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Old 04.10.2011, 10:14
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Re: Penalty clause added in rental contract

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Thanks again, Calvin! You were absolutely right - your advice was spot-on. My Zurich-based solicitor has confirmed this clause is in breach with Swiss federal law and therefore null and void and not enforceable. He also confirmed that any Swiss canton cannot deviate from this legislation.

Do you know what the most shocking aspect is? At the time of signing the rental contract, the landlord said to us. "Trust me, this is a standard contract. I should know as I am a solicitor." Yes, I am not kidding you - the landlord who included this clause in the rental contract is a Swiss solicitor. Although business has been week recently, by own admission. I think I now know why that may be the case. My suggestion would be: back to law school...
perhaps he could have got around this by charging you a higher rent and giving you a discount if you stayed for a longer period.
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Old 04.10.2011, 10:22
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Re: Penalty clause added in rental contract

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Why not? You can write in almost anything you want in a contract as long as both parties agree and it's within the law. Typing vs writing doesn't invalidate a contract. You agreed to this at the signing.

This clause clearly wasn't within the law and is therefore null and void. Hurrah!

This doesn't sound unreasonable to me. It's very common in Switzerland for the final bills to come in a few months late. So he's not THAT far off with last years bills. Especially if you gave him 3 months notice. He probably said "well, I'll just do the whole bill at the end."


Well MiniMia, don't you think a contract should work both ways? You seem to expect tenants to fully adhere to the contract, whereas the landlord is entitled to some sort of creative licence ("I'll just do the the whole bill at the end") The contract clearly states "spese" should be invoiced at least once a year, which in our case meant before 31 May 2011. Interestingly, we didn't cancel the contract until 22 June 2011 nor had we mentioned this in any way beforehand to the landlord. The landlord must therefore be a clairvoyant...



I don't know, I don't see him being that unreasonable. This is just another case of expats "confirming" that "the Swiss are out to stitch up all the foreigners" myth. The OP agreed to this clause. So I don't see why the landlord should now be the bad guy.

Ok, he shouldn't have gone in the house without asking & he shouldn't have painted the outside fence without asking. But that's no reason to think he's the devil incarnate trying to screw the foreigners.

In this case it clearly was a Swiss person stiching up a foreigner. The Swiss landlord, who works as a fulltime solicitor in Switzerland, included an illegal clause in the contract. And admitted, when confronted with the witness evidence during the handover of the property last week, they had acccessed the property at least three times without informing us beforehand. When asked why, the answer was "I have a busy day job too, I tried but I couldn't get hold of you." The landlord was in possession of my work phone number, my mobile number, my partner's mobile number, both our e-mail addresses and our home number. Neither one of us had received any missed calls, voicemail messages, e-mails or letters from the landlord.

All I can say is the landlord is lucky we're forgiving people and don't move to have this person struck off from practising law. We're just glad and very relieved we're out of that place. My final comment to you would be, the reason you struggle with your tenants allowing you access to your property, despite of you being a reasonable landlord, is because so many of your peers aren't decent landlords and so many tenants do get their fingers burnt. In the very unlikely event I would ever have to rent a property in Switzerland again, I would NEVER ever give a key to the landlord. We have always paid our rent on time and looked after the property well. We then give a key to the landlord to increase their chances of renting out the house again and this is how we are being repaid? They have shown us no respect whatsoever and treated us like milk cows.
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Old 04.10.2011, 10:39
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Re: Penalty clause added in rental contract

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perhaps he could have got around this by charging you a higher rent and giving you a discount if you stayed for a longer period.
That's right - we would have accepted the landlord's argument for a higher rent to be charged. We're not unreasonable people. I hope they have learnt something from this experience and they will treat their new tenants (also foreigners, from Italy) with more respect.
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Old 04.10.2011, 16:24
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Re: Penalty clause added in rental contract

I really am glad it worked out for you and very disappointed in your landlord. Bad landlord!!

I would suggest that people get their contracts checked before they sign them. Then we can avoid bad landlords all together.

Good luck with your new adventure.
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