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Old 27.10.2010, 09:37
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Must a landlord justify heating costs?

Hi, all.

We received our yearly heating bill. We don't owe anything as the price is built into rent, and by right we should get money back if use as much as we're charged. We think the people from the rental company are taking us for a ride. It seems they're always trying to sneak in extra costs and they play dumb when they're called on it.

We have several units in our building and they distributed evenly, so we're told. The rental company receives the bills from the utilities then break it down for us per apartment.

Case in point. Our heating costs for this year and last:




From 2009 - 2010 our usage dropped by ~10%, however our costs almost doubled. From the picture above, the "Schlüssel" is the number of units used for the year. The unit "he" is "heizeinheit", but it does not have standard definition, and when we asked the company they said something along the lines of "that's how much you used", but couldn't define what it was we used. The cost per unit went from .0068 in 2009 to .013 in 2010, that's large increase, and to date we have not received any information that such an increase was going to happen.

It's my thought that the rental company should have some kind of transparency to these costs as to what they pay vs what we pay. They have told us we can contact the utilities company regarding the reading of the meter, but I do not know if they would disclose the unit cost.

I know Mietverband is an option, but we have a neighbor that joined because of these kind of dodgy bills we receive and she said the Mietverband has been more than useless. She's never been able to reach them. So now I come to you.

Cheers.
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Old 27.10.2010, 10:15
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Re: Must a landlord justify heating costs?

http://www.hev-schweiz.ch/vermieten-...heizoelpreise/

Here's a link from the Association of Home Owners (Hauseigentümer Verband) showing the price development of heating oil over the year 2010 and in the right-hand column you'll see the prices for 2009. To my very unschooled eye it appears that the oil prices have risen quite a bit this year as against last year. Maybe this is one of the reasons for your cost increase.
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Old 27.10.2010, 10:53
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Re: Must a landlord justify heating costs?

You should (Must) be able to inspect the original bills.

Without any monitoring systems in place, each appartment is allocated a share of the complete heating bill, based on the floor area of each appartment.

Thus if there were 5 appartments with 80 square meters (= 400 sq m) and 5 with 120 square meters (= 600 sq m) the total floor area would be 1,000 square meters.

Individually the bill for each appartment would be divided by 1000 and multiplied by either 600 or 400.

Now the hot water is usually apportioned by the number of people living in each appartment.

The communal elevator (Lift maintenance) charges, Cable TV, gardener, electricity, water etc. are divided equally between the appartments.

So after inspecting the bills, you either pay up or go to the Mieterverein / Mietverband.
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Old 27.10.2010, 10:55
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Re: Must a landlord justify heating costs?

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To my very unschooled eye it appears that the oil prices have risen quite a bit this year as against last year. Maybe this is one of the reasons for your cost increase.
Thanks. I've also found information to corroborate this. However, looking at this and averaging the costs over the whole year, the increase was ~25%. I still don't see how a 97% increase is justified. More to the point, it's not justified by the rental company. It's just a number, and when we ask they just tell us "it is what it is". That's really the point of my gripe. It may be more of a legal question.
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Old 27.10.2010, 11:02
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Re: Must a landlord justify heating costs?

As Ittigen already mentioned, you have a right to ask to inspect the original bills sent to the rental company and which form the basis for their bills to you
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Old 27.10.2010, 15:05
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Re: Must a landlord justify heating costs?

Art. 257b para. 2 Swiss Code of Obligations says: "The lessor must grant the renter inspection of the supporting documents (i.e. bills, receipts, and calculation)."

In your case it would be interesting to see how the "Heizeinheiten" are calculated or determined. If they are calculated on the basis of the square meters I am a bit surprised to see your part "shrink" in 2010 (unless they rented out additional appartments).

One question: You only paid CHF 114.55 for heating for the whole year? Or was this merely the top up at the end of the year in addition to the monthly Akonto-payments (which would have been how much?)?
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Old 27.10.2010, 15:34
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Re: Must a landlord justify heating costs?

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One question: You only paid CHF 114.55 for heating for the whole year? Or was this merely the top up at the end of the year in addition to the monthly Akonto-payments (which would have been how much?)?
No, that's the delta. However, we also live in a Minergie (energy efficient) house, and comparing our total costs to what I've seen posted here and from friends, Minergie makes a big difference.
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Old 27.10.2010, 23:13
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Re: Must a landlord justify heating costs?

Assuming that your base heating costs are CHF 1000 to which the delta is added. You will have paid
in 2009 = CHF 1064 = 100%
in 2010 = CHF 1145 = 107.6%

So (unless I made a mistake in calculating) your heating costs increased only 7.6% and not 97%...
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Old 28.10.2010, 00:37
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Re: Must a landlord justify heating costs?

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I know Mietverband is an option, but we have a neighbor that joined because of these kind of dodgy bills we receive and she said the Mietverband has been more than useless. She's never been able to reach them. So now I come to you.
Cheers.
That is the first case I ever heard of the Mv not giving brilliant value for money service and, frankly, I don't believe it.
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Old 28.10.2010, 11:23
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Re: Must a landlord justify heating costs?

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Assuming that your base heating costs are CHF 1000 to which the delta is added. You will have paid
in 2009 = CHF 1064 = 100%
in 2010 = CHF 1145 = 107.6%

So (unless I made a mistake in calculating) your heating costs increased only 7.6% and not 97%...
There's some numerical chicanery later in that invoice, but I'm speaking about the cost per unit (he):

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The cost per unit went from .0068 in 2009 to .013 in 2010, that's large increase
which should be irrespective of the base heizkosten. There's also the point of how the units used per apartment are computed. There's no information on they derive their numbers, which I think should be required.

Quote:
That is the first case I ever heard of the Mv not giving brilliant value for money service and, frankly, I don't believe it.
That's good feedback, thanks. After reading Castro's post on the deposit deductions I mentioned to wifey we should join. This was her rebuttal. Maybe it's the Kanton Aargau MV. Or our neighbor just has crap luck.
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Old 24.11.2010, 20:14
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Re: Must a landlord justify heating costs?

[Just went through this whole exercise with the MV. The whole thing was a bid dodgy but it appeared to make at least some sense in terms of the 'Schlussel', oil tables (which MV gave me a copy of as well) and so on. Since the main item was heating oil, I accepted and will have to pay. It obviously spoils my week and more but I finally let go.

The bills were sent for the last 3 years 2006-2009 and it seems they can go back (what a weird system). The bill came in 12 months after moving out and this is also apparently legal (weirder but Mica confirmed that in another post).

So I think for everyone, the best is to at least run it by the MV before paying up.
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