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Old 17.04.2018, 11:02
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Heating costs advice needed

Hello,

we just got our first yearly heating bill, and do not understand the way it is calculated.

we are renting a 100M2 apartment in Vaud, with our rent pay montly CHF 150 (CHF 1800 per year) towards the heating and hot water charges.

the heating is divided over all apartments and we now are asked to pay an extra CHF 2000 for the last year which makes our charges for heating and hot water about 4000 for the year and this seems so far from the costs taken from our rent?

we used to rent a smaller apartment and either had to pay around Chf200 more a year or even got a bit back so the current bill is not what we expected.

does anyone have any experience with this?

Thank you
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Old 17.04.2018, 11:05
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Re: Heating costs advice needed

Sounds pretty similar to what we pay.

Tom
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Old 17.04.2018, 11:10
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Re: Heating costs advice needed

4.000,- is indeed not a weird amount in Switzerland,

- Ask your landlord to help you understand the bill.
- Check if the calculation is done correctly.
- When ever moving again understand how this works from start.
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Old 17.04.2018, 12:06
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Re: Heating costs advice needed

Thanks for your response - we just had a very different experience in our previous apartment where we lived 5 years that was also rented hence the question - will check the calculations but at least it is good to know that the charges do not sound crazy
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Old 17.04.2018, 12:07
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Re: Heating costs advice needed

Thanks Tom
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Old 17.04.2018, 12:50
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Re: Heating costs advice needed

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4.000,- is indeed not a weird amount in Switzerland,

- Ask your landlord to help you understand the bill.
- Check if the calculation is done correctly.
- When ever moving again understand how this works from start.
I would entirely differ on the method you are using, especially in Swiss Romande.

My generously offered advice is to never commit the mistake of contacting the landlord in an "innocent/ignorant" way. Among numerous reasons, that can reinforce the fact that you are perceived as an ignorant foreigner and can lead to further abuses.

The only approach is, first to understand:
-Your contract (tenancy agreement), especially as what is indicated regarded the "charges" (utilities) one has to pay.
-The VD regulations on renting and the VD law regarding tenancy
-The actual bill(s) which, by law, has to be presented upon your request.


As for commenting on the actual bill, it's almost hilarious, sad or pathetic that the first reactions are always "it's right, it's wrong", especially not knowing all the details. Clearly, before to even comment, the method employed by your agency/landlord is a clear communication mistake (intentional?). They are receiving utilities bills related during the year and they should have know it will be far beyond the announced numbers. An informative approach would have helped reducing the shock and plannify your budget.

As for the bill, of course, it depends on the usage, nonetheless I find it high. Especially consider that it was set at 150chf/months and turns out to be 333chf/months. That's at the very least, suspicious.

There are important steps to understand and clarify here:
"https://translate.google.com/transla...ten&edit-text=

Pay attention to:
-Difference between forfait and acompte
-The procedure in case you disagree with a bill



Summary: I am sorry that you have a landlord who fails to respect you as a tenant and consider you as a ATM. You have rights and they are rather easy to be verified. The contract/utilities bills are fairly complex and it's usually at the advantage of owners who are in the position to have a go at the tenant's expenses. That is said, once you will understand your contract, the law and the bill, you will be in the position to communicate with your landlord.

PS: if you are lazy and not willing to actually understand and defend your rights, there's always ASLOCA. It will take a lot of time and the cost of an annual fee (60chf + 60chf for first actions + various costs). In my opinion it's something you can do alone, and if required to take further there is the free "commission de conciliation des bails a loyer" (https://www.vd.ch/themes/territoire/...-conciliation/).
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Old 17.04.2018, 13:27
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Re: Heating costs advice needed

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There are important steps to understand and clarify here:
"https://translate.google.com/transla...ten&edit-text=

Quote:
I pay a fixed price for my rental charges. Can my landlord claim the payment of a difference?
No. The lessor can not demand any payment for a missing part if it has set a flat rate too low while the actual costs turn out to be higher. The same rule applies in the opposite case: if the landlord collects too much money, the tenant can not demand a refund. Nevertheless, the gap can not be excessive: the owner must make his calculation on the basis of the costs of the last three years.
Wait what? I don't understand this part.

Say I have 100,- CHF as charges on the rental contract. Based on that paragraph, the landlord cannot ask for more than that at the end of the year if the price was too low and I cannot ask for a refund if the price was too high? Ie. in the OP's case, the landlord cannot ask for the extra 2000,- CHF?

I was under the assumption that you pay a fixed amount monthly, which then gets corrected at billing time (June?).
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Old 17.04.2018, 13:31
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Re: Heating costs advice needed

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I would entirely differ on the method you are using, especially in Swiss Romande.
I beg to differ.

And..

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I am sorry that you have a landlord who fails to respect you as a tenant and consider you as a ATM.
Is just nonsense since it is up to now based on absolutely nothing.
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Old 17.04.2018, 13:35
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Re: Heating costs advice needed

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Wait what? I don't understand this part.

Say I have 100,- CHF as charges on the rental contract. Based on that paragraph, the landlord cannot ask for more than that at the end of the year if the price was too low and I cannot ask for a refund if the price was too high? Ie. in the OP's case, the landlord cannot ask for the extra 2000,- CHF?

I was under the assumption that you pay a fixed amount monthly, which then gets corrected at billing time (June?).
Fixed price is fixed price.

Most people have no fixed price however, but they pay a monthly "deposit" which is just an estimation based on averages or previous usage, which then gets calculated and corrected after a year.

But what makes you think OP is paying a fixed price?
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Old 17.04.2018, 13:36
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Re: Heating costs advice needed

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Wait what? I don't understand this part.

Say I have 100,- CHF as charges on the rental contract. Based on that paragraph, the landlord cannot ask for more than that at the end of the year if the price was too low and I cannot ask for a refund if the price was too high? Ie. in the OP's case, the landlord cannot ask for the extra 2000,- CHF?

I was under the assumption that you pay a fixed amount monthly, which then gets corrected at billing time (June?).
It's in the wording described in the tenancy agreement (Contrat de Bail). If it's a forfait or accomptes (a "package" or "advanced payment").

Your assumption is right, only if it's clearly "accomptes". As for billing time it's not necessarily June.
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Old 17.04.2018, 13:38
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Re: Heating costs advice needed

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Wait what? I don't understand this part.

Say I have 100,- CHF as charges on the rental contract. Based on that paragraph, the landlord cannot ask for more than that at the end of the year if the price was too low and I cannot ask for a refund if the price was too high? Ie. in the OP's case, the landlord cannot ask for the extra 2000,- CHF?

I was under the assumption that you pay a fixed amount monthly, which then gets corrected at billing time (June?).
The 150.- per month is almost certainly not a "fixed amount". It's a contribution toward the annual charge, which is unknown at the beginning of the year.

This sort of "putting money aside" scheme to pay utility bills is absolutely standard for tenants in Switzerland. And be aware, the bills can keep coming for more than a year after your tenancy has finished, depending on how often the meters are read and how long it takes the landlord to work out who has to pay what.
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Old 17.04.2018, 13:40
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Re: Heating costs advice needed

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I beg to differ.

And..



Is just nonsense since it is up to now based on absolutely nothing.
Differ all your want with your alleged experience. I am living in Swiss Romande since almost 9 years, something you do not know or have. To me, all you have left is "begging".

As for the "absolutely nothing", let me beg to differ. The facts are that the owner is now asking 100% (DOUBLE) amount for the utilities charges. Funny, maybe having to budget extra 2000CHF is nothing for you, around here it can be a significant amount.

I see we are going to have a constructive debate as usual with you and me.
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Old 17.04.2018, 13:42
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Re: Heating costs advice needed

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But what makes you think OP is paying a fixed price?
Nobody knows that, only OP can check his tenancy agreement.
Which is why, I said "Pay attention to:
-Difference between forfait and acompte"
and that the OP has to verify.
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Old 17.04.2018, 13:44
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Re: Heating costs advice needed

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Fixed price is fixed price.

Most people have no fixed price however, but they pay a monthly "deposit" which is just an estimation based on averages or previous usage, which then gets calculated and corrected after a year.
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The 150.- per month is almost certainly not a "fixed amount". It's a contribution toward the annual charge, which is unknown at teh beginning of the year.

This sort of "putting money aside" scheme to pay utility bills is absolutely standard for tenants in Switzerland.

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It's in the wording described in the tenancy agreement (Contrat de Bail). If it's a forfait or accomptes (a "package" or "advanced payment").

Your assumption is right, only if it's clearly "accomptes". As for billing time it's not necessarily June.
Oh so there's "advanced payment" and "fixed amount" that are different...

If so, why would anyone want to have a contract with "fixed amount"? I guess for shorter stay maybe?
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Old 17.04.2018, 13:46
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Re: Heating costs advice needed

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And be aware, the bills can keep coming for more than a year after your tenancy has finished, depending on how often the meters are read and how long it takes the landlord to work out who has to pay what.
It's up to 5 years for the landlord (they can send you a bill for utilities up to that time, in case they made mistakes or simply did not send you the bill regularly).
http://www.asloca.ch/geneve/2017/09/...-de-chauffage/

The tenant can contest a bill within 30 days after reception, after that it's considered accepted.

Source:
http://www.asloca.ch/faq/#toggle-id-8
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Old 17.04.2018, 13:49
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Re: Heating costs advice needed

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Differ all your want with your alleged experience. I am living in Swiss Romande since almost 9 years, something you do not know or have. To me, all you have left is "begging".

As for the "absolutely nothing", let me beg to differ. The facts are that the owner is now asking 100% (DOUBLE) amount for the utilities charges. Funny, maybe having to budget extra 2000CHF is nothing for you, around here it can be a significant amount.

I see we are going to have a constructive debate as usual with you and me.
Nothing constructive about your input so far, so nope we are not having such debate.

You might have lived in Romande, I don't, my experience however is that I have rented for years myself, but also that I have rented out apartments myself. And I and other people I know who did/do this find it completely normal to explain something to a renter when it comes to costs and such. You on the other hand seem to consider every landlord to be some evil boogeyman with whom contact should be avoided as much as possible.

And hey, perhaps he is asking so much because OP has used so much, which makes it all but the landlords fault, but you immediately jump to conclusions and as often with you the landlord is a money hungering monster.

"The question: Hello Landlord, the costs for heating are much higher than I anticipated, off course I will pay for what I use since that is fair and my obligation, but could you in short explain to me how these costs are exactly calculated so I understand this better and perhaps this helps me look on how to reduce my usage?
Is in my world a normal question. In your world it is a sign of weakness toward your monster who then will use this knowledge to commit more fraude to be able to squeeze all money out of you...
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Old 17.04.2018, 13:49
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Re: Heating costs advice needed

CHF4,000 a year seems steep for a 100m2 flat. Perhaps one of the other tenants has a grow-op in their cave.

I’d call ASLOCA for advice.
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Old 17.04.2018, 13:52
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Re: Heating costs advice needed

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Oh so there's "advanced payment" and "fixed amount" that are different...

If so, why would anyone want to have a contract with "fixed amount"? I guess for shorter stay maybe?
Fixed amount is mostly for older buildings and/or rooms, where the landlord did choose not to invest in installing separated meters for every unit, but instead makes an estimate and charges such. He could win some, he could loose some, but he already saved thousands by not changing the installation.

And for the people who say, but what if I put the heating up to 35 and have windows open all winter, and let the shower run for 3 hours a day since I like the sound. This is considered disabuse and the landlord when finding out can act against it.
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Old 17.04.2018, 13:52
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Re: Heating costs advice needed

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Oh so there's "advanced payment" and "fixed amount" that are different...

If so, why would anyone want to have a contract with "fixed amount"? I guess for shorter stay maybe?
Why?

-To avoid the sudden surprise of having to pocket 2000chf or more-

-To avoid being dependant on idiots who can't manage their property and communication and suddenly have to pay extra XXX thousands francs

-To be able to budget your rent and associated costs instead of having to deal with a suddent 100% increase on the later.

-To avoid giving your "credit card" to agency/landlord saying "go ahead, spend all you want, I will have to pay for it legally anyway".

-To avoid being dependant on others' expenses (think the friendly neighboor using/wasting plenty of water simply because pigeon n°1 will pay a share of it?). Am I exagerating? Is it not in this very forum that someone had a water leak and had to pay thousands? What if the leak is called "the neighboor"?

-To have a clear agreement on the cost of renting the property

Shall I continue?
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Old 17.04.2018, 13:57
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Re: Heating costs advice needed

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Why?

-To avoid the sudden surprise of having to pocket 2000chf or more-

-To avoid being dependant on idiots who can't manage their property and communication and suddenly have to pay extra XXX thousands francs

-To be able to budget your rent and associated costs instead of having to deal with a suddent 100% increase on the later.

-To avoid giving your "credit card" to agency/landlord saying "go ahead, spend all you want, I will have to pay for it legally anyway".

-To avoid being dependant on others' expenses (think the friendly neighboor using/wasting plenty of water simply because pigeon n°1 will pay a share of it?). Am I exagerating? Is it not in this very forum that someone had a water leak and had to pay thousands? What if the leak is called "the neighboor"?

-To have a clear agreement on the cost of renting the property

Shall I continue?
None of those apply.

If the landlord is "offering" a fixed price for utilities without a good reason such as the absence of individual meters, s/he is obviously going to cover his/her backside and make sure that the amount is well in excess of the upper range of expected usage. All landlords are money-grubbing monsters, after all.

I'd never select a fixed price for utilities over being billed for usage, given the choice.
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