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Old 15.09.2011, 14:06
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How to get out of a joint contract?

Hi all. I may be in a sticky situation; my relationship (unmarried, living together in ZH for three years) of four years is essentially on the rocks and I am likely to call it a day in the next week or so. We share an apartment together and both our names are on the contract... this is where things may get messy.

While I hope that we will agree to let go of the apartment amicably together, there's a chance that she will refuse to let it, or me, go. In that event, my understanding is that outside of the management company agreeing to let me bring in a new tenant to take my place (which she could well seek to sabotage), I'm effectively trapped in the contract, paying for a place I no longer wish to live in with absolutely no means of getting out.

This would either result in my moving out and paying rent on two places or in some bizarre turf war where both of us remain in the apartment and at each others throats, waiting to see which one gives in and moves out first.

As I said, my hope is that she will agree to an amicable split, but I do believe that there is a good chance she'll go down this other route and wanted to know what, if any options I may have.
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Old 15.09.2011, 14:24
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Re: How to get out of a joint contract?

have you tried talking to your ex and suggesting you both move on as the apartment will have memories that are perhaps too raw for you both to continue living there?

Set a date, advertise the place and get new ones organised for both of you.

Sell it positively. If she is a bunny boiler, you may be SOL.
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Old 15.09.2011, 14:32
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Re: How to get out of a joint contract?

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have you tried talking to your ex and suggesting you both move on as the apartment will have memories that are perhaps too raw for you both to continue living there?
Talking to his current partner may help more
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Old 17.09.2011, 13:01
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Re: How to get out of a joint contract?

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have you tried talking to your ex and suggesting you both move on as the apartment will have memories that are perhaps too raw for you both to continue living there?
She's not my ex yet, but is likely to be. The question is what her reaction will be when it happens. It may be perfectly amicable, but it also may become messy, and one of the areas where it may become messy includes that she may refuse to let go of the apartment because it is financially convenient for her to keep it - as long as I am paying half the rent.

In that event, what are my options? I know I could joint the Mieterverband to help sort this out, but am presently looking at where I stand legally. Surely, this cannot be so unusual a situation whereby there is no provision in Swiss contract law to deal with it?
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Old 17.09.2011, 13:10
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Re: How to get out of a joint contract?

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She's not my ex yet, but is likely to be. The question is what her reaction will be when it happens. It may be perfectly amicable, but it also may become messy, and one of the areas where it may become messy includes that she may refuse to let go of the apartment because it is financially convenient for her to keep it - as long as I am paying half the rent.

In that event, what are my options? I know I could joint the Mieterverband to help sort this out, but am presently looking at where I stand legally. Surely, this cannot be so unusual a situation whereby there is no provision in Swiss contract law to deal with it?
You would be jointly & severally liable, so if she does not pay her share you are on the hook for the whole rent.
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Old 17.09.2011, 13:11
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Re: How to get out of a joint contract?

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She's not my ex yet, but is likely to be. The question is what her reaction will be when it happens. It may be perfectly amicable, but it also may become messy, and one of the areas where it may become messy includes that she may refuse to let go of the apartment because it is financially convenient for her to keep it - as long as I am paying half the rent.

In that event, what are my options? I know I could joint the Mieterverband to help sort this out, but am presently looking at where I stand legally. Surely, this cannot be so unusual a situation whereby there is no provision in Swiss contract law to deal with it?
You can let the contract run it's course. You are jointly responsible for rent until then. That does not mean 1/2 each, if you move out and away, they are likely to hound her for the full amount and at best she could chase you for a share. If she stays beyond the contract and renews then she is on her own with the agency and you are free.

I doubt whether you could sub let your 1/2 / share of the apartment. Common sense for both of you is to both look for a new place each, and find replacement tenants for your current place.
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Old 17.09.2011, 13:17
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Re: How to get out of a joint contract?

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You can let the contract run it's course. You are jointly responsible for rent until then. That does not mean 1/2 each, if you move out and away, they are likely to hound her for the full amount and at best she could chase you for a share. If she stays beyond the contract and renews then she is on her own with the agency and you are free.

I doubt whether you could sub let your 1/2 / share of the apartment. Common sense for both of you is to both look for a new place each, and find replacement tenants for your current place.
Generally contracts don't have an end date, so it won't run it's course.
They will hound the highest earner first for the full rent, it's much easier that way.
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Old 17.09.2011, 13:26
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Re: How to get out of a joint contract?

Not easy - so try and make the break in the most friendly, calm, possible way- so you can try and jointly decide who will take on the flat, with initial support (say for 3 months) from the 'leaver'' - or both start anew. Good luck. Does your partner work with a salary that would allow her to keep the flat, perhaps taking in a lodger?
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Old 17.09.2011, 15:59
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Re: How to get out of a joint contract?

Naturally an amicable break is the best scenario, and it is what I hope will occur. What I am asking is what are my options if the breakup is not amicable.

From what I understand that as joint signatories we are jointly financially liable and we cannot terminate the contract unless we both sign.

If there are no options, this seems insane, because one could in theory dig in their heels and expect half of the rent paid forever, as long as they remain in the apartment (either forcing the other to pay one and a half rents or to remain living there). Or one could do a runner and the other one would be stuck there forever because they cannot cancel it.

Surely this cannot be the case?
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Old 17.09.2011, 16:03
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Re: How to get out of a joint contract?

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Naturally an amicable break is the best scenario, and it is what I hope will occur. What I am asking is what are my options if the breakup is not amicable.

From what I understand that as joint signatories we are jointly financially liable and we cannot terminate the contract unless we both sign.

If there are no options, this seems insane, because one could in theory dig in their heels and expect half of the rent paid forever, as long as they remain in the apartment (either forcing the other to pay one and a half rents or to remain living there). Or one could do a runner and the other one would be stuck there forever because they cannot cancel it.

Surely this cannot be the case?
It's just the same as guaranteeing a loan, or being a partner in a business, you are responsible for 100% of the debt.

In the Uk a solicitor I knew would often have letters returned as 'deceased'! Generally they don't bother to check any further in the UK.
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Old 17.09.2011, 16:13
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Re: How to get out of a joint contract?

It's a reasonable question about a reasonable situation in a reasonable country, so I would expect there to be a reasonable solution.

What I would expect is that you individually would be able to give notice as required in the contract (typically in writing a minimum of three months in advance of 1st April or 1st October, iirc), and the co-signatory would then have to choose to either continue in residence as the sole signatory or to also give notice as described.

The Mieterverband should be your next port of call, to get an "official" confirmation of this...

HTH, and Good Luck
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Old 17.09.2011, 16:26
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Re: How to get out of a joint contract?

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It's just the same as guaranteeing a loan, or being a partner in a business, you are responsible for 100% of the debt.
Not quite the same thing, because when a loan is paid off, it's finished. What people have described to me is forever - I can understand penalties being paid if you break a contract, but a contract that cannot be broken ever, seems a bit crazy.
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The Mieterverband should be your next port of call, to get an "official" confirmation of this...
I expect you're right - I'd just hoped that I could get some info here before shelling out 100 quid at the Mieterverband.
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Old 17.09.2011, 16:29
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Re: How to get out of a joint contract?

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Not quite the same thing, because when a loan is paid off, it's finished. What people have described to me is forever - I can understand penalties being paid if you break a contract, but a contract that cannot be broken ever, seems a bit crazy.

I expect you're right - I'd just hoped that I could get some info here before shelling out 100 quid at the Mieterverband.
The contract auto renews itself unless notice is given according to the contract notice terms.
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Old 17.09.2011, 16:30
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Re: How to get out of a joint contract?

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Not quite the same thing, because when a loan is paid off, it's finished. What people have described to me is forever - I can understand penalties being paid if you break a contract, but a contract that cannot be broken ever, seems a bit crazy.
.
You chose to sign the contract, at the time you were happy enough. Swiss mortgages are forever.......
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Old 17.09.2011, 16:43
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Re: How to get out of a joint contract?

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The contract auto renews itself unless notice is given according to the contract notice terms.
Except notice requires both signatories...

Ironically, the contract would allow one of us to unilaterally cancel the contract, but only if we were married - but that would be another can of worms.
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You chose to sign the contract, at the time you were happy enough.
Do you feel better pointing that out?
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Old 17.09.2011, 16:47
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Re: How to get out of a joint contract?

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Except notice requires both signatories...

Ironically, the contract would allow one of us to unilaterally cancel the contract, but only if we were married - but that would be another can of worms.

Do you feel better pointing that out?
Looks like you need to get married, cancel the contract & get divorced.
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Old 17.09.2011, 16:55
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Re: How to get out of a joint contract?

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Except notice requires both signatories...

Ironically, the contract would allow one of us to unilaterally cancel the contract, but only if we were married - but that would be another can of worms.

Do you feel better pointing that out?
Well, if you feel she won't play ball with the notice , and it really is the case that you must both sign the notice, then leave, and let her be chased for the rent. Get a place for yourself before the debt chasing and recording begins. Either pay the old rent and chase her via the courts for the money , or let her do this to you. The courts will not see her case in a good light if she is living their 100% on her own and refusing to give notice or pay the full rent.
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Old 19.09.2011, 23:25
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Re: How to get out of a joint contract?

This is higly interesting, i,m in the same position ( not married and both signed) is there really no way one of the 2 partners can get out of this contract even if the other does not agree?
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Old 20.09.2011, 01:09
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Re: How to get out of a joint contract?

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Except notice requires both signatories...

Ironically, the contract would allow one of us to unilaterally cancel the contract, but only if we were married - but that would be another can of worms.
I would like to know where you read this because this it not what it says on the rental contracts my clients have signed which state that if a couple is married notice to terminate the rental agreement must be given by each person.
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Old 20.09.2011, 07:01
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Re: How to get out of a joint contract?

I doubt that the management company would simply say - "you are in this forever", if you would inform them of your intention split and to terminate the contract from your side. Knowing that soon they will have to start chasing one of you to get rent might not be in their best interests, maybe you have to try consulting them about the most sensible solution?
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