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Old 03.03.2011, 19:02
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Re: Urgent:Lease contract--change of mind

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Thank you All for your valuable feedback.

Details on the situation:

We filled in an application and signed it.

We then on the phone confirmed we will take the apartment.

The agent said OK she will draft the contract, then meet to sign it.

SO... it looks like a hybrid situation here...
Do you have a copy of the application form you filled out? The conditions for changing your mind would be on there. i.e. penalty. If it is large agency, the rental application might be on line and you can look it up there. Perhaps they used the HEV one and just put their logo on it (as many do).
You need to communicate your decision to the agency as soon as possible.
They have prepared a rental contract and they need to be informed that you will not be signing it. My advice when you call is not to give a reason unless you have a really good one. Apologize more than once. Also, don't expect the agency to consider you for any other apartments.
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  #22  
Old 03.03.2011, 19:05
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Re: Urgent:Lease contract--change of mind

Thank you.

In many other legal systems there is a (relatively) easy way to undo something, bearing the consequences. BUT it seems that in this country the consequences are disproportionately high compared to the wrongdoing.
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Old 03.03.2011, 19:10
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Re: Urgent:Lease contract--change of mind

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Not quite, if the agent said 'would you sign the lease ?' and the renter said yes, you are effectively agreeing to the terms of the lease. Hard to swallow, but true.
Agreed, however not having actually seen the lease, the prospective tenant would be bound to the minimum conditions as laid down by the law unless other conditions had been specifically agreed upon or spelled out in advertising (e.g. minimum lease, actual rental amount and charges, etc.) and not those that would have been in the unseen lease had it been eventually signed.

But as I said in my post above, this is generally not enforced as the burden of proof is too great and one ends up with a question of he said / she said.
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Old 03.03.2011, 19:11
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Re: Urgent:Lease contract--change of mind

OP, do you mind me asking why you arent interested in the flat anymore?

The reason I am asking this is that, having read your previous posts about intending to back out of your work contract etc, you seem to hit the panic button rather quickly. Not having a go at you but just an observation based on what you've written. Unless you have a really good reason, I'll stick to the flat as finding housing isnt that easy (especially in the bigger cities) to come by in Switzerland as it does in London. You also really dont need unnecessary hassle and stress of dealing with this in a big move. Just my 2 rappens.

If you are adamant about your decision, Herr Snoopy is spot-on with his post that I've quoted below. Do you remember reading any conditions on the application form? Most forms will have a clause saying that if you back out, there will be a charge of 50-200 CHF.

I'll give the agent a ring asap and apologise for any inconvenience but you wont want the flat any longer. Be prepared to pay any admin fees for drawing up the contract. Good luck.


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Upthehatters, you are correct that some verbal agreements are binding in Switzerland (not all) and that a rental agreement would indeed be binding if the parties agreed on the terms and conditions. There are however issues which make this virtually impossible to enforce and, as a consequence, rental agreements are virtually never enforced in this way. Generally, by submitting an application for an apartment, the prospective tenant agrees that should he/she be granted the apartment, accepts, a contract is issued, the prospective tenant pulls out then the prospective tenant is liable for an admin fee. No agency would go to court to get the lost rental income as it would mean disproportionate costs and to prove that the parties had in fact agreed to all the terms & conditions and not just those provided for by the law (of which there are many with regard to rentals). You are correct that an agency could indeed sue for lost earnings, but that this is simply not a practical option due to the work and costs involved.

In the present circumstances, I assume that the OP was looking for a practical response and not a lesson on Swiss law.
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Old 03.03.2011, 19:12
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Re: Urgent:Lease contract--change of mind

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Thank you.

In many other legal systems there is a (relatively) easy way to undo something, bearing the consequences. BUT it seems that in this country the consequences are disproportionately high compared to the wrongdoing.
It seems that way, but generally you can navigate around it with goodwill and being upfront and honest. There is a concept in Swiss law of what can be reasonably expected/tolerated ("Zumutbarkeit") and this applies to most things.
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Old 03.03.2011, 22:56
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Re: Urgent:Lease contract--change of mind

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By verbally agreeing to the contract, it was the same as signing the contract. They are liable for the loss clause in the contract. There is also the notice clause in the contract, which could equate to many 1000's.

I think you've made your point several times. It is up to the others now to accept it as true or otherwise.
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  #27  
Old 03.03.2011, 23:13
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Re: Urgent:Lease contract--change of mind

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Here we go again...another foreigner messing an agency around and then everyone wonders why agencies don't want to rent to foreigners.
There may well be a financial penalty for what the person did. That's it. No reason for someone, just because they're foreign, having to do something different (i.e. take an apartment they no longer want for whatever reason) just to please some other random foreigners who may or may not use the same agency.
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Old 03.03.2011, 23:13
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Re: Urgent:Lease contract--change of mind

We once actually had the opposite happen to us. We agreed to a contract verbally, but before it was issued, we were told that another family said they would move in a month earlier and that they had therefore changed their minds! I must admit, though, that this is rather the exception in Switzerland, where so-called "gentlemen's agreements" are considered binding and many do abide by these.
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Old 03.03.2011, 23:17
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Re: Urgent:Lease contract--change of mind

My application for a flat stated clearly that if I am successful in my application and subsequently back out, I would incur admin costs of 100 chf and that was just on the application form - so before the contract was signed.

Stewart
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Old 03.03.2011, 23:54
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Re: Urgent:Lease contract--change of mind

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Here we go again...another foreigner messing an agency around and then everyone wonders why agencies don't want to rent to foreigners.

You are liable to pay whatever penalty is stated on the application form for changing your mind after having said yes but before having signed the lease.

Next time think twice before saying yes.
I would say the liable part is correct but I don't think one should be too nice to these agencies if you change plans. For the most part, it's the agencies who are messing around so I beg to differ partially.
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Old 04.03.2011, 01:07
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Re: Urgent:Lease contract--change of mind

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I would say the liable part is correct but I don't think one should be too nice to these agencies if you change plans. For the most part, it's the agencies who are messing around so I beg to differ partially.
I guess it depends on the circumstances and in this case it certainly was the OP who was messing around. And if you mess people around what is so wrong with actually being nice about it???? (Or god forbid even apologetic).
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Old 04.03.2011, 17:58
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Re: Urgent:Lease contract--change of mind

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I guess it depends on the circumstances and in this case it certainly was the OP who was messing around. And if you mess people around what is so wrong with actually being nice about it???? (Or god forbid even apologetic).
Probably you are right on this one. Don't be confused as all I meant was that the agencies are not nice either when they mess around. So what goes around should come around.
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  #33  
Old 04.03.2011, 18:26
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Re: Urgent:Lease contract--change of mind

Distinguished Peoples of the EnglishForumLandia,

Many thanks for all your suggestions and comments, sour or sweet.

I am not some sort of illegal alien trying to commit some delict, it's just that life is full of surprises and sometimes major events flip you over from one second to the other.

Anyway, contract signed, so no worries about messing up those kind and courteous agents.

Have a great weekend Everyone!

(btw, how many of the replies came from real lawyers?)
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  #34  
Old 04.03.2011, 18:29
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Re: Urgent:Lease contract--change of mind

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(btw, how many of the replies came from real lawyers?)
It will cost you 350CHf to find out...
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Old 04.03.2011, 19:30
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Re: Urgent:Lease contract--change of mind

And 100 CHF if you decide not to progress.
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Old 04.03.2011, 20:03
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Re: Urgent:Lease contract--change of mind

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Here we go again...another foreigner messing an agency around and then everyone wonders why agencies don't want to rent to foreigners.

You are liable to pay whatever penalty is stated on the application form for changing your mind after having said yes but before having signed the lease.

Next time think twice before saying yes.
Mrs Doolittle, please.

Whilst I'm sure many, as I do, welcome the advise of experts such as yourself in such posts, I'd like to remind you that this is not a legal forum. I think everyone understands this.

This is a more forum where english speaking people, maybe with an association or interest in Switzerland, informally ask questions and try and help each other out.

I'm very happy that you and other experts can offer the kind of free and unbinding advice that you do. It makes EnglishForum a better place and I'm sure we're all grateful for this.

I'd simply and politely ask that next time you reply to a post that you curb your temper, desist from racist/prejudice remarks or simply refrain from involving yourself in any way whatsoever.

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This is how it works: You sign an application for a rental property, the terms and conditions are on there. It says very clearly that if after you are offered the property and you say yes and then a lease is prepared, after you have said yes, you are liable for a charge. It is an admin fee. It can be anywhere from 40 chf to a few hundred francs. That is all you are liable for, no lost rent. Indeed you have made yourself very unpopular with the rental agency but better to have changed one's mind before signing a lease rather than after. Once you have signed the lease, you are then legally obligated to the pay the rent.

Had you posted this answer in your first reply, I'm sure we'd all be feeling a little bit better than we do.

Nevertheless. Do have a nice weekend.
Harry
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Old 05.03.2011, 00:32
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Re: Urgent:Lease contract--change of mind

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Distinguished Peoples of the EnglishForumLandia,

Many thanks for all your suggestions and comments, sour or sweet.

I am not some sort of illegal alien trying to commit some delict, it's just that life is full of surprises and sometimes major events flip you over from one second to the other.

Anyway, contract signed, so no worries about messing up those kind and courteous agents.

Have a great weekend Everyone!

(btw, how many of the replies came from real lawyers?)
Glad you sorted something out. I am not a lawyer, but I have been here a long time and have been round the block. Every house rental is a new learning experience. EAch landlord has a new trick up his/her sleeve.

I can understand Mrs. D's point of view. You do see landlords agencies that run a mile when they see a foreigner because they figure we don't stick to the rules. That's not to say all Swiss do, but it's a matter of perception and in today's market that is an important factor. Given the scarcity of apartments we need all the help we can get and messing agents around doesn't help any of us. Yes, I know agents mess us arund all the time don't they. Unfortunately, they can afford to...
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Old 05.03.2011, 00:40
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Re: Urgent:Lease contract--change of mind

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Distinguished Peoples of the EnglishForumLandia,

Many thanks for all your suggestions and comments, sour or sweet.

I am not some sort of illegal alien trying to commit some delict, it's just that life is full of surprises and sometimes major events flip you over from one second to the other.

Anyway, contract signed, so no worries about messing up those kind and courteous agents.

Have a great weekend Everyone!

(btw, how many of the replies came from real lawyers?)
Hope you enjoy making friends in CH. Bonne chance.
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Old 05.03.2011, 02:04
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Re: Urgent:Lease contract--change of mind

I actually do!
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Old 13.03.2011, 04:05
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Re: Urgent:Lease contract--change of mind

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desist from racist/prejudice remarks
My comments were nothing of the sort and for you to imply that is simply not on! A foreigner is a person from a foreign country.
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