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Old 26.07.2011, 20:09
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Trouble canceling rental application

Hi,

Round two weeks ago, we visited an apartment at a Wednesday night and liked it. The landlord was not present so we talked to the present tenant. We filled an application form on the spot and gave it to the tenant along with usual documents like copies of our resident permits, work contract, etc. On the way back home we realized that we overlooked some of the details (like the way that the living room was only connected to the rest of the flat through the kitchen, etc.) and decided that for the price, it was not our ideal apartment. As soon as we got back home (maybe less than a hour after signing the application form) my wife called the tenant back and told him that we have changed our mind. He didn't take it well. He claimed that he has already contacted the landlord and also have told another couple that the apartment is gone.

Later he sent me an email and told me how disappointed he was. I wrote back the we understand that he is in difficult situation, we are sorry about it but we are not going to change our mind and would not like to continue our application.

Now after almost 12 days, he has sent me this email:

Quote:
Hi ....

we need from you a written letter which explains why you want to retire your application for the appartment. Sorry but the forms you filled out are legally effective (Mietverband Zürich) and the only way to retire from it it's a written letter, this serves also us to show it to the owner of the apartment.

It's just bureaucracy...

Let me know, thanks
I found that a little bit strange. As far as I understand the worst thing that can happen to you when you apply for an apartment and the withdraw is that you are forced to pay some administrative fee (usually 100 CHF) and I'm willing to pay that but in reality there was no such clause in the application forms we signed so I think legally we don't have to do anything. Demand for the written letter is also strange. After 12 days what he wants to do with it? The landloard is a person not a rental company so what bureaucracy? If the landlord himself had asked for that I would somewhat understand but this guy is the tenant! I wonder what he is talking about, what is the legal situation here and the best course of action I can take.

I appreciate any suggestion or comments.

-AlefSin
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  #2  
Old 26.07.2011, 20:17
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Re: Trouble canceling rental application

You have not been accepted by the landlord & you have not signed a contract, so I don't see a big issue.

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Hi,

Round two weeks ago, we visited an apartment at a Wednesday night and liked it. The landlord was not present so we talked to the present tenant. We filled an application form on the spot and gave it to the tenant along with usual documents like copies of our resident permits, work contract, etc. On the way back home we realized that we overlooked some of the details (like the way that the living room was only connected to the rest of the flat through the kitchen, etc.) and decided that for the price, it was not our ideal apartment. As soon as we got back home (maybe less than a hour after signing the application form) my wife called the tenant back and told him that we have changed our mind. He didn't take it well. He claimed that he has already contacted the landlord and also have told another couple that the apartment is gone.

Later he sent me an email and told me how disappointed he was. I wrote back the we understand that he is in difficult situation, we are sorry about it but we are not going to change our mind and would not like to continue our application.

Now after almost 12 days, he has sent me this email:

I found that a little bit strange. As far as I understand the worst thing that can happen to you when you apply for an apartment and the withdraw is that you are forced to pay some administrative fee (usually 100 CHF) and I'm willing to pay that but in reality there was no such clause in the application forms we signed so I think legally we don't have to do anything. Demand for the written letter is also strange. After 12 days what he wants to do with it? The landloard is a person not a rental company so what bureaucracy? If the landlord himself had asked for that I would somewhat understand but this guy is the tenant! I wonder what he is talking about, what is the legal situation here and the best course of action I can take.

I appreciate any suggestion or comments.

-AlefSin
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Old 26.07.2011, 20:21
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Re: Trouble canceling rental application

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You have not been accepted by the landlord & you have not signed a contract, so I don't see a big issue.
Thanks, that's basically how I see it. I have tried to be very polite and understanding with this guy but it seems he is getting desperate finding a new tenant.
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Old 26.07.2011, 20:41
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Re: Trouble canceling rental application

I will second that, you might not be "Very" liable.

Tell the tenant you need to go to the Mieterverband and ask him to send you a complete copy of the application form you signed.

Now look at it closely for any mention of paying money if you withdraw your offer. You may have agreed to anything, we cannot advise until we see what you signed up to!

Maybe he has tricked you? Maybe the front page refers to conditions on the reverse which you never read, but legally agreed to! Try and sleep well tonight!
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Old 26.07.2011, 20:52
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Re: Trouble canceling rental application

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I will second that, you might not be "Very" liable.

Tell the tenant you need to go to the Mieterverband and ask him to send you a complete copy of the application form you signed.

Now look at it closely for any mention of paying money if you withdraw your offer. You may have agreed to anything, we cannot advise until we see what you signed up to!

Maybe he has tricked you? Maybe the front page refers to conditions on the reverse which you never read, but legally agreed to! Try and sleep well tonight!
OK, now you have scared me! I like your suggestion to ask him send me a copy of everything though. I don't think he has tricked me as he didn't know I was going to cancel. Still he might be on to something. I just hope I can solve this peacefully.
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Old 26.07.2011, 21:24
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Re: Trouble canceling rental application

The tenant doesn't decide who gets the apartment. Until you have had some form of communication from the landlord/agent that your application has been accepted I cannot see why you would be on the hook. If your application is accepted and you say yes, and then subsequently change your mind you may possibly be on the hook for an admin fee which can be anything from 50 to 200 CHF. But, until you have actually signed a rental contract, what can you be liable for?

It sounds like the tenant needs a follow-on tenant and he is trying to pull the wool over your eyes.
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Old 26.07.2011, 23:01
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Re: Trouble canceling rental application

id agree with snoopy,
maybe the letter just serves as one of the 3 tenants if he is breaking his contract.

Id just write the letter send it in email and both parties are happy. can be just one simple line... saying you retract your application BEFORE acceptance
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Old 26.07.2011, 23:08
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Re: Trouble canceling rental application

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The tenant doesn't decide who gets the apartment. Until you have had some form of communication from the landlord/agent that your application has been accepted I cannot see why you would be on the hook. If your application is accepted and you say yes, and then subsequently change your mind you may possibly be on the hook for an admin fee which can be anything from 50 to 200 CHF. But, until you have actually signed a rental contract, what can you be liable for?

It sounds like the tenant needs a follow-on tenant and he is trying to pull the wool over your eyes.
You're right there. Normally you can be charged up to about Fr 100 administration cost if you withdraw after signing the application form and before signing the rental contract.

But we don't really know what he has signed up for! He might have ordered 20 volumes of the Swiss national housing laws!
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Old 26.07.2011, 23:29
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Re: Trouble canceling rental application

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You're right there. Normally you can be charged up to about Fr 100 administration cost if you withdraw after signing the application form and before signing the rental contract.

But we don't really know what he has signed up for! He might have ordered 20 volumes of the Swiss national housing laws!
I see what you are saying, although that is probably rather unlikely don't you think. It is probably nothing worse than a moron of a tenant trying to coerce people who they think don't know better (if only they knew that these people have the support of the EF!!!! - cue Superman). The OP just needs to stand their ground. I am sure the sitting tenant will back off.
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Old 27.07.2011, 02:05
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Re: Trouble canceling rental application

Thanks everybody. As usual EF solves problems and shows the way!

I sent him an email with these lines:

Quote:
Oh, btw, could you please send me a complete copy of the forms we have signed? (copy of the both sides please). I also need to ask you to send us back our personal documents. As you understand, before I can send you any letters, I need to read those forms in details and talk to Mieterverband.
He answered shortly and basically said no letter is necessary and he'll deal with the landlord himself. I guess he was just desperate to find a new tenant and had some false hope to force us to accept the contract. Anyway, it seems everything ended peacefully.
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Old 27.07.2011, 08:15
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Re: Trouble canceling rental application

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Anyway, it seems everything ended peacefully.
Glad to hear this. But I am curious about something. You wrote the following:

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We filled an application form on the spot and gave it to the tenant along with usual documents like copies of our resident permits, work contract, etc.
Did the tenant provide you with an envelope in which to place your application, which was then sealed, in front of you, to be given to the landlord? That is the correct way to handle applications, as the information you provide is confidential and none of the tenant's business. Once you submitted an application, you could have communicated directly with the landlord to withdraw your interest. The landlord's name would have been on the envelope. (if a standard HEV application is used, the landlord's name will not appear, just the property details).

Also, you do not need to provide the landlord with your work contract. He/she can confirm this information using the details on your application. He calls HR to confirm salary. Same with the permit, you do not need to provide a copy. The only document you will often need to include with a rental application is the extract from your debt registry. Many landlords will ask for an original and return it to you. Some are okay with a photocopy.
You can also include reference letters from a previous landlord, that never hurts.
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Old 27.07.2011, 22:44
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Re: Trouble canceling rental application

I think that a great deal probably depends upon the commercial nature of the transaction and the people involved. Recently, I made an application for an apartment in Zurich which had an express cancellation fee of 100CHF -- but given how helpful the agent had been with the flat and the rental process, I didn't mind at all. Of course, once we found a flat that we truly loved (and was cheaper), we decided to go with that instead. Even though we were legally obligated to pay the 100CHF, a kind and apologetic email (and quick -- much like alefisin indicated he did) offering to pay the 100CHF meant that we ended up not having to pay the fee at all. We were quite surprised, but it does show that commercial practicality and human decency is out there.
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