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Old 21.03.2018, 06:38
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Massive increase in charges/fees of rented appartment

Hi,
We rent an apartment 40 minutes outside Lausanne (price in the city for a decent apartment were crazy and we don't enjoy living in urban sprawls) for 1400 CHF. (excluding charges/fees)

When we signed the rent contract the charges for heating, hot water, cold water and others were 110 CHF.

After the first year, in may 2017, they sent us a letter with the summary of the charges and asking us for almost 1000 CHF because they underestimated the cost/consume of hot water, heating, water and water depuration of our first 6 months (may 2016 to dec 2017). They also increased the charges from 110 to 190 CHF to avoid having the huge overcharge next year!

Now, after less than a year, another letter arrive asking for almost 2000 CHF for the same reason (for the months of 2017)! And now they have raised the charges from 190 to 320 CHF.


I understand that they may have underestimated the consume for the first year. But this is the second year, and our consumes have not increased. This massive increase and overcharges seem to come from prices increases for heating, water depuration and cold water and them miscalculating the monthly charges.

What should we do?! This continuous surprises of sudden overcharges and charges increases seem way too much for an apartment with only 2 people living in it! The rent basically went from 1560 CHF (with charges and parking) to now 1770 CHF! And suddenly asking us for 2000 CHF seems crazy to me! Especially after they already raised our charges and asked for 1000 CHF last year!
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Old 21.03.2018, 06:44
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Re: Massive increase in charges/fees of rented appartment

Ask to see the bills and have them show you why they want to increase that
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Old 21.03.2018, 06:51
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Re: Massive increase in charges/fees of rented appartment

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Ask to see the bills and have them show you why they want to increase that
Already have, as I said the price increased for heating, water depuration and cold water (while slightly decreasing for hot water) but ours consumes have mostly remained the same. The bulk of the overcharge is due to them miscalculating the mostly fees after they saw our consumptions for last year, and them advertising the apartment with only 110 CHF of charges at the beginning.

Given our consumption of last year they should have charged 277 CHF monthly to avoid the giant bill at the end of the year. (I did not noticed until now, it's their job.)
And from 277 CHF to 320 CHF is all price increases of the various utilities.
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Old 21.03.2018, 06:54
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Re: Massive increase in charges/fees of rented appartment

*monthly fees after they saw*
* our consumptions have mostly*
(shit, I hate when I cannot edit my posts :P, sorry!)
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Old 21.03.2018, 08:31
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Re: Massive increase in charges/fees of rented appartment

The devil is in the detail. They are supposed to send a breakdown of the costs. What has changed from each year to the next?

Get yourself some professional advice from either ALCOSA (I think that’s what they’re called in Romandie) or your legal protection insurance if you have one.

Nebenkosten as a rule of thumb should be somewhere between 10-20% of the rental value. Anything above that is highly supicious.

Edit: here is the link http://www.asloca.ch/vaud/lausanne/
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Old 21.03.2018, 09:50
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Re: Massive increase in charges/fees of rented appartment

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The devil is in the detail. They are supposed to send a breakdown of the costs. What has changed from each year to the next?

Get yourself some professional advice from either ALCOSA or your legal protection insurance if you have one.

Nebenkosten as a rule of thumb should be somewhere between 10-20% of the rental value. Anything above that is highly supicious.
http://www.asloca.ch/vaud/lausanne/
Hello HailAlistair, as mentioned by TLD, ASLOCA is the way to go. Apart from that perhaps consider...


* asking your neighbours if this has also been the case with them, and if so they may very well be as mystified, shocked and angry as you, this would allow you to...


* contact your régie as a group (politely) with your queries, and perhaps mention that depending on their reply you are considering contacting ASLOCA, approaching as a group will give more impetus to the matter.


In the case where the outcome proves that you do all indeed owe this amount, you should be able to negotiate a payment in instalments so as not to be out of pocket. Good luck!
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Old 21.03.2018, 10:39
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Re: Massive increase in charges/fees of rented appartment

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*monthly fees after they saw*
* our consumptions have mostly*
(shit, I hate when I cannot edit my posts :P, sorry!)
It could be you using way above average, or it could be them overcharging you.

Without the finer details it is impossible to tell if the billing is correct or something is amiss, for ex: Year the house was build, energy standard, source of heating energy (oil, gas, heat pump, contracting, remote heating), metering method, your consumption in kWh, price per kWh, target room temperature etc.

For example, if you aim for 24°C, take each two baths per day (not Japan style) such a high bill is not unexpected.

Last edited by aSwissInTheUS; 21.03.2018 at 12:05.
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Old 21.03.2018, 11:51
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Re: Massive increase in charges/fees of rented appartment

I believe that in big buildings the heating, electricity and so on are distributed and charged equally for everyone...
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Old 21.03.2018, 12:10
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Re: Massive increase in charges/fees of rented appartment

Yes, I agree with Rachel.
Ask all your neighbours.
And go to ASLOCA. If you are not already a member: first check whether any of your neighbours already is. Join anyway.
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Old 21.03.2018, 12:52
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Re: Massive increase in charges/fees of rented appartment

For 2016 Paid 110,- during 7 months.
Have to pay an extra 1.000,- (142.85 a month)
110,- gets raised with 80,- to 190,- While actual usage has been 252,85

For 2017 Paid 190,- a month.
Have to pay an extra 2000,- (166,67 a month).
190,- gets raised 130,- to 320,- While actual usage has been 356,67

Their calculation makes no sense, however you yourself also should have asked for a bigger monthly payment than the 190,- they calculated after what happened with the costs for 2016. And for some reason the new monthly payment for 2018 is 36,67 a month lower than the costs for 2017 so you might be in for another extra bill next year. As for 2017 the monthly payment should have gone at least to around 300,- based on the 2016 usage.

2017 is more expensive than 2016, but this is logical since you missed most of winter during 2016. Which is why setting the new amount to 190,- makes absolutely no sense at all (And 2016 in general was warmer than 2017)

What you want to do is:

1. Ask them for the utility bills and recalculate them to see if there is a mistake.
2. Ask somebody to review your energy consumption and home situation to see if it fits the bill.

Unless you can find an error in the calculation or can show that the readings/measurements are wrong there is nothing else to do than swallow this and pay up.

(and yes you said almost 1000,- and almost 2000,- but a franc more or less is not of importance)
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Old 21.03.2018, 13:01
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Re: Massive increase in charges/fees of rented appartment

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I believe that in big buildings the heating, electricity and so on are distributed and charged equally for everyone...
I've only seen this happening while there still are individual measurements. Who would rent an apartment where the utility bills are dictated by strangers who turn up the heating to 27 and have an open window during winter. For single rooms in family houses yeah sure but not in apartment complexes. (or maybe I just never have come across them)

Last edited by EdwinNL; 21.03.2018 at 13:24.
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Old 21.03.2018, 13:16
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Re: Massive increase in charges/fees of rented appartment

Where there are no individual meters per flat or per radiator, the landlord has to choose some other system of distributing the costs close-to-fairly across the tenants. Some distributions are done by number of rooms in each flat, so that a 5-room flat pays more than a 2-room flat. Others by square metres covered by each flat, so that a 1 room loft can pay as much as the 3-room flat just below it.
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Old 21.03.2018, 14:02
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Re: Massive increase in charges/fees of rented appartment

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Who would rent an apartment where the utility bills are dictated by strangers who turn up the heating to 27 and have an open window during winter.
Most people.

I've never seen it otherwise here.

And we even own our apartment.

It goes by floor space.

Tom
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Old 21.03.2018, 14:03
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Re: Massive increase in charges/fees of rented appartment

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I believe that in big buildings the heating, electricity and so on are distributed and charged equally for everyone...
Heating, yes, electricity, only what is used in the common areas.

And all divided by percentage of floor space.

Tom
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Old 21.03.2018, 15:05
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Re: Massive increase in charges/fees of rented appartment

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Most people.

I've never seen it otherwise here.

And we even own our apartment.

It goes by floor space.

Tom
We have it otherwise . (flow towards our floor heating and the taps is measured and central spaces have meters on the radiators)

Our utility bill is likely to be much more detailed than most others, example: even tho there are 7 Apartments in this block we for example pay 1% for the elevator since we live on ground floor and they estimate we only use it rarely to get one floor down to our storage), and second floor pays more than first floor since first floor is estimated to use the stairs more often. It is a long bill and lot's of calculations al together but it seems to be great and everybody likes it this way.
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Old 21.03.2018, 15:11
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Re: Massive increase in charges/fees of rented appartment

Also, the higher your floor, the more you pay for elevator usage.

Tom
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Old 21.03.2018, 16:23
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Re: Massive increase in charges/fees of rented appartment

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Ask to see the bills and have them show you why they want to increase that
Quote:
For 2016 Paid 110,- during 7 months.
Have to pay an extra 1.000,- (142.85 a month)
110,- gets raised with 80,- to 190,- While actual usage has been 252,85

For 2017 Paid 190,- a month.
Have to pay an extra 2000,- (166,67 a month).
190,- gets raised 130,- to 320,- While actual usage has been 356,67

Their calculation makes no sense, however you yourself also should have asked for a bigger monthly payment than the 190,- they calculated after what happened with the costs for 2016. And for some reason the new monthly payment for 2018 is 36,67 a month lower than the costs for 2017 so you might be in for another extra bill next year. As for 2017 the monthly payment should have gone at least to around 300,- based on the 2016 usage.

2017 is more expensive than 2016, but this is logical since you missed most of winter during 2016. Which is why setting the new amount to 190,- makes absolutely no sense at all (And 2016 in general was warmer than 2017)

What you want to do is:

1. Ask them for the utility bills and recalculate them to see if there is a mistake.
2. Ask somebody to review your energy consumption and home situation to see if it fits the bill.

Unless you can find an error in the calculation or can show that the readings/measurements are wrong there is nothing else to do than swallow this and pay up.

(and yes you said almost 1000,- and almost 2000,- but a franc more or less is not of importance)
Last year they sent the letter in may. So the increase in monthly payments started only since June. -> it did not have a big effect on the huge bill at the end of the year.

When I paid last year, I was under the impression that I was paying my first 12 months in the apartment, since we entered in may of the year before (2016), the letter arrived exactly afte a year. I think that they also were also under that impression, because their calculation makes perfect sense only if they thought we were paying for 12 months. An increase of 80 * 12 months = 960 CHF, which i roughly the surcharge we paid for last year.
I only discovered yesterday that what we paid last time was only the first 6.5 months. (may 15 to dec 31)
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Old 21.03.2018, 16:28
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Re: Massive increase in charges/fees of rented appartment

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I believe that in big buildings the heating, electricity and so on are distributed and charged equally for everyone...
Quote:
I've only seen this happening while there still are individual measurements. Who would rent an apartment where the utility bills are dictated by strangers who turn up the heating to 27 and have an open window during winter. For single rooms in family houses yeah sure but not in apartment complexes. (or maybe I just never have come across them)
Quote:
View Post
Where there are no individual meters per flat or per radiator, the landlord has to choose some other system of distributing the costs close-to-fairly across the tenants. Some distributions are done by number of rooms in each flat, so that a 5-room flat pays more than a 2-room flat. Others by square metres covered by each flat, so that a 1 room loft can pay as much as the 3-room flat just below it.
Quote:
View Post
Most people.

I've never seen it otherwise here.

And we even own our apartment.

It goes by floor space.

Tom
Quote:
View Post
Heating, yes, electricity, only what is used in the common areas.

And all divided by percentage of floor space.

Tom
Quote:
We have it otherwise . (flow towards our floor heating and the taps is measured and central spaces have meters on the radiators)

Our utility bill is likely to be much more detailed than most others, example: even tho there are 7 Apartments in this block we for example pay 1% for the elevator since we live on ground floor and they estimate we only use it rarely to get one floor down to our storage), and second floor pays more than first floor since first floor is estimated to use the stairs more often. It is a long bill and lot's of calculations al together but it seems to be great and everybody likes it this way.
Quote:
View Post
Also, the higher your floor, the more you pay for elevator usage.

Tom
There is no elevator and we have a counter/meter for the heating in the apartment. I don't know if the is a meter for hot water, cold water and depuration, though.
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Old 21.03.2018, 16:40
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Re: Massive increase in charges/fees of rented appartment

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There is no elevator and we have a counter/meter for the heating in the apartment. I don't know if the is a meter for hot water, cold water and depuration, though.
Depuration? You mean the sewer? Who wants to measure that?

It should be clear from the bill how hot and cold water is billed. Sewage is billed one part through the cold water and partly by a per building fee which is distributed over the flats.

But as said, without knowing how much you consumed, how the bill was split over the apartments etc. etc. it is impossible to tell if the bill is rather high or normal for your situation.

You may cover sensitive, personal information by paper strips, take a photo, and upload it for inspection.
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Old 21.03.2018, 16:44
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Re: Massive increase in charges/fees of rented appartment

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Last year they sent the letter in may. So the increase in monthly payments started only since June. -> it did not have a big effect on the huge bill at the end of the year.

When I paid last year, I was under the impression that I was paying my first 12 months in the apartment, since we entered in may of the year before (2016), the letter arrived exactly afte a year. I think that they also were also under that impression, because their calculation makes perfect sense only if they thought we were paying for 12 months. An increase of 80 * 12 months = 960 CHF, which i roughly the surcharge we paid for last year.
I only discovered yesterday that what we paid last time was only the first 6.5 months. (may 15 to dec 31)
The bill should include clearly for which period it is. If you do not check what you pay for then nobody ends up checking this, I'd advise you to step up a bit more on how you do your bookkeepings.

And sorry but paying for every period of a year starting from the data you entered a building with shared utility makes so little sense that I cannot imagine the landlord/agency making such mistake. I can only imagine that they forgot to see that you did not live the whole of 2016 in the building when raising the monthly amount, and you did not check any of this so nobody could fix this since nobody noticed.

In the end you pay for what you use, and if the bills are correct there is nothing you can do about this.
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