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Old 23.07.2013, 13:56
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Giving 'early termination' of lease - question about letter and possible rent change

I know similar questions have been asked before but all the examples I found on here were in German which isn't much good for me living in Vaud!

I'm moving out of my apartment to share a friend's place. I want to give notice for the 1st October - I will probably physically move earlier, but I want plenty of time to clean up the flat and find a replacement tenant.

Ironically my notice date IS the 1st of October... but I have to give 4 months notice, and this possibility didn't arise until mid-June.

So I know I need to give notice of early termination of my lease and advertise to find replacement tenants who will take on the lease on my terms.

I've found a sample letter on comparis.ch, but there's one line I'm not sure about (I've put it in bold):


Quote:
Résiliation extraordinaire du contrat de bail : n° de contrat/descriptif à la adresse

Madame ou Monsieur,
J'ai le regret de vous annoncer, par la présente, ma résiliation du contrat de bail susmentionné (y compris place de stationnement), daté du date, et ce au date. Comme je dois déménager pour des raisons professionnelles/familiales (éventuellement citer les motifs), je me trouve dans l'impossibilité de respecter les délais de résiliation.

Je vais rechercher de nouveaux locataires adéquats et vous faire parvenir leurs dossiers de candidature.

Veuillez m'informer au plus vite de la date de l'état des lieux de sortie.

Je vous remercie de notre relation contractuelle agréable et vous prie d'agréer
mes salutations les meilleures.
My translation is:

Quote:
Dear Sir, Madam,

I regret to inform you that I wish to cancel my rental contract with you, dated on date, as of the date. As I have to move for X reasons, I find myself unable to give the correct notice period.

I will look for new tenants and will send you their applications.

Please inform me as soon as possible of the handover date.

Thank you for the good contractual relationship we have had, blah, blah, blah...
Is this really correct in saying that I have to not only advertise for new tenants, but also collect all their paperwork (application forms, payslips, letter saying they have no debts etc...) and send it to the agency myself???

I have never, ever heard of someone having to do that. When I've looked at apartments (and I'm sure they can't all have been people leaving at the correct time, with the rental market being what it is), the most I've ever been given is an application form and I've been asked to leave my name and details and indicate if I'm going to apply or not. Sometimes all I've been given is a card with the agency's details on it.

Can anyone advise me? I really, really don't want to land myself with a lot of extra work.

I also have a second question. My rent was supposed to go up this October and the agency forgot to do so (having left me worrying about it for a year). So I'm wondering if when I hand my notice in they'll think 'Oh, we never did put the rent up on that apartment... lets do that now!' If that happens, am I released from all liability to find a new tenant as the apartment won't be being let on the same conditions any more?

Thanks... I'm counting on this forum to keep me kind of sane over the next few months!
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Old 23.07.2013, 14:10
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Re: Giving 'early termination' of lease - question about letter and possible rent cha

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So I know I need to give notice of early termination of my lease and advertise to find replacement tenants who will take on the lease on my terms.

I've found a sample letter on comparis.ch, but there's one line I'm not sure about (I've put it in bold):




My translation is:



Is this really correct in saying that I have to not only advertise for new tenants, but also collect all their paperwork (application forms, payslips, letter saying they have no debts etc...) and send it to the agency myself???

I have never, ever heard of someone having to do that. When I've looked at apartments (and I'm sure they can't all have been people leaving at the correct time, with the rental market being what it is), the most I've ever been given is an application form and I've been asked to leave my name and details and indicate if I'm going to apply or not. Sometimes all I've been given is a card with the agency's details on it.

Can anyone advise me? I really, really don't want to land myself with a lot of extra work.


Thanks... I'm counting on this forum to keep me kind of sane over the next few months!
Your translation is absolutely correct. Both situations exist ( ie applicants give their applications to you to pass on or they apply directly) so I don't know which method your agency would prefer.
Having said that what you posted is only a sample letter so in your shoes I would send your letter and miss that bit out. If your agency require you to collect the applications and send they on they will inform you when they have received your letter I would imagine.

Sorry I can't help with the second question but I'm sure somebody will be along shortly to help you there.
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Old 23.07.2013, 14:38
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Re: Giving 'early termination' of lease - question about letter and possible rent cha

You just have to send in the applications, not do the tenant vetting. But yes you have to advertise, do viewings and ask them to fill out an application form.

Four months notice is somewhat atypical, its generally three to end of a quarter except Dec. Someone else may advise if its nevertheless "kosher".
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Old 23.07.2013, 14:56
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Re: Giving 'early termination' of lease - question about letter and possible rent cha

A good thing about collecting applications yourself to send on to the agency is that you know about the applications and are somewhat in control of the situation, whilst you are still liable to find the new tenant.

If the new tenants apply directly to the landlord/agency, or you don't keep a record of applicants you have found, an unscrupulous landlord could deny having received an application, or deny that an application was suitable, or claim that you have not supplied them with a viable new tenant therefore are still liable.

By law you are required to find one suitable (usually means financially viable) tenant willing to take the apartment on at the same conditions. But again you're recommended to find several prospective tenants, in case the landlord finds legitimate reason to reject anyone.

The advice of the tenant's association is as follows (link here with sample forms/letters in German, sorry I don't understand French, but presumably similar information exists in the romandie tenant's association site http://www.asloca.ch/):
  • inform the landlord of your early termination
  • immediate search for new tenants
  • show the prospective tenants the apartment and inform them of the current contractual rental conditions
  • have the interested parties confirm their interest by filling in and signing an application form (example in the link above)
  • immediately send the completed application form(s) by registered post to the landlord (keep hold of the post receipt and a copy of the form and letter).
  • after a few days, make contact with the applicants and enquire as to the decision of the landlord.
  • obtain written confirmation from the applicants if they were turned down by the landlord, or if the behaviour of the landlord hindered a new contract.
  • after around 10 days, ask for a written confirmation from the landlord that you have been released from your contract.
Hopefully it all runs smoothly for you, but there are plenty of difficult landlords and agencies out there, so always keep a paper trail: meaning written confirmation, registered post, etc..
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Old 23.07.2013, 16:24
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Re: Giving 'early termination' of lease - question about letter and possible rent cha

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Your translation is absolutely correct. Both situations exist ( ie applicants give their applications to you to pass on or they apply directly) so I don't know which method your agency would prefer.
Having said that what you posted is only a sample letter so in your shoes I would send your letter and miss that bit out. If your agency require you to collect the applications and send they on they will inform you when they have received your letter I would imagine.

Sorry I can't help with the second question but I'm sure somebody will be along shortly to help you there.
Thanks for the advise. That was what I was hoping someone would say!

Quote:
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You just have to send in the applications, not do the tenant vetting. But yes you have to advertise, do viewings and ask them to fill out an application form.

Four months notice is somewhat atypical, its generally three to end of a quarter except Dec. Someone else may advise if its nevertheless "kosher".
I know from Asloca my current contract is a little atypical. But all they told me to do was to be more careful next time so I assume it is legal.

Quote:
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A good thing about collecting applications yourself to send on to the agency is that you know about the applications and are somewhat in control of the situation, whilst you are still liable to find the new tenant.

If the new tenants apply directly to the landlord/agency, or you don't keep a record of applicants you have found, an unscrupulous landlord could deny having received an application, or deny that an application was suitable, or claim that you have not supplied them with a viable new tenant therefore are still liable.

By law you are required to find one suitable (usually means financially viable) tenant willing to take the apartment on at the same conditions. But again you're recommended to find several prospective tenants, in case the landlord finds legitimate reason to reject anyone.

The advice of the tenant's association is as follows (link here with sample forms/letters in German, sorry I don't understand French, but presumably similar information exists in the romandie tenant's association site http://www.asloca.ch/):
  • inform the landlord of your early termination
  • immediate search for new tenants
  • show the prospective tenants the apartment and inform them of the current contractual rental conditions
  • have the interested parties confirm their interest by filling in and signing an application form (example in the link above)
  • immediately send the completed application form(s) by registered post to the landlord (keep hold of the post receipt and a copy of the form and letter).
  • after a few days, make contact with the applicants and enquire as to the decision of the landlord.
  • obtain written confirmation from the applicants if they were turned down by the landlord, or if the behaviour of the landlord hindered a new contract.
  • after around 10 days, ask for a written confirmation from the landlord that you have been released from your contract.
Hopefully it all runs smoothly for you, but there are plenty of difficult landlords and agencies out there, so always keep a paper trail: meaning written confirmation, registered post, etc..
Thank you so much for this. There is nothing as useful as that on the French site (not that I could find), and as I've had really poor face-to-face service from my local branch of Asloca in the past (fiddling with smart phone, staring around the room, yawning and failing to give me important information), I didn't want to waste my time visiting them again!

Do you mean I just have to get applicants to fill out an application form and send those off? What about the rest of the dossier? I didn't think filling out just the form was enough to apply for an apartment. Perhaps your link has a different kind of application form - a statement of interest? But as I said there's nothing like that on the Asloca website that I can find.
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Old 23.07.2013, 16:42
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Re: Giving 'early termination' of lease - question about letter and possible rent cha

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Do you mean I just have to get applicants to fill out an application form and send those off? What about the rest of the dossier? I didn't think filling out just the form was enough to apply for an apartment. Perhaps your link has a different kind of application form - a statement of interest? But as I said there's nothing like that on the Asloca website that I can find.
The sample application form via the link I gave before is a simple application form summarising the apartment info (rent, additional costs, moving in date) and the prospective tenant's details. Then at the bottom a signed declaration stating that they have viewed the apartment and are prepared to take over the apartment on the stated date at the pre-existing conditions. It is not binding, i.e. as the page I linked to warns, it doesn't prevent the prospective tenant pulling out at a later date, e.g. if they change their mind, or find another apartment in the meantime.

An alternative is to ask your landlord or agency for a copy of their standard application form and make some photocopies for your prospective tenants to fill out.

Certainly other supporting documents, such as the statement of no debts, will help an application and speed up the process so the landlord doesn't then have to chase up this extra paperwork to assess an applicant's suitability.

I've been through this tenant-hunting process a couple of times myself, and to be honest, in my experience anyone who is serious about their application will more than likely already be forthcoming with all necessary supporting documents (particularly the statement of no debts, as I believe that's pretty standard) so it's not really much more hassle on your part to collect that too, or request them to send it on to the landlord themself after giving you the confirmation you need of their application.
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Old 23.07.2013, 17:04
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Re: Giving 'early termination' of lease - question about letter and possible rent cha

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Four months notice is somewhat atypical, its generally three to end of a quarter except Dec. Someone else may advise if its nevertheless "kosher".
It is "kosher". Anything less than three months would be "treif"

Swiss Code of Obligations:
Art. 266a
Quote:
II. Notice of termination and termination dates

1. In general

1 The parties may give notice to terminate a lease of indefinite duration by observing the legally prescribed notice periods and termination dates, except where they have agreed a longer notice period or a different termination date.

2 Where the prescribed notice period or termination date is not observed, termination will be effective as of the next termination date.
and Art. 266c
Quote:
3. Residential premises

A party may terminate a lease of residential premises by giving three months' notice expiring on a date fixed by local custom or, in the absence of such custom, at the end of a three-month period of the lease.
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Old 23.07.2013, 23:44
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Re: Giving 'early termination' of lease - question about letter and possible rent cha

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It is "kosher". Anything less than three months would be "treif"

Thanks for adding about 50% to my Yiddish vocabulary! You're a mensch. Oops perhaps it was only 33%.
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Old 26.07.2013, 19:39
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Re: Giving 'early termination' of lease - question about letter and possible rent cha

Just to update all the kind people who helped me...

I took the letter (minus the line about collecting dossiers from new tenants) into my rental agency by hand on Wednesday morning. Decided to take it in by hand as opposed to sending it recorded delivery as a) the template said I could, and b) I had some questions and it seemed like the best way to get answers.

Agency were fine about it, dated, signed and stamped letter (and 2 copies) to prove it had been handed in.

This morning, I got a letter from the agency telling me they are releasing me from my contract from the 1st October, with no obligation for me to find a new tenant - I just have to co-operate with them for visits.

Only thing I'm a little surprised by is they've sent me a 'Départ' form which I have to get signed by my local contrôle des habitants. Now I knew I had to do this but I thought I had until 8 days before departure - the agency want it by return of post! Also they've got my contrôle des habitants wrong. But I guess I'll just take it along to the correct location on Monday and see what they say there.

Thanks again everyone.
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Old 26.07.2013, 20:44
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Re: Giving 'early termination' of lease - question about letter and possible rent cha

You need to send the departure form to the agency but you also need to go to the controle des habitants to de-register from the old address, but that you can do when you move out.
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