale"? In case of pauschal the landlord has no right to charge for anything extra at all (but you also won't get any refunds if you overpay). And in any case you have a right to see what exactly the money was spent on and upon request even see the receipts - Art. 257b OR.

Fixing things when they get broken is also 100% landlord's responsibility. Except for 'small maintenance' - things that you can be reasonably expected to fix yourself and that don't cost much (150 Fr is a common threshold), or if you yourself caused the damage. Charging for electrician definitely crosses the line IMHO.

Write back to the landlord stating that this is not a case of small maintenance (because it's both over 150 Fr and required a specialist), and hence not your responsibility to pay. Also ask for copies of receipts for what he has otherwise spent your NK money on (quote Art. 257b OR) in the past years and request him to refund you the difference, unless you're on pauschal NK.
I am not sure if this is true. I am living in a 2-year old building and am confronted with a "Schlussrechnung" of about CHF 600-1000 every year, which includes things like lift maintenance costs, gardening costs, etc. Where I come from such costs are normally paid by the owner, not the tenant.
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Old 15.02.2017, 09:55
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Re: nebenkosten and others costs

The 200 you pay are based on an estimate of the amount of NK that would typically occur for a given apartment, its size and its number of inhabitants.

If you use significantly more - be it electricity, water or heating - you have to pay the difference. That is also true e.g. if there's central heating and the winter is unusually cold. I've gotten a Schlussrechnung of several 100 CHF every year in my previous apartment, largely because I use a lot of water (those stupid baths!) and sometimes overheated (yeah I know).

The landlord often gives the option to pay more monthly Nebenkosten to avoid a hefty additional bill at the end of the year.

However, repairs for things that are for common usage (e.g. elevator, garbage bins etc) are not your responsibility or rather the cost for that is typically included in your rent.

Fixing things in your apartment is also not necessarily the landlord's responsibility either btw. If you break something that would still function perfectly well or don't use it correctly and it breaks as a consequence, you have to pay it yourself.
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Old 15.02.2017, 10:38
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Re: nebenkosten and others costs

I don't want to start a massive argument, but what is considered to be charged to the tenant can vary between the cantons. I know that in Bern the maintenance contract for the lift/elevator, is charged to the tenant(s).

Generally, tenants pay for the maintenance, & owners pay for the renovation. But after renovating the property, the rental can be increased.

The best course of action is to join the tenant's association, & as mentioned earlier, post #4, there is one for each canton!
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Old 15.02.2017, 12:02
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Re: nebenkosten and others costs

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I am not sure if this is true. I am living in a 2-year old building and am confronted with a "Schlussrechnung" of about CHF 600-1000 every year, which includes things like lift maintenance costs, gardening costs, etc. Where I come from such costs are normally paid by the owner, not the tenant.
Regular periodic costs like mawing the lawn, lift service can usually be charged to the tenant. These are considered "Betriebskosten" - running costs that are associated with usage, not maintenance. Non periodic for fixing broken stuff (e.g. technician to fix stuck lift) or value increasing investments are not OK. The costs must be listed on the contract in any case, non listed costs don't need to be payed.
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Old 15.02.2017, 12:03
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Re: nebenkosten and others costs

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We rent a house and pay 200 in nebenkosten per month
If your NBK is Konto, then the total charges attributed to your apartment will be calculated at the end of the accounting period, what you paid deducted, and you get a bill/credit based on if it's over or under. One of the problems of a low NBK is you can often get a bill, a higher NBK can often get a credit, again based on usage.

CHF200 does seem a little low, how big is the apartment, and have you checked the breakdown of the NBK costs?
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Old 15.02.2017, 12:31
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Re: nebenkosten and others costs

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We rent a house
so I doubt that there is lift service costs, etc.

Tom
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Old 15.02.2017, 12:38
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Re: nebenkosten and others costs

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If your NBK is Konto, then the total charges attributed to your apartment will be calculated at the end of the accounting period, what you paid deducted, and you get a bill/credit based on if it's over or under. One of the problems of a low NBK is you can often get a bill, a higher NBK can often get a credit, again based on usage.

CHF200 does seem a little low, how big is the apartment, and have you checked the breakdown of the NBK costs?
He says in the OP that he lives in a house and that water, electricity, chimney sweep etc. are paid directly by him as is generally the case for houses rather than apartments.
I would imagine the nebenkosten are to cover communal bits relating to the house such as street lighting etc which is why they are so low.
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Old 15.02.2017, 12:43
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Re: nebenkosten and others costs

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I would imagine the nebenkosten are to cover communal bits relating to the house such as street lighting etc which is why they are so low.
Heating can be communal, as I know someone with such a house.

Tom
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Old 15.02.2017, 21:00
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Re: nebenkosten and others costs

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Do you pay for the heating fuel?

Tom
The owner includes the heating fuel in the nebenkosten bank - and in fact, this is the only cost he applies it to since I pay everything else straight away. So after over a year, I guess he saw that he "owed" a considerable amount in terms of additional charges and decided to try his luck with the refurbishment of the garbage container area which came out to CHF 15,000 - with his share at 1,400 - which he is now saying should be taken out of the nebenkosten bank which accumulated. That and oil puts the bank (and me) at -900.

I brought it up with him today - he is adamant I have to pay and gave me 30 days to do so. He finished his email with a "BTW I inform you that your rent will be going up by 200 CHF per month as allowed by the law".

Mieterverband tomorrow!
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Old 15.02.2017, 21:13
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Re: nebenkosten and others costs

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He finished his email with a "BTW I inform you that your rent will be going up by 200 CHF per month as allowed by the law".
Rent raise communicated in such a way is legally void, it has to be in writing on the official form and with a good justification (Art. 269d OR)

You have a case of amateur wannabe landlord, he'll be an easy prey to mieterverband, don't worry
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Old 15.02.2017, 21:27
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Re: nebenkosten and others costs

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Mieterverband tomorrow!

This sounds like the best approach.


In order to give you proper advice it is necessary to see the rental contract.


Unfortunately many people think renting a house means you are in total control of the NK and will never be hit with surprises. In order for this to be the case you need to have a house which is completely detached, not on a private road, and without any shared items, such as a lift, (a house built up on a hill may have an outside lift for accessibility) parking, driveway or private road, garbage collection area, play areas or heating or meters.


Some owners of houses want to keep utility bills in their names (in some Gemeinde they insist on this) for the simple reason that they want to be sure the services are paid for and not turned off in case the tenant does not pay. How the landlord handles this in a rental contract can vary.


I know landlords who will pay the chimney sweep bill themselves and others who will insist the tenants pay. I have never come across a landlord who will pay for the decalcing of the boiler.


To avoid disputes it is essential to have every detail listed in the rental contract and both parties understand from the start who is responsible for what and the method of accounting to be used if applicable.
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Old 15.02.2017, 21:36
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Re: nebenkosten and others costs

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You have a case of amateur wannabe landlord, he'll be an easy prey to mieterverband, don't worry


The amateur landlords, in my experience, are the worst to deal with. Most are cheap, they refuse to use the services or advice of an expert and they waste other people's time and money. They will try to get away with whatever they think they can.


Sadly most of these landlords repeat their pattern of behaviour at every opportunity and these landlords often have a very high turnover in their properties.
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Old 15.02.2017, 21:52
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Re: nebenkosten and others costs

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The amateur landlords, in my experience, are the worst to deal with. Most are cheap, they refuse to use the services or advice of an expert and they waste other people's time and money. They will try to get away with whatever they think they can.


Sadly most of these landlords repeat their pattern of behaviour at every opportunity and these landlords often have a very high turnover in their properties.
There seem to be two extremes in my experience. There are the ones like you describe and at the opposite end of the spectrum there are those who go out of their way to be helpful and keep the tenants happy. There doesn't seem to be a middle ground and the former category seems to be more common than the latter.
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Old 15.02.2017, 22:31
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Re: nebenkosten and others costs

The guy is actually great, we meet often since we work within proximity, but this thing is just out of the blue...he's in fact a lawyer, so I am surprised that he tries this - I assume people don't usually bother and pay up or perhaps companies pay without looking at costs...whatever it is, money is a bitch.

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The amateur landlords, in my experience, are the worst to deal with. Most are cheap, they refuse to use the services or advice of an expert and they waste other people's time and money. They will try to get away with whatever they think they can.


Sadly most of these landlords repeat their pattern of behaviour at every opportunity and these landlords often have a very high turnover in their properties.
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Old 08.03.2017, 15:13
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Re: nebenkosten and others costs

Sorry to piggyback this thread a little, but I've been quite suprised by how long it takes for the annual "tally up" of our nebenkosten. We submit our meter readings end of November but then we do not receive the final bill / credit (fortunately for us it is usually a credit) until April / May. Is this usual?
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