First rent appeal. Any experience reducing the rent this way?

I just found out about the 30 day period, after signing the rental agreement, in which you can appeal the height of your rent. Basically you can go to the local governmental arbitration agency and say that your landlord is earning too much with the rent you are paying. This can result in the rent almost being reduced in half, in some cases (2190.- to 1390.- in Geneva).

This is because landlords are only allowed to earn 2% more than the reference interest rate (I have no idea how to calculate this exactly, or how it works. If some one feels like explaining this with an example I would be delighted).

Any experiences with this. Good or bad? If an appeal can really result in such high reduction in costs I’m kind of surprised not many people are doing this. There must be a reason?

I read about this appeals process in the following German article

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I guess most people won’t sign a contract with a rent they are not willing to pay, and then go to war with their landlord right at the beginning. Doesn’t sound like a very reasonable thing to do.

Anyway, the example mentioned in the article sounds a bit strange to me. A 4.5 rooms flat for 1390 CHF at Lake Geneva sounds like a fairy tale. Even 2190 CHF sounds very reasonable, almost too good to be true. I checked at least 3 times if the article really was published on mieterverband.ch, but it seems it is. I’m confused to say the least :slight_smile:

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I will recommend to sign up with AsLoca (GENEVE - Quels sont les risques à contester son loyer initial ? - Asloca Genève) for 90chf and a lawyer will assess the viability of your request based on statistic they got.
We did negotiate with the landlord and without going to court and got what we wanted.

Well. If the rent really is too high and the landlord is earning more than legally allowed, I don’t really see how it’s not reasonable. The landlord is literally not allowed to earn more than a certain amount. There used to be government employees that made sure the earnings did not exceed the defined maximum. The onus of checking that the landlord does not earn to much has now been put on the renters. No reason to feel bad about asking for a fair rent.

The potential for saving money here, is just incredible. Saving 200.- per month already adds up to 2400.- more per year invested in your favorite ETF. And some people seem to save way more by appealing their rent. Seems like a no-brainer. Maybe I am just missing something.

But I do agree that the example is kind of mind blowing. Though I do believe the Mieterverband story, since they are a reputable source and I would be kind of surprised if those numbers were invented.

My experience with Asloca was that they checked and told me I could appeal. I asked how, and they sent me a PDF of scans of photocopies of photocopies of forms. They told me which one to fill out, how, and to send it to the “gérance”. And that when I get called to court, to call them if I wanted them to come help me at the hearing.

Overall, I felt really left alone with this. In the end I did not appeal.

My experience was totally different. So strange that you were not in contact with any lawyer. They actually had one ready to represent me at court before we settled.
Did you have to pay the 90chf registration fee ?

My experience was in Vaud, in Lausanne. Where was yours? Maybe the mileage varies depending on which “section” takes care of your file.

Maybe I needed too much handholding, but to be quite honest I did not dare to do it with the instructions given.

It was in Geneva but my case was maybe easier as it was a LDTR.

Certain categories of property (AFAIK single family houses and “luxury” properties) are exempt from rent limitations. That’s why so much development in recent years has focused on apartments categorized as “luxury.” But as your home doesn’t fall into those categories, you can claim the reduction, and it is totally in your interest to do so. That 1k saved each month will be 100s of thousands in savings and returns over the long term.

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Would you mind telling us by how much your rent was reduced? If you’re not comfortable saying real numbers you can also just give an approximate percentage. I have found it to be quite hard to find any data on how much the reduction could be.

Bullshit. This is only a part of the law, applies to newer buildings and moreover you got the meaning inverted - landlords are also allowed to earn (in Bruttorendite sense) 2% more than the reference interest rate for newer buildings.

RTFL Fedlex / Übersetzter Ertrag: Gerichte ZH

There is no “only” there. There are in fact a few other criteria to calculate the rent they are allowed to charge - the most important one being they are allowed to charge prevailing market rents. Are you paying a rent way above market to have any hope of your claim succeeding or what?

Not always. For a start at least in ZH, either the rent must have been massively (I think 10-15+%) increased as compared to what previous tenant paid OR there must be an active rental shortage in the canton (Leerziffer < 0.x% or something) to explain how you were forced to sign up for such abusive rent. If neither condition is satisfied your appeal will be immediately thrown out the window.

Then, you have to show exactly how the rent is abusive in the sense of the laws I linked to above. The “rent is above market” argument is an especially difficult one to use here - the standard of evidence demanded by courts in ZH is 5 examples of actual contracts (not just homegate ads) for apartments of similar location, size and condition. Typically, the party burdened with the proof will lose it.

Nope. it might be a small effect but the main reason luxury segment is just way more profitable, no matter whether selling or renting. it costs a shit ton of money today to build something from scratch, luxury finish is a relatively small additional cost in grand scheme and non-luxury developments are competing against old housing stock - guess who wins there w.r.t price, the most important criteria for non-luxury clients.

In my case, it was around 30% from 1900chf to 1400ch for 1 bedroom in Geneva Rive droite.

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If a property you buy or develop is legally classified as a luxury property, you are free to set the price in keeping with the market. When you own a non-luxury property, you have to follow price regulations, so your returns are limited “by law” if you will. That makes the category an important criteria to consider when investing in property. And like you said, the difference in investment is minimal.

And I’m saying that’s not what’s driving the trend towards luxury! Do you read?

The bar to be exempt from rent control on luxury grounds is really high anyway. And charging market rent is always allowed even under rent control.

so your returns are limited “by law” if you will

Even then, not with current buying prices the way they are today - you can charge Referenzzinssatz+2% based on your sky high buy price

I like to think I read, but in reality I probably skipread :rofl:. It’s an interesting topic, particularly with regards to how real estate markets will be effected by the current situation. But It probably belongs in a different forum. My point was just that whether or not you can claim a rent reduction depends on the kind of property you rent.

Thanks a lot for the clarification. Good links. Definitely helped me out in understanding the whole thing a bit more.

In Zürich the Leerstandsziffer is 0.17%, according to stadt-zuerich.ch. This is really low and should allow anyone to appeal their rent since the cutoff is 1.5% according to the original article I posted. Unless that has changed.

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Anyways this is a very dubious thing and I think such laws should not even exist, it’s a typical example of overregulation. I find it quite antisocial if someone signs a contract and with that agrees to pay a certain price for renting a flat, and then they go to court to get a cheaper price.

If I would be the landlord or owner of one of the big businesses in that industry, I would make sure such a tenant will be banned from ever getting a flat again CH-wide from my business.

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