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Old 05.12.2011, 23:33
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Opinion on contesting initial rent

Hi all, I picked an apartment in the center of Lausanne. The previous renter told me that the new rental rate increased by 35% compared what they were paying. 35% of increase just after 2 years! I was suggested by him to go to ASLOCA, I've been there and I was told by them that I have to complain, writing a letter to the Commission de Conciliation, and that I will most likely obtain a reduction because usually the increase must be 10% maximum.

The point is that even though ASLOCA's consultant is sure, the motivation for the increase is "Adaptation aux loyers usuels de quartier/location" (i.e. increase to the usual rental rate in the area). Looking at the burst of rental rates in the Lausanne area, I am not so sure to obtain a reduction...even with such an increase.
I am interested in some experiences about this initial contestation, as well as some advices.
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Old 05.12.2011, 23:40
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Re: Opinion on contesting initial rent

If the rate being charged is in line with market rates and you have been advised what the rate is by the owner before accepting then the increase is not that relevant
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Old 06.12.2011, 01:04
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Re: Opinion on contesting initial rent

With the state of the Lausanne housing market, the problem is that for everyone who thinks a rent is crazy there are 200 people desperate enough to pay it.

The anecdotes I heard over the years living in Lausanne were that few people tried a reduction and even less succeeded in doing so. The thing is that the regie can't use the "adapt to market price" excuse all the time- the law states it cant be more than 10% over a period of x years and thus the market price stuff is only justified when the previous tenant was in the apartment twenty years or so. This is why they do some cosmetic work to the apartments to tack on a few more percent. The one case that worked was when it was proven that the regie hadn't done anything but raise the rent (usually they have to change tiles or throw some paint on the walls in between renters).

Sadly, high rents, and big divergences in the same building are common because of the tight market. In my old building, the same apartment size on different floors- one was at 1000 CHF because of an old bail, one at 1800 and one at 2400. The 1800 and 2400 had been renovated, and the 2400 had changed tenants each year. But size and amenities they were the same apartment.
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Old 06.12.2011, 01:21
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Re: Opinion on contesting initial rent

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The anecdotes I heard over the years living in Lausanne were that few people tried a reduction and even less succeeded in doing so. The thing is that the regie can't use the "adapt to market price" excuse all the time- the law states it cant be more than 10% over a period of x years and thus the market price stuff is only justified when the previous tenant was in the apartment twenty years or so. This is why they do some cosmetic work to the apartments to tack on a few more percent. The one case that worked was when it was proven that the regie hadn't done anything but raise the rent (usually they have to change tiles or throw some paint on the walls in between renters).
I also read about the "10% rule", yet I see it is not a law, but a practice.
In my case, the increase is 35% in just two years, with no renovation at all! And being in the center, the building is not the newest, of course... I wonder if in a 2-year timeframe the market price could increase 35%...
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Old 06.12.2011, 01:24
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Re: Opinion on contesting initial rent

Just find another apartment. Or have you aleady signed (and, I assume, were happy with the rent at that point)?
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Old 06.12.2011, 01:32
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Re: Opinion on contesting initial rent

Already signed. The contestation is possible just after having taken the flat, not before.
I was not happy with the rent but out of the 30 applications I had sent this was the only one I was made an offer for.
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Old 06.12.2011, 01:35
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Re: Opinion on contesting initial rent

If all you have to do is spend a small amount of time writing letters, then go for it. It's a gamble, but the price to play is low and the potential prize is high.
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Old 06.12.2011, 07:05
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Re: Opinion on contesting initial rent

If you signed without raising hte issue at the time then you will have a tough time convincing.

If I was the owner the simply way to justify the increase is that I had let it below market rate for a period and have simply adjusted now to come in line with market rates. if they had a queue of applicants then they can easily show that the market rate is correct.
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Old 06.12.2011, 07:52
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Re: Opinion on contesting initial rent

This is a common enough topic on the EF and the people from Zurich etc. never seem to understand the craziness that is the rent market down in Vaud. I would fight this with ASLOCA. It is a crazy increase for a lame reason--there were no capital investments in the property. Boo to the landlord and chances are you will succeed in getting some decrease in your rent. There was a post a couple of months back about an EFer successfully getting a significant decrease by protesting with ASLOCA. Fight against the machine and go with god.

Oh, here's that thread, in case you are interested
Contesting Rent

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Hi all, I picked an apartment in the center of Lausanne. The previous renter told me that the new rental rate increased by 35% compared what they were paying. 35% of increase just after 2 years! I was suggested by him to go to ASLOCA, I've been there and I was told by them that I have to complain, writing a letter to the Commission de Conciliation, and that I will most likely obtain a reduction because usually the increase must be 10% maximum.

The point is that even though ASLOCA's consultant is sure, the motivation for the increase is "Adaptation aux loyers usuels de quartier/location" (i.e. increase to the usual rental rate in the area). Looking at the burst of rental rates in the Lausanne area, I am not so sure to obtain a reduction...even with such an increase.
I am interested in some experiences about this initial contestation, as well as some advices.
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Old 06.12.2011, 08:12
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Re: Opinion on contesting initial rent

But what makes you contest it? I am sure you knew the price of the rent before applying for the appartment. I know that if a flat or house is out of my budget i will not apply, simple. Maybe the guy had other people interested that were happy to pay that.

Although i am simply guessing, i would think you can only appeal if he increases the rent while you are a tenant and not when he increases it and advertises it at that price. I am sure he could choose his price depending on how much he has invested, etc.

Provided i have understood this correctly, i am on the side of the landlord. You took the flat at this price, now you must pay it. If i have misunderstood somewhere please accept my apologies
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Old 06.12.2011, 09:14
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Re: Opinion on contesting initial rent

Maybe the rent you signed is correct and the poor landlord was being cheated by the previous tenant?
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Old 06.12.2011, 09:28
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Re: Opinion on contesting initial rent

For god sake merge this thread with the previous thread! It's Deja vu all over again!

We already established that tenants have rights, exercise your right to demand a reduction in the rent as the rentals in Switzerland are regulated and not any Tom, Dick and Harry can charge whatever the hell they like as long as there is someone stupid / desperate enough to pay it!

Next please!
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