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Old 21.03.2014, 10:19
Tinman63 Tinman63 is offline
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Lease contract with up to 18 months notice period!

I am sure you know that in Switzerland many different types of rental contracts are common. Sometimes, you can cancel the contract within three months as it is common all over Europe. But for some reason, the law allows home owners to rent a property giving the possibility to cancel the contract only to one single day in the year, for instance the 30th September, and this with 6 month to give notice.

This means that cancelling in April of one year makes you responsible to pay until September of the next year, so 18 months, unless you find yourself a new tenant who rents to the very same conditions as yourself.

In our case, the régie told us when signing the contract that this would never be a problem for us, as we said we would have to move out if a new assignment came up and then there would be the diplomatique clause which would enable us to leave the house giving notice of just ONE month! I am sure you know that the diplomatique clause is far more complicated.

But, as it was my decision to leave my previous job, we were told that this clause did even not apply. So although we gave notice in September, handed over the house with the keys in December and left the country, the régie wanted us to pay.

Two different lawyers recommended to take our stuff and our money, to leave and to never come back. True!

As you also know rents in Geneva are among the highest in Europe. We had rented a house in September 2011 for 5.500 CHF per month. Having to pay this sum for months as an add-on to the cost for the new housing can easily ruin a family. And we considered it most injust that we should pay although the régie lied to us before signing the 15 pages-French contract. We are Germans. As we handed over the keys and left, we had no chance to actively look for a new tenant from December onwards, we could not even check if the house remained empty and had to rely on what the régie told us. With renting prices going down we hadn’t found a tenant from September 2013 to mid December 2013. And now we were to make sure our home owner could still receive his high rent until September 2014!

Even in the case that my former company had tranferred us to a new assignment, it would not have been easy to get out of the contract. You still have to rent until one month after the date of change, an additional payment up to the amount of 3 rents can be asked if the house remains unrented.

Finally, we have been told that there was a new tenant from March 2014. 6 months of panic and worries are about to come to an end. All this could have been prevented!

So, please pay attention, and make sure that you NEVER sign such contracts but always ask for a contract where you can give a 3 month notice. These contracts do exist!
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