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Old 08.08.2012, 16:53
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Renting in/from a Genossenschaft

Hello All,

I searched for this but wasn't coming up with any hits, so here goes.

We are considering moving apartment. I saw an advert today for a "Genossenschaftwohnung" (cooperative house), which looks a really nice apartment, but I have basically zero knowledge of what is involved - and wondered whether people could share their knowledge/experience of living in such an arrangement.

This is what I have worked out so far:

1) The building is built by a building cooperative (Genossenschaft)
2) Genossenschafts require the tenants to put some kind of capital into the building/development in lieu of a normal deposit.
3) This capital gives you a stake in the Genossenschaft and entitles you to vote on issues affecting the development, plus earn some interest
4) The capital requirement can be quite large (in the case of this advert 6mths+ rent)

OK, so here my knowledge ends. My basic questions are as follows:

1) Over what term are you "investing" your capital? Forever? For a defined period, say 25 years?
2) If you rent the apartment, putting in your stake, does this make it difficult to find a nachmieter (new tenant) in future? Does a new tenant have to contribute your capital?
3) Could you sub-lease/leave the apartment but keep your capital as an investment?
4) Could you sell your capital but keep renting the apartment?
5) Could/do the rest of the cooperative have a say in approving/rejecting any subsequent tenants who take over your lease?

Please note that I'm not trying to weigh up the pros and cons of this specific Genossenschaft, just get a general idea what the whole process involves and whether anyone has any experience to share? It's not something I've ever come across before.

Thanks.
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Old 08.08.2012, 17:04
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Re: Renting in/from a Genossenschaft

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Hello All,

I searched for this but wasn't coming up with any hits, so here goes.

We are considering moving apartment. I saw an advert today for a "Genossenschaftwohnung" (cooperative house), which looks a really nice apartment, but I have basically zero knowledge of what is involved - and wondered whether people could share their knowledge/experience of living in such an arrangement.

This is what I have worked out so far:

1) The building is built by a building cooperative (Genossenschaft)
2) Genossenschafts require the tenants to put some kind of capital into the building/development in lieu of a normal deposit.
3) This capital gives you a stake in the Genossenschaft and entitles you to vote on issues affecting the development, plus earn some interest
4) The capital requirement can be quite large (in the case of this advert 6mths+ rent)

OK, so here my knowledge ends. My basic questions are as follows:

1) Over what term are you "investing" your capital? Forever? For a defined period, say 25 years?
2) If you rent the apartment, putting in your stake, does this make it difficult to find a nachmieter (new tenant) in future? Does a new tenant have to contribute your capital?
3) Could you sub-lease/leave the apartment but keep your capital as an investment?
4) Could you sell your capital but keep renting the apartment?
5) Could/do the rest of the cooperative have a say in approving/rejecting any subsequent tenants who take over your lease?

Please note that I'm not trying to weigh up the pros and cons of this specific Genossenschaft, just get a general idea what the whole process involves and whether anyone has any experience to share? It's not something I've ever come across before.

Thanks.
1) No time limit. A Genossenschaft goes on forever.
2) When you move out you recover the capital and your succesor has to invest in your place.
2b) furthermore you get a small annual contribution as a sort of dividend or interest on your invested capital.
3) Sub-lease is subject to your contract and statutes of the Genossenschaft, just as with any other rental.
4) No
5) The Genossenschaft (or management thereof) can choose who they rent to, just as any private landlord can.
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Old 08.08.2012, 17:09
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Re: Renting in/from a Genossenschaft

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1) No time limit. A Genossenschaft goes on forever.
2) When you move out you recover the capital and your succesor has to invest in your place.
2b) furthermore you get a small annual contribution as a sort of dividend or interest on your invested capital.
3) Sub-lease is subject to your contract and statutes of the Genossenschaft, just as with any other rental.
4) No
5) The Genossenschaft (or management thereof) can choose who they rent to, just as any private landlord can.
Thanks for the quick reply. In terms of finding a new tenant, is finding the capital requirement troublesome? It is quite a considerable amount to ask for, and I wondered if this limited the pool of applicants somewhat?
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Old 08.08.2012, 17:17
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Re: Renting in/from a Genossenschaft

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Thanks for the quick reply. In terms of finding a new tenant, is finding the capital requirement troublesome? It is quite a considerable amount to ask for, and I wondered if this limited the pool of applicants somewhat?
I think that depends on such factors as the location. Generally Genossenschafts appartments are in very high demand, not least because the rent is generally lower than in privately owned buildings and Genossenschaften generally take good care of the building, do good maintenance etc. That offsets having to raise capital up front. So if the location is good and the appartment is nice you shouldn't have any problems finding a successor.

Remember that the average Swiss family probably doesn't have significant debt but may have a fair sum saved up, so rasing this type of capital isn't a big issue.
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Old 08.08.2012, 17:35
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Re: Renting in/from a Genossenschaft

Very hard to get into a genossenschaft flat (if you get the chance jump and be as quick as you can)
Lived in a flat for 30 years loved it ( my son is still in the same genossenschaft)
If you dont have the depot they let you pay it monthly
Was able to save the money for a house plus great for kids.
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Old 08.08.2012, 17:37
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Re: Renting in/from a Genossenschaft

Im glad that you atleast knew what it was ... I applied for once such appartment and got the shocker of my life when he said the deposit for CHF 50K !!! so much for integrating and knowing lots about CH

Also, my 2 cents ... I remeber that the sum you put in gives a better return (interest) rate than letting the cash rot in the bank.

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I think that depends on such factors as the location. Generally Genossenschafts appartments are in very high demand, not least because the rent is generally lower than in privately owned buildings and Genossenschaften generally take good care of the building, do good maintenance etc. That offsets having to raise capital up front. So if the location is good and the appartment is nice you shouldn't have any problems finding a successor.

Remember that the average Swiss family probably doesn't have significant debt but may have a fair sum saved up, so rasing this type of capital isn't a big issue.
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Old 08.08.2012, 18:08
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Re: Renting in/from a Genossenschaft

I am not aware that you can buy from a Genossenschaft??? We moved into one when we 1st arrived and all we had to do was put down a 3 months deposit. We are allow to move out anytime (as there is always a waiting list) and it is super cheap!

They are also very family friendly that if you are in the system and your family grew bigger, they will put u on a priority list.
But I think you must speak German to get one of those flat. They will interview you if you are not German or Swiss
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Old 08.08.2012, 18:22
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Re: Renting in/from a Genossenschaft

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They are also very family friendly that if you are in the system and your family grew bigger, they will put u on a priority list.
But I think you must speak German to get one of those flat. They will interview you if you are not German or Swiss
The interview has nothing to do with not being Swiss.
Some Genossenschaften like to screen everybody to see if they fit in.
It depends on the Genossenschaft.
Mine, for example, tries to establish a mix of tenants reflecting different walks of society, so they go for a mix of Swiss and foreigners, old and young, families and singles, different professions etc. The interview was in part to establish where I fitted in.
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Old 08.08.2012, 19:36
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Re: Renting in/from a Genossenschaft

We are in a genossenschaft too, had an interview and at the end it was offered to us. We did not speak German and our interviewer did not speak English but we took along a Swiss friend and they basically had their own conversation going while we just sat there.
One of the things we were asked to do was be socially active within the block (14 appartments) which has been great since we were new to Switzerland and now know most of our neighbors. At least once a year we put on drinks and nibbles and also attend other events that other tenants put on.
We had to put down just over 4 months rent deposit plus first month but the good thing is we have just received our third notice (in 2 years) of a rent reduction. We love it here!
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