Claiming a rent reduction


#1

Hi everyone,

I’m not sure how familiar everyone is with this, but you may be entitled to claim a reduction in rent from your landlord. Here is some more information about the why’s and how’s behind it.

You need to send a registered letter to your landlord by the end of the next cancellation period (e.g. the month stated in your contract when you can leave the apartment without finding a replacement tenant, usually March, June and September). For most people, myself included, this is June 30th.

The landlord has 30 days to reply. If they decline your request, they must state WHY and you can then challenge this if you choose.

Example and template letters (Page 2, green box) can be downloaded from the Mietverband website and you can read more information about the process.

Our rent reduction got accepted (to our amazement!) - over 900CHF saved on rent a year! :smiley: so it’s worth asking and giving it a try. Hope that helps someone


#2

My rent is tied to the swiss consumer price index, so apparently I’m out of luck. :frowning:


#3

Rents are tied to both reference rate and CPI, and the reduction due to reference rate should be much bigger than the correction for inflation. Raise an objection, ask your landlord to cough up details of his calculation and double check

Each 25bp drop in reference rate entitles you to a 2.91% reduction in net rent - Art. 13 VMWG

The landlord can offset this by indexing 40% of the rent by CPI - Art. 16 VMWG. This serves to cover the inflation on landlord’s own invested capital in the property. CPI has been going sideways in recent years, so this should be a fairly low increase

Additionally it’s common practice and tolerated by courts to raise the rent by 0.5-1% pauschal without proofs for “general costs increase” - increase in running and maintenance costs. Art. 12 VMWG.


#4

This is one topic I was very interested in since I read @_MP article on rent reduction but… but…

(first but… question)
I checked my contract and it does not specify the “Swiss reference mortgage rate” so I checked the historic data and found out I cold be entitled to a rent reduction.
Am I entitled to claim rent reduction even when my contract does not specify the “mortgage rate”??

(second but… question)
The rent I signed the contract with (in 2009) is way bellow today’s average rent in the area. To say the least, it’s 35% lower (because the area became more expensive) so I was tempted to send the letter and try to get the rent discount because of the “mortgage rate” has been lowered since 2009.

I guess the landlord is not entitled to kick us off the apartment because we ask for it, right? I mean, He would be pleased to let us go and rent the apartment for the higher price.


#5

Yes, reference rate that was in effect when you signed applies. The law is non dispositive as far as I know, so you can demand reduction regardless of what your contract says. Important only to observe notice period and minimum contract duration

Rent is not deemed abusive and won’t be lowered if it lies within the range of rents for existing contracts for similar apartments in the area (not whatever you see in the current ads, those are usually overpriced) The burden of proof however lies on the landlord and often prohibitively high. First dispute instance is Schlichtungsbehörde and is free of charge for the tenant, so no reason not to try it[quote=“Mr.HdLR, post:4, topic:343”]
guess the landlord is not entitled to kick us off the apartment because we ask for it, right? I mean, He would be pleased to let us go and rent the apartment for the higher price
[/quote]

He might hold a grudge for sure but kicking out a tenant for any reason beyond non payment is complicated


#6

I have no real world experience with this but as much as I remember from school the renting laws are waaaay scewed towards the renter. Kicking out a tenant for “no” reason is really hard and a lot of hassle, if you have a family it is even harder. I highly doubt a landlord would go through all this trouble just because a relatively normal thing, if he already hates you that may be another question but I assume not. He is however also entitled to increase the rent in some cases (which your case actually might qualify).

I do not know how good your German is but you might have a look at that https://www.mieterverband.ch/mv/mietrecht-beratung/ratgeber-mietrecht/top-themen.html sadly I have not found an English version


#7

I requested a rent reduction for the first time after being in the same apartment for 6 years and the managing agent said no.

I am a member of the mieterverband and they looked at our rental contract and the refusal letter and said we can go to a free arbitration to dispute this - the arbitration process also provides a free translator apparently. I have requested an arbitration date and will see what happens


#8

wow! keep us posted!


#9

Update:

I wrote to the Zürich Gemiende to request an arbitration meeting. I received an initial letter from them confirming that they would start the process and notify our landlord.

Two days later I got a letter from our landlord saying that they had re-checked our rent and would give us the full rent reduction. Our landlord then said if we were happy with this please could we cancel the arbitration process.

So a success. We got a 10% reduction in our rent just from writing two letters (three if you count the arbitration cancellation letter). Well worth the effort!


#10

Wow!! Congrats for that one!
well done!


#11

Ok guys, to keep you updated, I claimed the rent reduction to the landlord justifying with the typical letter. I claimed something close to 300 rent reduction according to the

I received a letter last Friday saying “they propose” a reduction of 100 (that’s about 8% of the rent)

We got 1200 reduction per year :slight_smile: I could answer that letter claiming for mor but… I’m ok with 1200…

cheers!


#12

I highly recommend doing this. I belong to ASLOCA and with their help (which did cost almost chf1200), I got a rent reduction of over three thousand a year. I’m still a little bitter. I live in Geneva where the vacancy rate is so low as to be non-existent for middle income/low income renters. When I moved here in 2003, there was no one to advise me (the relocation agent was in cahoots with the regie) that if the rent is raised by more than 10% with no substantial work being done, you have 30 days to contest this. They raised my rent by nearly 30% over the previous tenant and did nothing to improve the apartment. I also had a five year lease, indexed to the CPI.
I have found ASLOCA seems to be more committed to preserving the system rather than truly serving renters, but finally, this time around before the third renewal of my lease, I was able to get enough of a reduction that it was worth the effort.
The regies really don’t want to go to arbitration which is why they will accept any reasonable offer from the tenant. I really wanted to go to arbitration, but ASLOCA didn’t explain beforehand that if we countered the regie’s offer and they accepted the offer that arbitration would be cancelled.
Still, I am at least now paying less per month than when I moved in fifteen years ago.


#13

Rent raise by 10+% compared to previous tenant only gives you a right to initiate a hearing about it, but there’s no guarantee you’d win - if the landlord can prove that the rent is comparable to what other people are paying by giving a few examples, it’ll stay. Most landlord however compromise as the standard demanded by courts for such proof is too high.

So why don’t you? The formulas for rent adjustment are set in stone and based on well known macroeconomic parameters, there’s only some wiggle room for a “general costs increase” parameter which you can still try dispute and don’t have to accept landlord’s calculation. First dispute instance (Schlichtungsbehörde) is free of charge.