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Old 13.01.2011, 10:47
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Land lord not returning my deposit

Hi,

I had rented an apartment in Zurich city for a period of 6 months. It was sublet to me. I vacated the apartment at the end of December 2010 and had to leave Switzerland rather quickly due to personal reasons. I had paid a deposit to the person who sublet it to me. Unfortunately, I had transferred the amount directly to the landlord's (the person who sublet it to me) account.
Now this person is not returning my deposit. He confirmed on phone that the apartment is in the same state that he had given it to me. After that he is not responding to my emails, not answering my calls or text messages. Since I am not in Switzerland, I am not in a position to visit him. I know I made a mistake by not putting the money in escrow and I feel so stupid.

I have the original contract in which he has mentioned that he is giving me the apartment for rent.
My question - what is the best way to recover this money?

Thanks
Hari
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Old 13.01.2011, 10:58
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Re: Land lord not returning my deposit

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Hi,

I had rented an apartment in Zurich city for a period of 6 months. It was sublet to me. I vacated the apartment at the end of December 2010 and had to leave Switzerland rather quickly due to personal reasons. I had paid a deposit to the person who sublet it to me. Unfortunately, I had transferred the amount directly to the landlord's (the person who sublet it to me) account.
Now this person is not returning my deposit. He confirmed on phone that the apartment is in the same state that he had given it to me. After that he is not responding to my emails, not answering my calls or text messages. Since I am not in Switzerland, I am not in a position to visit him. I know I made a mistake by not putting the money in escrow and I feel so stupid.

I have the original contract in which he has mentioned that he is giving me the apartment for rent.
My question - what is the best way to recover this money?

Thanks
Hari
If you think your case is bullet proof, hire a CH solictor and leave it up to them. They will recover costs etc. If you have any doubt, write the money off, can you really afford the hassle of legal action in a foreign country ?
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Old 13.01.2011, 10:58
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Re: Land lord not returning my deposit

First you will need some sort of written confirmation that he agrees that the place was left in an acceptible condition by you.

If he confirmed this with email, then fine.

If the contract is signed by both of you, then he's backed against a wall.

You will probably need to go legal with this though.

Usually a bond goes into a separate account, but it's pretty disgraceful that this prick isn't returning your money.


I don't know what you should do, but for all it's worth..... punish him with letters (the Swiss love a good registered letter). and each time he (gender assumption) fails to reply, it only strengthens your argument.
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Old 13.01.2011, 11:00
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Re: Land lord not returning my deposit

Chalk it up to experience, sounds like you lost that money.

Did you fulfill the terms of the lease, ie you didn't leave beforehand ?

This subject has been dealt with on the forum, well before you joined in August 2010.
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Old 13.01.2011, 11:11
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Re: Land lord not returning my deposit

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....This subject has been dealt with on the forum, well before you joined in August 2010.
yes..

But also - it took about a year before we got our bond back. That is not unusual here. And we were paid about 1 to 3% "extra" due to interest accumulation. I am not sure if this would be the case if you were only there for 6 months. Check on the "Mieterverband" websites.
http://www.mieterverband.ch/
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Old 13.01.2011, 11:36
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Re: Land lord not returning my deposit

Nowadays the landlord must open an escrow account at a bank (Mieterschutzkonto) but before this law he could hold the money privately. Usually it is mentioned in the rental agreement. You should get minimal interest on the deposit.

Did you know he can legally keep the deposit for 12 months after you move out? During this time he will receive all the maintenance & heating bills etc. and will be able to calculate a final accurate bill for your share of the "Nebenkosten".

After the 12 months you can go to the debtors court "Betreibungsamt" in your canton, and accuse him of not returning your money. It costs about CHF 70 to start the proceedings which are added to the debt.
http://yellow.local.ch/en/q/?what=be...id=directories

I would suggest you tell him by registered letter that you expect to receive the deposit on this date, in your bank account. (Date = 12 months after you move out) And after this date you will instruct this Lawyer to recover the deposit. Give him the address of a lawyer convenient to you, this is an ordinary job for them. Tell him the ensuing legal fees will be added to the debt.

.
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Old 13.01.2011, 18:25
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Re: Land lord not returning my deposit

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I would suggest you tell him by registered letter that you expect to receive the deposit on this date, in your bank account. (Date = 12 months after you move out) And after this date you will instruct this Lawyer to recover the deposit. Give him the address of a lawyer convenient to you, this is an ordinary job for them. Tell him the ensuing legal fees will be added to the debt..
If you read the first post, you will see it was paid directly to the Landlord, no escrow account so whilst your theory holds good for an escrow account, it won't work for a direct paymewnt. All the landlord needs to say is that it was a "finders fee" or whatever, prove the contrary.

To get a lawyer to sort this out would costr far more than the deposit i imagine and even then there is still no guarantee of getting it back.

The OP made a critical mistake at the begining and unfortuantley for him the consequences are the loss of his deposit it would seem.

I commiserate with you, but it's a fact of life, the Swiss like to screw foreigners when they can !
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Old 13.01.2011, 20:17
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Re: Land lord not returning my deposit

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If you read the first post, you will see it was paid directly to the Landlord, no escrow account so whilst your theory holds good for an escrow account, it won't work for a direct paymewnt. All the landlord needs to say is that it was a "finders fee" or whatever, prove the contrary.
The rental agreement will state the amount of the deposit and the OP has his own bank statements proving he transfered the money to the landlord.
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Old 13.01.2011, 20:27
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Re: Land lord not returning my deposit

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If you read the first post, you will see it was paid directly to the Landlord, no escrow account so whilst your theory holds good for an escrow account, it won't work for a direct paymewnt. All the landlord needs to say is that it was a "finders fee" or whatever, prove the contrary. I didn't say that!

To get a lawyer to sort this out would costr far more than the deposit i imagine and even then there is still no guarantee of getting it back. Read my post, unlike in other countries in Switzerland legal fees are added to the claim!

The OP made a critical mistake at the begining and unfortuantley for him the consequences are the loss of his deposit it would seem. Agreed

I commiserate with you, but it's a fact of life, the Swiss like to screw foreigners when they can !
I know all that, which is why I wrote out the long answer with all the possibilities! If you read my post I didn't say the money is in an escrow, I said it should have been, so that later readers will get some benefit!

Please try a little harder and think a bit more deeper!

.
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Old 13.01.2011, 20:32
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Re: Land lord not returning my deposit

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The rental agreement will state the amount of the deposit and the OP has his own bank statements proving he transfered the money to the landlord.

What he has is a bank statment saying that Chf xxx was transfered to an account belonging to Mr. X. Proving the transfer is very easy, proving what the transfer was for, very much harder. It probably doesn't state what it's for, could be for anything....gambling debt maybe, prove the contrary which will be difficult especialy with banking secrecy laws here.

Is there a formal rental contract, it was a sublet i believe.
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Old 13.01.2011, 20:43
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Re: Land lord not returning my deposit

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Hi,

I had rented an apartment in Zurich city for a period of 6 months. It was sublet to me. I vacated the apartment at the end of December 2010 and had to leave Switzerland rather quickly due to personal reasons. I had paid a deposit to the person who sublet it to me. Unfortunately, I had transferred the amount directly to the landlord's (the person who sublet it to me) account.
Now this person is not returning my deposit. He confirmed on phone that the apartment is in the same state that he had given it to me. After that he is not responding to my emails, not answering my calls or text messages. Since I am not in Switzerland, I am not in a position to visit him. I know I made a mistake by not putting the money in escrow and I feel so stupid.

I have the original contract in which he has mentioned that he is giving me the apartment for rent.
My question - what is the best way to recover this money?

Thanks
Hari
First of all, how much money are we talking about? Do have a copy of the bank transaction for the money(deposit) you put into his account? Any kind of receipt? As you have a sublet contract/agreement, do you have the inspection report for when you gave back the apartment?

The landlord is obligated by law to place this deposit into an bank account.
http://www.admin.ch/ch/e/rs/220/a257e.html

Sometimes due to time constraints, the money is not put into such an account immediately, but it should have been done.

If you have left Switzerland, and in case you do not have a bank account here any longer, how exactly is the landlord supposed to return the money to you???
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Old 13.01.2011, 21:26
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Re: Land lord not returning my deposit

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What he has is a bank statment saying that Chf xxx was transfered to an account belonging to Mr. X. Proving the transfer is very easy, proving what the transfer was for, very much harder. It probably doesn't state what it's for, could be for anything....gambling debt maybe, prove the contrary which will be difficult especialy with banking secrecy laws here.

Is there a formal rental contract, it was a sublet i believe.
I hope the OP added a 'reason for payment' when he transfered his deposit to the landlord's account.
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Old 13.01.2011, 21:40
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Re: Land lord not returning my deposit

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I know all that, which is why I wrote out the long answer with all the possibilities! If you read my post I didn't say the money is in an escrow, I said it should have been, so that later readers will get some benefit!

Please try a little harder and think a bit more deeper!

.
Didn't actualy refer or contest yout post Ittigen, i was refering to a post by Zymogen in fact.....

May i quote ? Please try a little harder and think a bit more deeper!
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Old 13.01.2011, 22:05
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Re: Land lord not returning my deposit

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I commiserate with you, but it's a fact of life, the Swiss like to screw foreigners when they can !
I didn't see it written anywhere and certainly not by the OP that the landlord was Swiss... I think that the thread can do without such gratuitous comments which are not constructive and which I find insulting.
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Old 13.01.2011, 22:07
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Re: Land lord not returning my deposit

thanks Snoopy
Yes I absolutely agree !
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Old 14.01.2011, 09:07
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Re: Land lord not returning my deposit

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I didn't see it written anywhere and certainly not by the OP that the landlord was Swiss... I think that the thread can do without such gratuitous comments which are not constructive and which I find insulting.
I sorry Snoopy, i jumped to conclusions here. By the way, i'm Swiss too, have been since 48 years.
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Old 14.01.2011, 10:28
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Re: Land lord not returning my deposit

Thanks a lot for all the replies...
Agreed, that it was my mistake and lesson learnt for life - escrow makes life simple.
The contract has been signed by the owner and I have the original with me.
I paid the deposit money via a bank transfer where I have mentioned "DEPOSIT AND 1 MONTH RENT " in the transaction text. I still have my UBS account open, have not closed it and the owner has my bank details to transfer it back.
I asked a friend in Zurich to try to get in touch with this person on phone. Unfortunately, this friend could not reach him, got his answering machine. Don't know if this is good or bad
I guess, the best option is to send registered posts (as you people have suggested) and then take the legal route. But I will not be able to do that till a year's time right?
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Old 14.01.2011, 10:31
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Re: Land lord not returning my deposit

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I sorry Snoopy, i jumped to conclusions here. By the way, i'm Swiss too, have been since 48 years.
Just to add my 2 cents... I don't think ethnicity or nationality has anything to do with the concept of "cheating". So, please don't expect to see info on the nationality / ethnicity of the landlord...
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Old 14.01.2011, 10:46
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Re: Land lord not returning my deposit

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Hi,

I had rented an apartment in Zurich city for a period of 6 months. It was sublet to me. I vacated the apartment at the end of December 2010 and had to leave Switzerland rather quickly due to personal reasons. I had paid a deposit to the person who sublet it to me. Unfortunately, I had transferred the amount directly to the landlord's (the person who sublet it to me) account.
Now this person is not returning my deposit. He confirmed on phone that the apartment is in the same state that he had given it to me. After that he is not responding to my emails, not answering my calls or text messages. Since I am not in Switzerland, I am not in a position to visit him. I know I made a mistake by not putting the money in escrow and I feel so stupid.

I have the original contract in which he has mentioned that he is giving me the apartment for rent.
My question - what is the best way to recover this money?

Thanks
Hari
Hang on, your left the end of Dec and this is 14th Jan, that is only 2 weeks and part of that was the xmas holiday's! So at most we are talking 9 working days! so hardly any cause for a drama, or intimation of dodgyness on the part of the landlord... How do you know he's not on vacation or in hospital or uncontactable for a number of reason?

I would have thought that an individual who has a contract drawn up for the sublet is hardly likely to try to stuff you up, and you don't know that the money hasn't been transferred into an escrow account do you. Before you start to get your knickers in a twist on this, how about waiting a reasonable time for the guy get back to you, but they can withhold your deposit for up to 12 months to ensure there are no outstanding bills as Ittigen pointed out, so a little patience may be rewarded, and going to a lawyer after 9 working days would be a waste of time.
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Old 14.01.2011, 12:21
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Re: Land lord not returning my deposit

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Hang on, your left the end of Dec and this is 14th Jan, that is only 2 weeks and part of that was the xmas holiday's! So at most we are talking 9 working days! so hardly any cause for a drama, or intimation of dodgyness on the part of the landlord... How do you know he's not on vacation or in hospital or uncontactable for a number of reason?

I would have thought that an individual who has a contract drawn up for the sublet is hardly likely to try to stuff you up, and you don't know that the money hasn't been transferred into an escrow account do you. Before you start to get your knickers in a twist on this, how about waiting a reasonable time for the guy get back to you, but they can withhold your deposit for up to 12 months to ensure there are no outstanding bills as Ittigen pointed out, so a little patience may be rewarded, and going to a lawyer after 9 working days would be a waste of time.
@Papa-Goose - I sincerely hope you are right, that the landlord is unable to respond. Just to set the facts straight, I vacated on the 13 of Dec, but paid the rent for the month of Dec. My contract was only till end of Dec. The landlord had agreed to pay back the deposit by 15th of Dec, then he postponed that to the 3rd of Jan. Technically, it is just 9 working days, but in reality it about a month now. This is what has me worried.
Last contact was on the 03 of Jan. When I try to call him now, the phone rings and then reaches his answering maching after a few rings. So he is definitely in a network-reachable location, but not answering (do not know if it is intentional or not).
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