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Old 14.10.2010, 16:35
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Swiss law on Extra Nebenkosten Scam

I pay 1800 CHF per month + 200 Nebenkosten for my flat in Zurich. I just got a bill from my landlord for an extra 2000 CHF for Extra heating costs for the year that were not estimated correctly in the normal nebenkosten.
Furthermore they did the same thing last year when I also paid an extra 2000 CHF at the end of the year, so this time around Im not going to give in as its obviously a scam.
Does anybody know if there is a Swiss law which controls this? I vaguely remember seeing something on this forum before about a maximum amount of 600 CHF per year being allowed by Swiss Law.
Any info would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 14.10.2010, 16:47
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Re: Swiss law on Extra Nebenkosten Scam

I do not know how big your apartment is (or how energy efficient, how much you consume compared to the average and many more factors..), but 200 Nebenkosten on an 1800 CHF rent seems low to me: I pay around 400 for a 2000 CHF apartment... so the 2k extra per year would be pretty exactly in line with my expenses...
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Old 14.10.2010, 16:56
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Re: Swiss law on Extra Nebenkosten Scam

In my last apartment, there was an additional cost for 2 years. Then the agent sent out a letter that the Nebenkosten would be increassed so there would be no additional cost the following year.

You should get a complete list of all the costs. I don't think there is a scam.

Ask the agent if they are going to increase the monthly amount.
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Old 14.10.2010, 16:57
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Re: Swiss law on Extra Nebenkosten Scam

I'm pretty sure there was something in the Beobachter which I dug up when this came up last time. However, I don't think it was a law - I think it was one specific case where someone contested the sum and was held to be in the right - and the extra payment demanded was considered too high but I cannot remember the figures. It certainly not really fair, but it makes the flat sound cheaper and thus more desirable.
I'll see if I can find the post...
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Old 14.10.2010, 17:23
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Re: Swiss law on Extra Nebenkosten Scam

I've been digging and all I could find was this:
Bundesgerichtsentscheid zu horrenden Nachzahlungen

BGE 4C.177/2005 vom 31.08.2005: Bei Akontozahlungen darf der Mieter nicht davon ausgehen, dass es sich dabei um den ungefähren Betrag der effektiv entstandenen Nebenkosten handelt. Nachzahlungen sind auch dann geschuldet, wenn sie höher ausfallen als 20% der bereits geleisteteten Akontozahlungen.

The tenant cannot assume that the monthly payments are the approximate amount of the actual costs. The additional payments are owed even when they are more than 20% more than the sun already paid.

Their suggestion is this:
Um die jährlich wiederkehrenden, horrenden Nachforderungen zu vermeiden, sollte der Vermieter die Akontobeiträge an die effektiven Kosten anpassen - und zwar über eine Mietzinserhöhung. Dabei handelt es jedoch nicht um eine Mietzinserhöhung im eigentlich Sinn, sondern die gleichmässige Verteilung der Nebenkosten auf das ganze Jahr.

To avoid these large sums having to be paid, the landlord should increase the rental dues - not in the sense of a rise in the rent itself but to spread these charges over the whole year.

But if he decides not to, this isn't going to be any comfort to the tenant. Sorry, no help.
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Old 14.10.2010, 17:25
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Re: Swiss law on Extra Nebenkosten Scam

We got the same thing, although not as much... However we also received the breakdown of all of the costs for the entire building. Did they at least provide you with that ?
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Old 14.10.2010, 17:28
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Re: Swiss law on Extra Nebenkosten Scam

Try living in a haus where you get charged a portion of the elevator service and you live on the ground floor. And before anybody shouts about the lift going down into the basement garage, ours didn't have a garage underneath the building.

And don't get me started on the thousands of Francs for garden services when they only cut the grass 6 times last year. I counted. Only 6 times.
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Old 14.10.2010, 17:35
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Re: Swiss law on Extra Nebenkosten Scam

Get the breakdown / invoices, and if you are still in doubt, bring your tenancy agreement to the nearest Mieterverband ( MV ) to discuss if you are being overcharged.

Previous thread below is worth reading to understand more about the NBK bills.

Nebenkosten [extra rental costs] bill includes lots of extras. Please help!
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Old 14.10.2010, 17:38
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Re: Swiss law on Extra Nebenkosten Scam

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And don't get me started on the thousands of Francs for garden services when they only cut the grass 6 times last year. I counted. Only 6 times.
If I ever loose my job I'm going into the grass cutting business. We had the grass cut at our apartments ONCE by a "professional" gardening service, the bill came to a whopping 1,600.- chf. !!! We now pay one of our neighbors who does it regularly (about 10 times per year) for around 4,500.- chf.

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I pay 1800 CHF per month + 200 Nebenkosten for my flat in Zurich. I just got a bill from my landlord for an extra 2000 CHF for Extra heating costs for the year that were not estimated correctly in the normal nebenkosten.
Nebenkonstens cover more than just heating so the 200 sounds incredibly low. I suspect your landlord has lowballed the estimated energy needs for your building which then gets you hit with a large "adjustment" payment at the end of the year.
Energy costs did skyrocket a couple of years ago and many property owners readjusted their nebenkostens the following year, unfortunately for you it doesn't sound as though your landlord did the same.

Last edited by vwild1; 14.10.2010 at 17:52.
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Old 14.10.2010, 19:04
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Re: Swiss law on Extra Nebenkosten Scam

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If I ever loose my job I'm going into the grass cutting business. We had the grass cut at our apartments ONCE by a "professional" gardening service, the bill came to a whopping 1,600.- chf. !!! We now pay one of our neighbors who does it regularly (about 10 times per year) for around 4,500.- chf.


Nebenkonstens cover more than just heating so the 200 sounds incredibly low. I suspect your landlord has lowballed the estimated energy needs for your building which then gets you hit with a large "adjustment" payment at the end of the year.
Energy costs did skyrocket a couple of years ago and many property owners readjusted their nebenkostens the following year, unfortunately for you it doesn't sound as though your landlord did the same.
There have been a few people who have posted on this. Like mentioned above, it has to prorated/broken down in detail by apartment and area.
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Old 18.10.2010, 09:06
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Re: Swiss law on Extra Nebenkosten Scam

I can sympathise with the nebenksoten shock - we pay 150 a month for charges, then got a bill in april this year for 3000CHF! Extra charges for custodian, heating, water, lift maintenance, ant extermination, etc etc..Quite a shock, we had the Ticinese mieterverband check it out, got receipts etc, but no loophole it seems and will likely have to pay, and thats just for 2008, we are still waiting for 2009!

On a seperate note, we are having sporadic problems with heating and hot water, 8 apartments in building and about 6 different landlords and it seems they cannot agree to permanently fix the furnace, and this has been going on since we moved in in 2007! And still we get charged for heating maintenance! aaargh!
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Old 18.10.2010, 13:48
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Re: Swiss law on Extra Nebenkosten Scam

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I can sympathise with the nebenksoten shock - we pay 150 a month for charges, then got a bill in april this year for 3000CHF! Extra charges for custodian, heating, water, lift maintenance, ant extermination, etc etc..Quite a shock!
So in your appartment you can expect to be paying around Fr 400,-- per month. I hope you are saving about Fr 250,-- per month towards the next bill.

I am afraid this is normal in Switzerland, you are renting the flat and you are obliged to pay your share, while the landlord spends money as he needs to, without bothering to get the lowest quote.
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Old 18.10.2010, 13:53
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Re: Swiss law on Extra Nebenkosten Scam

You could also ask the Mieterverband (tenants' association) for advice. They provide (paid-for) legal support even to non-members.
http://www.mieterverband.ch/
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Old 18.10.2010, 18:28
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Re: Swiss law on Extra Nebenkosten Scam

Thanks everybody for useful replies.
Ill take it with the http://www.mieterverband.ch/ as suggested.
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Old 01.11.2010, 16:54
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Re: Swiss law on Extra Nebenkosten Scam

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Thanks everybody for useful replies.
Ill take it with the http://www.mieterverband.ch/ as suggested.
We just got hit with a huge bill for Heizkosten Abrechnung when we moved out last year. The Verwaltung refuses to send even a copy of the invoices but says we can view it in his offices. MV is working on it and will update.
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Old 24.11.2010, 19:21
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Re: Swiss law on Extra Nebenkosten Scam

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I do not know how big your apartment is (or how energy efficient, how much you consume compared to the average and many more factors..), but 200 Nebenkosten on an 1800 CHF rent seems low to me: I pay around 400 for a 2000 CHF apartment... so the 2k extra per year would be pretty exactly in line with my expenses...
400 is way too high..
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Old 25.11.2010, 12:17
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Re: Swiss law on Extra Nebenkosten Scam

I'm missing the scam part in this thread?
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Old 25.11.2010, 14:05
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Re: Swiss law on Extra Nebenkosten Scam

Danny just for your information. They don't have to send copies, all the have to do is give you access to the invoices which really means that you will be allowed to go there and look a the invoices there. So all seems "fair" even though you might not like it. I am not saying it think it's great way to operate I am just stating the legal situation.

In many apartments you can regulate the heating yourself. Turn it down if you think it's too hot. If you can't and you think it's too hot, tell the landlord to turn it down. You can try to cut your costs. Turn the heating down before you leave for a weekend or for vacations. Do not leave the windows open for too long, buy "water safers" for the water tabs and always safe some money for the Nebenkosten bill because the chances that you will be given money is very low, mostly you have to pay.
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Old 25.11.2010, 14:56
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Re: Swiss law on Extra Nebenkosten Scam

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Danny just for your information. They don't have to send copies, all the have to do is give you access to the invoices which really means that you will be allowed to go there and look a the invoices there. So all seems "fair" even though you might not like it. I am not saying it think it's great way to operate I am just stating the legal situation.

because the chances that you will be given money is very low, mostly you have to pay.

Irish,

I know the system and it is just plain weird to be honest, not that I was expecting anything different in CH. The guy sent the bills for the last 3 years of heating costs and this is 12 months after moving out. The MV said it is 'technically' allowed. It's the system which allows nonsense like this. Never seen something like this. If it is not done on time every year, they should not be allowed to send something 3 years later. This is a special landlord case and it probably does not happen to anyone but it does happen. Why ? It's the system that allows this. People take advantage of systems. It's an institutional problem, among many that CH has.

But I really appreciate your input and clarification.
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Old 23.01.2011, 22:04
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Re: Swiss law on Extra Nebenkosten Scam

My rent includes CHF 100 month for NK, but reality is that costs have always been more, especially with higher fuel bills.

I also typically pay another 3k/year these past years.

Tom
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