My Landlord sucks, what can I do?

Hi all, long time lurker, first time poster.
I have issues with my Landlord/Verwaltung, which is a private bank, and I don’t know what are my rights. I’m asking you for help, fellow mustachians.

First bad episode happened when I got the flat. The flat was available from November 1st 2019. The public viewing happened on October 25th (yeah), and I applied the day after, but announcing my availability from December 1st. They accepted my application, but around November 5th they told me I had to sign a contract starting on mid November. I accepted but felt a bit bad.

I got the keys on November 16th but I moved in mid December because I already planned to have a half a month overlap between previous and new flat, and had to pay old rent until mid December. also planned the move and cleaning on December 11th and 12th.

I was also charged 50 Fr for nameplates for mailbox, entryphone, and front door. Not for the installation of them, just for the print. I had to install them myself. In the previous flat I paid 40 Fr and they installed them.

Second bad episode happened when I asked for rent reduction because of latest interest rate reduction.

On March 16th I sent them an email:

Hi DEMON,
The “Hypothekarischer Referenzzinssatz” (reference interest rate) has changed in March.
Does EVIL_VERWALTUNG lower rents automatically or should I send a paper letter?
Thank you

Demon’s reply

Hi YouGee
Thanks for your email.
You should send a letter as we do not lower the rent automatically.
Freundliche Grüsse
The DEMON

Me again:

Can I send the letter via email?

Demon:

No it has to arrive to us originally signed by all the tenants.

It was March 16th 2020, I had no printer at home. I had to go hunting for a place where to print a letter during a pandiemie. I printed the letter, sent to them, and their reply was:

Sorrry, we won’t lower your rent because it’s already low.

At this point I just classified them as evil and decided to be as little collaborative as I could.

Third episode happened 10 days ago: I’m already paying 300 Fr/month in Nebenkosten, which is a lot for our old building without many facilities. We just have the elevator. I received 600 Fr of extra nebenkosten for the period Mid November 2019 - End of March 2020. For 4.5 months. I don’t trust them and I’d like to know all the details. they just sent me a single pager with little details. I want to see their paid bills. It’s been a warm winter, and fossil fuels are at historical low price. how is it possible that we spent 150 Fr / Month more than the already high 300 Fr / month?

They also charged me 220 Fr for “Cable costs”. I have a contract with UPC Cablecom that include cable costs. I called DEMON and asked about this. She told me that I need to resolve this with UPC, because “UPC bills us, then we bill you. It’s UPC that is getting paid twice”.

I actually called UPC before having this issue, because I had a contract with cable costs in the previous flat and I moved the contract over here. I asked them back in December if there was anything I had to do and they told me “no, it’s all automatic! Your landlord should already know it”

I called UPC 10 days ago again and explained the situation. They told me they informed EVIL_VERWALTUNG on November 12th 2019, and EVIL_VERWALTUNG acknowledged the fact on January 30th 2020. They’re no more billing my landlord. UPC also told me to send my landlord a copy of my UPC contract.

I called back DEMON and she told me she’ll send an email to UPC and she’s waiting for me sending the UPC contract to her. But I hadn’t yet received a copy of the contract from UPC so… uff…

Anyway, 220 Fr in 4.5 months is almost 50 Fr/month for cable costs. Really? It used to be 37 on my previous flat… thieves!!

Last episode happened yesterday, and I’m so pissed off I couldn’t sleep well tonight.

I received another bill of 540 Fr for a repairing in the kitchen on January 27th 2020. 2 months and half after we got the flat. A month and half after we physically entered the flat. The kitchen sink had a problem and we contacted EVIL_VERWALTUNG to get it fixed. Yesterday, after 8 months, we got billed 540 Fr for that event. in the accompanying letter they attached a copy of our contract that says in German that it’s responsibility of the tenant to keep things working.

I hadn’t call them for this yet. If I call them I’ll with DEMON’s death on the line. I’ll tell her that she’s the most evil person I’ve ever met. Which is the most insulting thing I ever said to a person I never met.

What can I do? should I just pay and shut hope, limiting myself to hope that an Earthquake will swallow them and they return to hell like they deserve or there’s something smarter I can do? I’ve never experience such a repeatedly bad behavior from a single entity. This is my single worst experience with any individual or company in Switzerland. I didn’t sleep well tonight. I want to fight them.

Thank you for reading. Any help will be appreciated.

3 Likes

Let’s break down the problems:

  • Early contract start: They unfortunately have all the right to make you sign the contract earlier than it’s convienient for you. It would have been on you to say no I only want to start the rental in December.
  • Nebenkosten: You do have the right to see all the invoiced they paid and a detailed “Kostenaufschlüsselung” and with that you then can go to the Mieterverband to ask for consultation. However I used to rent an old apartment in Lucerne and also got additional invoices every year for heating and stuff but it still seems 600 CHF for just 4 month of rent is a bit over the top, they probably charged you for the whole previous 12 months and technically would need to send part of the invoice to the previous tenant.
  • Cable costs: They do have to reimburse you for the paid costs if your UPC contract clearly includes the “Anschlussgebühren”, but you have to provide the Contract with UPC (usually a monthly invoice should be enough too).
  • Rent Reduction: The original rental contract should indicate the applied “Hypothekar Referenzsatz” and if it’s higher than the one currently valid one, then you can threaten them to go to Mieterverband to get the rent reduction.
  • Kitchen issue: If you can prove that the appliance or issue was due to the age of the appliance they have to fully cover it (There are tables indicating what’s the maximum acceptable age before breakages are due to age, e.g. 15 years for a fridge). If it was due to inappropriate use then they can charge you.

As much as I hate to refer you to Mieterverband as a potential future landlord, I think it’s the right recommendation for you: mieterverband.ch they have a paid membership fee which gives you access to support whenever you’re in dispute with the landlord. Probably worthwhile in your case.

5 Likes

Go to Mieterverband, this is outrageous!!

Any repairing bills above 250.- have to be paid by the landlord. The law is totally clear on that. Plus they have to refund the UPC costs. And you deserve the rent reduction, doesn’t matter what they think. You’ll solve this too with Mieterverband.

I would srsly consider moving out btw.

4 Likes

As Cortana said, get out ASAP (I suppose you can get out after a year, without needing to find future tenants - check your contract).
You might have to go through the moving logistics pain again, but it will save you sleep and nerves and a couple of years of stress.

2 Likes

If you live in Zurich, good luck finding a new deal.

I am not sure about the rent reduction btw. It’s not only the Referenzsatz, but also the other multiplicator I forgot the name. That second one usually get higher and higher.

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The two other factors are inflation and increase in flat maintenance cost. Because there is no real inflation, it should still be a lower rent every time the rate goes down.

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You mean the «Landesindex der Konsumentenpreise»
Yes, you have to consider both in your calculations.

Try this calculator to see if you’d be eligible for a reduction.
https://www.mieterverband.ch/mv/mietrecht-beratung/ratgeber-mietrecht/unterlagen-tools/mietzinsrechner.html

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Thank you guys for all your answers.
As first step I’ll call The DEMON tomorrow. Today I’m really busy and to emotional.
Then I’ll go to Mieterverband.
I would like to avoid moving out. Moving in has been a long and stressful experience with kids. We love the flat and I think the rent amount is honest. I hope I’m not underestimating the impact of having to deal with these EVIL people.

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Yes, that’s it. I don’t see how they can calculate it with that calculator. I thought it was zoned and not the same for a whole gemeinde/city.

why hide the name of the landlord ? (or maybe it is Demon :slight_smile: )
it would help people to know if they move to Zurich how they treat people …

mieterverband (Asloca for me in the french part) really helped … after we started to answer with my previous landlord with Asloca, it was already easier …

Good point: my landlord name is Pienhardt & Lartner Private Bank (redacted a bit)
They’re both the Landlord and the Verwaltung.

DEMON is an employee I assume…

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If I remember correctly it should be different for each gemeinde, not zone based

I still don’t trust companies here in ZH. They might throw you out and get someone else.

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Which they only can do with a 3 month notice and a strong reason for throwing somebody out. Usually only self-use is an acceptable reason.

Not worth it to get annoyed about that. Sure, you could a brand new Victorinox Swiss Army Knife, have it engraved with a name on it in store and pay less than that. As for the installation, since you’re required to handle small repairs yourself anyways, it can reasonably be be expected that you can do it yourself.

You don’t. You didn’t have to. You can resort to a skill that’s been developed, cultivated, employed and taught by man for hundreds, if not thousands, of years:

Handwriting.

6 Likes

I once talked with a lawyer, who deals with these kinds of things and his opinion came down to this:

  1. Swiss renters have incredibly extensive rights. Landlords have to prove a lot of things beyond a reasonable doubt before you have to pay up.
  2. Landlords have the resources to scare you into accepting a lot of shit. Swiss renters accept a lot of shit because they’re fearful.

It doesn’t really matter, how protective the laws from point 1 are.
As long as point 2 holds, renters are getting f*****.
The Mieterverband tries to counteract the problem of point 2.

I’m not sure if you have to be a member for a certain amount of time before you can get the free/discounted services of the Mieterverband. Does anyone know?

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I don’t know how it is now but when I used their service (this was 15 years ago) I could profit from the first minute but I had to commit to a min. 3 years membership

A minor update in the right direction.

I called them pissed off by the 540 Fr. bill, and they told me at first that the faucet for kitchen sink is on my side of responsibilities, and I should have mentioned within 14 days if it had problems… but after I complained with more enthusiasm they called me back and offered to split the costs 50% because it happened just 2.5 months after I got the keys (but only 1.5 months after I moved in).

This is the original invoice. It was a guy who came to our place for I guess less than an hour according to my wife and fixed the faucet of kitchen sink that was leaking

Also, I was able to get a written confirmation by The DEMON that I won’t have to pay the 220 Fr. for Cable costs.

Everything happened via phone and something via email. I’m waiting new payslips and a letter of confirmation of what we agreed on. I don’t want to pay 50% of the kitchen repairs and then discover in 6 months that they’re going to ask me the money I didn’t pay because we verbally agreed on a different solution.

At the moment, I think I don’t want to invest the energy to keep fighting.

I was mentioning this fact to add material on this pile of shit. It’s a minor thing, but it pissed me off back then.

I didn’t think about that, you are right! I risked my life when I could have written my own letter :slight_smile:

I’ve never tried the Mieterverband, and I’m not going there at the moment. Are their services pricey? Any experience with that?

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Memebership typically costs you 100chf per year. A lot of their services are then free or greatly reduced. Typically you can get free advisory consultations, where they tell you what kind of letter you have to send in order to get rid of the problem.

Back when I lived in a shared flat this almost exact same thing happened to us aswell.
Pipes were clogged (likely because of a misconstruction of the pipes) and they tried to blame it on us. We told them we wouldn’t pay. They threatened us (and were godawfully rude over the phone) and we settled on paying 50%.
Looking back at it, we were definitely getting screwed by EVIL_VERWALTUNG. But it was really a strain psychologically and I also didn’t want to drag my flat mates through more.

You shouldn’t pay 50% of it, 0% would be correct. Insist on that.

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