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Old 08.12.2011, 14:19
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Breaking contract early: any reasonable options?

We live in furnished apartment and always wanted to get out to some bigger and more reasonably priced (per size/location/etc) place. Finally we found a place we liked and, after being selected by the owner, signed a contract with the regie, paid the deposit and half-month rent.

Somehow we misread our contract for our current apartment and thought that we can give normal one month notice. However, in reality it says that we can only give such notice one month before the "anniversary" of the contract which will be only next fall.

So essentially we now stuck with 2 contracts. I have tried to find another tenant for our current apartment, but without much luck so far - it is priced somewhat over the market average. I tried to back off from the new contract, as we have not yet moved in, but our new regie is not willing to show any mercy- they insist on the contract terms, which says we have to stay there for a year at least.

To make matters worse, we have been told (but no official notices yet) that the owner plans to sell the apartment we currently live in sometime later this year. So it does not make it easier to find another tenant.

Stupid question: what happens if we move out of our current apartment to the new place and stop paying to our current regie? What would be the consequences of such actions?
Of course, I would rather avoid such radical steps and negotiate some more reasonable terms with our current regie, but I need to understand better what is at stake.
Any tips/advices/similar stories to share?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 08.12.2011, 14:25
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Re: Breaking contract early: any reasonable options?

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To make matters worse, we have been told (but no official notices yet) that the owner plans to sell the apartment we currently live in sometime later this year. So it does not make it easier to find another tenant.

Stupid question: what happens if we move out of our current apartment to the new place and stop paying to our current regie? What would be the consequences of such actions?
OK, so I was about to tell you to search for similar threads, however, the fact that the owner plans to sell makes this different.

I think your only option is to discuss with the landlord about options.

If you are bound to a contract, then that is legally binding and there is absolutely no way out.

If you stop paying, they will put your name on a register making any future rentals extremely difficult.


I guess as a negotiation strategy is to ask the landlord for some slack as you are in no position to find an alternative renter.

If he is dependant on a paying a mortgage, don't expect too much.

If not.......... I think organising a LOUD party until you are evicted is the only way forward.



I haven't heard about this situation before, but to me I'm sorry, but you sound stuck.


Perhaps advertising a 'short term lease' arrangement is another option, and disguise the fact that the property will sell.

You never know.
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Old 08.12.2011, 14:33
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Re: Breaking contract early: any reasonable options?

if you do not honor the 3 month notice period (anivers of your contract) all you have too do is propose 3 possible clients. once you have done that you cancel your contract.

They will tell you this and that and that you cannot do it but the short and simple is that you can. SO all you do is advertise on Anibis (free) have 3 people look at it , not your problem to mention that he is selling it is the regies and off you go to the new place
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Old 08.12.2011, 14:42
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Re: Breaking contract early: any reasonable options?

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If you stop paying, they will put your name on a register making any future rentals extremely difficult.


I guess as a negotiation strategy is to ask the landlord for some slack as you are in no position to find an alternative renter.

If he is dependant on a paying a mortgage, don't expect too much.

If not.......... I think organising a LOUD party until you are evicted is the only way forward.


Perhaps advertising a 'short term lease' arrangement is another option, and disguise the fact that the property will sell.
I am afraid I have tried most of these strategies - i.e. negotiated with regie/owner (IMHO, selling an apartment with tenants might be more difficult, but he does not seem to care)

I have also tried to find someone interested in sub-let (and I was even willing to subsidize it a bit)

As for the register: how serious is this? If we already have another place that we like (and will probably stay there for quite some time) and all credit cards, etc - what will be the real life consequences for us?
Honestly, I am more afraid of some litigation and court orders to pay for the remaining 9 month of our "old contract"

It just seems so absurd that in the situation when the demand is so high, they do not let people out.
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Old 08.12.2011, 14:47
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Re: Breaking contract early: any reasonable options?

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if you do not honor the 3 month notice period (anivers of your contract) all you have too do is propose 3 possible clients. once you have done that you cancel your contract.

They will tell you this and that and that you cannot do it but the short and simple is that you can. SO all you do is advertise on Anibis (free) have 3 people look at it , not your problem to mention that he is selling it is the regies and off you go to the new place

As far as I know you only need 1, not 3. But this person has actually to sign the contract. And most likely as soon as s/he will learn from the regie that aparment is likely to be sold in a couple of month, this potential tenant will change his/her mind.
I have already posted it on several sites (free and paid), but only a couple of visitors and none of them seems interested enough.

So it seems that not only are overpaying for our current apartment, but we are also stuck in some kind of modern-day serfdom with this "once a year" policy.
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Old 08.12.2011, 14:52
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Re: Breaking contract early: any reasonable options?

nope they do not need to sign. if they give you crap go to ASLOCA or even just threaten with them.

Thats all you need. They push you around alot here , just gotta push back a little harder
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Old 08.12.2011, 15:03
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Re: Breaking contract early: any reasonable options?

It is actually on ASCLOCA website where I read that you are not "free" until the new tenant sign the contract. I can not give the direct link,but it is here http://www.asloca.ch/questions-r%C3%A9ponses-faq under A la fin du bail section.
I already had one meeting with ASLOCA and was not impressed so far, but I will try to make another appointment with them.
I understand that they can be helpful in the situation e.g. when we would have to be evicted from our apartment just because new owner does not like us, but our situation is different. I understand that it is mainly our huge mistake not to study the current terms in details and I am ready to pay for it, but I am not ready to pay for almost a year for an expensive apartment I not need.
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Old 08.12.2011, 15:32
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Re: Breaking contract early: any reasonable options?

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if you do not honor the 3 month notice period (anivers of your contract) all you have too do is propose 3 possible clients. once you have done that you cancel your contract.
Anthony1406 is on a bit of a winner here.

But the key is in the details of your contract.

Ask what are the intentions of the new owner (I'll explain below). If he is selling to an 'investor', then finding a new tennant shouldn't be a problem, as it's guaranteed rental income to pay off the "new" mortgage.

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I am afraid I have tried most of these strategies - i.e. negotiated with regie/owner (IMHO, selling an apartment with tenants might be more difficult, but he does not seem to care)

I have also tried to find someone interested in sub-let (and I was even willing to subsidize it a bit)

As for the register: how serious is this? If we already have another place that we like (and will probably stay there for quite some time) and all credit cards, etc - what will be the real life consequences for us?
Honestly, I am more afraid of some litigation and court orders to pay for the remaining 9 month of our "old contract"

It just seems so absurd that in the situation when the demand is so high, they do not let people out.
It sounds like the landlord is an arse !!!

He could at least tell you what the intentions are, and I'm quite frankly surprised that he withheld this information from you from the date of signing.

From a landlords perspective though (yes, I've sold a property with a tennant)...... selling the place to another investor is twice as attractive when the tennant is in it.
If you can demonstrate that the tennant is worthy, then there are no concerns.

Selling to someone who wants to privately own it is much more difficult....... so if he is selling to a 'private' owner, it is in the landlords best interest to help you 'out' of the contract.

Eitherway, he should be working with you, not against you.
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Old 08.12.2011, 15:49
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Re: Breaking contract early: any reasonable options?

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if you do not honor the 3 month notice period (anivers of your contract) all you have too do is propose 3 possible clients. once you have done that you cancel your contract.
This is a total myth. The law states (quite clearly in fact) you need to find 1 (one) person who is financialy solvable and ready to take over the contract. If the landlord refuses this person then you are no longer responsible. If the person backs out of the deal then you are still responsible.

Renting agencies, landlords and badly informed people have propogated this 3 person requirement.

It may make sense to have 3 people to take over in case 1 or 2 back out, but the law is clear, one person willing, able and capable to tke over is all is needed.
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Old 08.12.2011, 15:56
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Re: Breaking contract early: any reasonable options?

I am surprised that you can't find anyone to sub-let - given the problems of finding apartments in Geneva, a lot of people are willing to take a place even if it is just for 3 or 6 months whilst they keep looking for somewhere more permanent. This is exactly what we did when we arrived.

Have you tried advertising on here? Or in the free paper (GHI)?
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Old 08.12.2011, 17:26
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Re: Breaking contract early: any reasonable options?

The OP isn't eligible to advertise on here yet.
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Old 08.12.2011, 17:30
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Re: Breaking contract early: any reasonable options?

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This is a total myth. The law states (quite clearly in fact) you need to find 1 (one) person who is financialy solvable and ready to take over the contract. If the landlord refuses this person then you are no longer responsible. If the person backs out of the deal then you are still responsible.

Renting agencies, landlords and badly informed people have propogated this 3 person requirement.

It may make sense to have 3 people to take over in case 1 or 2 back out, but the law is clear, one person willing, able and capable to tke over is all is needed.

how is it a myth if that is pretty much exactly what I said?
When wedidnt honor our contract in Montreux they wanted 3 candidates. (candidate is someone fin solvable) and it didnt matter if they chose them or not. we had 7 in the end and they picked the lady coming from a social house and was let out to live on her own. quit weird when she would show up un announced in the evening several times to see where she would be living (she was excited but VERY awkward) .....I guess the state payed for the apartment so thats why they chose her
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Old 08.12.2011, 17:31
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Re: Breaking contract early: any reasonable options?

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The OP isn't eligible to advertise on here yet.
Good point well made...

To the OP: I would try a small ad in GHI - unless it really is ridiculously over-priced (which could explain why your landlord doesn't want to let you off the hook) you should have a queue of people lining up to take it off your hands.
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Old 08.12.2011, 17:43
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Re: Breaking contract early: any reasonable options?

If you keep it furnished you could try to sub let it as a temporary place. You might have more luck with that. Ok, you'll have to find furniture for your other place, but if you can get some donations you'll be better off.

Why can't you give up the other place? Can't you find someone for the either of these two apartments? December is not a great month to be looking. But you should have some bites.

Can you PM me the info on the apartments? I'll send them to my BIL.
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Old 08.12.2011, 20:31
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Re: Breaking contract early: any reasonable options?

Thanks,
I have advertised both places on homegate, anibis, glocals and similar sites.
Indeed, I also hoped for more interest, but it did not materialize so far.

I can not just give up "new" place, because we signed a contract and paid the the deposit (i know it was not very smart)

I think I understand all reasonable options, but my question remains - what will happen if I just sent my current regie the keys, move out and stop paying rent?

I had several issues with them and they were quite unhelpful, to say the least, but I guess it is not enough for breaking the contract.
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Old 08.12.2011, 20:48
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Re: Breaking contract early: any reasonable options?

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Thanks,
I have advertised both places on homegate, anibis, glocals and similar sites.
Indeed, I also hoped for more interest, but it did not materialize so far.

I can not just give up "new" place, because we signed a contract and paid the the deposit (i know it was not very smart)

I think I understand all reasonable options, but my question remains - what will happen if I just sent my current regie the keys, move out and stop paying rent?

I had several issues with them and they were quite unhelpful, to say the least, but I guess it is not enough for breaking the contract.
Ok, but the new place might have another person on the list who was interested, it might be easier to get rid of than the old place. What's better give up the first of the two that someone will take or keep paying rent for two places for 10 months?

No. You can not send back the keys, stop paying rent and move out.

And again, please send me the listing and I will send it to my BIL who is looking to move to Geneva from one of the villages in Vaud.
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Old 08.12.2011, 20:59
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Re: Breaking contract early: any reasonable options?

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I think I understand all reasonable options, but my question remains - what will happen if I just sent my current regie the keys, move out and stop paying rent?
Well first of all I'd suggest you get proper legal advice, as there appears to be a lot of cash involved.

Based on what you have said, it sounds like a difficult apartment to let, so I would expect that the landlord will do his best to collect on it and not just simply register a debt against you.
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Old 08.12.2011, 21:56
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Re: Breaking contract early: any reasonable options?

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how is it a myth if that is pretty much exactly what I said?
When wedidnt honor our contract in Montreux they wanted 3 candidates. (candidate is someone fin solvable) and it didnt matter if they chose them or not. we had 7 in the end and they picked the lady coming from a social house and was let out to live on her own. quit weird when she would show up un announced in the evening several times to see where she would be living (she was excited but VERY awkward) .....I guess the state payed for the apartment so thats why they chose her
What they want and what the law states is not always the same !
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Old 12.12.2011, 14:53
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Re: Breaking contract early: any reasonable options?

Question to TodayOnly - can you send me a link to the law that says we only have to provide 1 who is financially able (and willing obviously) to take on the apartment? Our landlord is putting the rent up which is making our apartment less attractive and therefore we're receiving less interest....and apparently there is a housing shortage....not in our block!
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Old 12.12.2011, 20:03
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Re: Breaking contract early: any reasonable options?

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Question to TodayOnly - can you send me a link to the law that says we only have to provide 1 who is financially able (and willing obviously) to take on the apartment? Our landlord is putting the rent up which is making our apartment less attractive and therefore we're receiving less interest....and apparently there is a housing shortage....not in our block!
You should really talk to the tenants association because IIRC you need to provide someone who is willing to take over your lease under the same conditions. If the landlord changes the conditions he has to let you out of the lease. Double check that. But I believe that is the case.
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