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Old 15.08.2013, 15:28
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Joint lease and related issues

Hello everybody
Once again I need your help. Here I posted a problem I was facing while looking for a flat in Zurich. Since then the situation has changed quite a lot, that's why I decided to open a new thread.

Now two "nachmieters" out of three (including me) are found and there is another person who would be willing to apply to the agency. Should he be accepted, we would then be ready to start a new contract. The issues with the kind of contract we have been offered are the following:

1) the lease would be joint, meaning - as far as I understand - that each of us would be responsible for the whole rent. We mutually agreed to sign among us (so not with the agency) some kind of document stating in full details who has to pay how much. They claim that such document would be legally binding in Switzerland: is that true? That would not be the case in my country, so I am little bit concerned.

2) we could terminate the lease only if EVERYBODY agrees and signs the relevant form (of course respecting the official deadlines). This is quite a general question, but would in your opinion be worth taking such a risk? Of course, if I wanted to quit the contract, I would only need to provide the agency with a solvent "nachmieter". Is that correct?

Any piece of advice is welcome
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Old 15.08.2013, 15:37
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Re: Joint lease and related issues

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Hello everybody
Once again I need your help. Here I posted a problem I was facing while looking for a flat in Zurich. Since then the situation has changed quite a lot, that's why I decided to open a new thread.

Now two "nachmieters" out of three (including me) are found and there is another person who would be willing to apply to the agency. Should he be accepted, we would then be ready to start a new contract. The issues with the kind of contract we have been offered are the following:

1) the lease would be joint, meaning - as far as I understand - that each of us would be responsible for the whole rent. We mutually agreed to sign among us (so not with the agency) some kind of document stating in full details who has to pay how much. They claim that such document would be legally binding in Switzerland: is that true? That would not be the case in my country, so I am little bit concerned.

2) we could terminate the lease only if EVERYBODY agrees and signs the relevant form (of course respecting the official deadlines). This is quite a general question, but would in your opinion be worth taking such a risk? Of course, if I wanted to quit the contract, I would only need to provide the agency with a solvent "nachmieter". Is that correct?

Any piece of advice is welcome
Not sure what you are asking in point 1. But yes, in a joint situation you are all named on the contract and all legally bound by it. An alternative would be having a lead tenant be the only named person on the contract and the lead tenant sub-leasing if the landlord would entertain that option.

There is sometimes more risk to that approach of sub lease but also more convenience if people are here short term when you plan long term etc so not having to keep rewriting joint contract etc.

As for no,2, I am currently in a joint contract. I believe, like my flat mate, they only have to give the appropriate notice and/or provide an adequate replacement. They can leave if they satisfy those requirements. I was not consulted or asked to grant permission, just told leaving on x date. I am unsure whether if no one is found (which is unlikely to be the case) where that leaves me, i.e. 100% responsible for rent or whether I would have to leave too.
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Old 15.08.2013, 15:43
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Re: Joint lease and related issues

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Not sure what you are asking in point 1. But yes, in a joint situation you are all named on the contract and all legally bound by it. An alternative would be having a lead tenant be the only named person on the contract and the lead tenant sub-leasing if the landlord would entertain that option.

There is sometimes more risk to that approach of sub lease but also more convenience if people are here short term when you plan long term etc so not having to keep rewriting joint contract etc.

As for no,2, I am currently in a joint contract. I believe, like my flat mate, they only have to give the appropriate notice and/or provide an adequate replacement. They can leave if they satisfy those requirements. I was not consulted or asked to grant permission, just told leaving on x date. I am unsure whether if no one is found (which is unlikely to be the case) where that leaves me, i.e. 100% responsible for rent or whether I would have to leave too.
AFAIK:

By all signing as joint tenants, it means all take the risk to ensure rent is paid per month (not just one).

In joint cases, where a flatmate gives sole notice, the other one remains in the property and becomes wholly responsible for rent unless a replacement is found and added to the contract.
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Old 15.08.2013, 15:46
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Re: Joint lease and related issues

Thank you for your reply.
Let me rephrase the first question in a more straightforward way: from the agency point of view, if one of us stops paying the rent, we would ALL be liable, not only the insolvent person. We were entertaining the idea of signing some form of contract among us basically stating how the rent is shared and that each of use would be responsible ONLY for his share. I was wondering whether such kind of agreement would be valid in a courthouse.
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Old 15.08.2013, 15:48
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Re: Joint lease and related issues

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Thank you for your reply.
Let me rephrase the first question in a more straightforward way: from the agency point of view, if one of us stops paying the rent, we would ALL be liable, not only the insolvent person. We were entertaining the idea of signing some form of contract among us basically stating how the rent is shared and that each of use would be responsible ONLY for his share. I was wondering whether such kind of agreement would be valid in a courthouse.
You would all be responsible.

If one person signs and lets out rooms, that person is responsible and that person alone.

Put yourself in the landlord's shoes. He wants paying - it's down to you three to ensure that happens.
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Old 15.08.2013, 15:52
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Re: Joint lease and related issues

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Thank you for your reply.
Let me rephrase the first question in a more straightforward way: from the agency point of view, if one of us stops paying the rent, we would ALL be liable, not only the insolvent person. We were entertaining the idea of signing some form of contract among us basically stating how the rent is shared and that each of use would be responsible ONLY for his share. I was wondering whether such kind of agreement would be valid in a courthouse.
you'd have to pay the LL and then have to sue your flatmates to pay your share.

the 'everybody has to agree to cancel' has caused problems before (search on this forum). basically, imagine the situation where one of the guys decides not to pay, and not to leave and refuses to sign anything but instead just lives there and lets the rest of you take the crap.

it seems to be common practice, but you need to trust the ones you are sharing with.
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Old 15.08.2013, 16:02
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Re: Joint lease and related issues

Also consider that often the landlord does not want separate payments. They want one payment of the total rent. So you will have to decide how to best coordinate that i.e. you set up an account to which you all pay into and the rent comes out of, or one of you takes the lead role and pays the full rent with the other tenants paying the lead person.

You wouldn't want to find yourself in a position whereby one or more of the persons does not pay into the account and the rent is not covered making you all liable and impacted by the default.
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Old 19.08.2013, 23:42
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Re: Joint lease and related issues

Today I did what I should have done weeks ago: I withdrew my application by making a phone call to the agency and sending them a cancellation letter via registered mail. The situation has been strange since the very beginning and I have now found a different solution (I am about to sign an "Untermiete" rent), so I send them to take a hike

I would nevertheless like to know your opinion about the following doubt I have. I have been told that a verbal agreement is legally binding in this country: since I told both the agency and to the persons currently living in the flat that I was willing to sign the lease, do you think they could sue me? I did search older posts in the forum, but I found different points of view about this matter
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