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alpbabe 17.11.2013 08:27

Who pays for a Schlichtungsverfahren
 
I moved in to what was supposed to be a "dream flat" 20 months ago but sadly there's been lot's of structural problems since shortly after moving in. The problems got worse over time and things recently escalated between the landlord and myself and she served me notice.

I then went to the local Schlichtungsbehörde who gave me advice on how to pursue the issue. Several letters went back and forth via the Schlichtungsbehörde who have now set a date in December for us to appear at their court and try to settle the matter.

Nothing has been said to me yet about costs for this whole process and I can't find anything where it says if either of us have to pay?? Does anyone know out there if there will be charges for this mediation session? If so, who pays?

fatmanfilms 17.11.2013 09:36

Re: Who pays for a Schlichtungsverfahren
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by alpbabe (Post 2022103)
I moved in to what was supposed to be a "dream flat" 20 months ago but sadly there's been lot's of structural problems since shortly after moving in. The problems got worse over time and things recently escalated between the landlord and myself and she served me notice.

I then went to the local Schlichtungsbehörde who gave me advice on how to pursue the issue. Several letters went back and forth via the Schlichtungsbehörde who have now set a date in December for us to appear at their court and try to settle the matter.

Nothing has been said to me yet about costs for this whole process and I can't find anything where it says if either of us have to pay?? Does anyone know out there if there will be charges for this mediation session? If so, who pays?

I believe it's free.

Holly210 17.11.2013 09:40

Re: Who pays for a Schlichtungsverfahren
 
Could you ask the Mieterverband this question? They might know.

miniMia 17.11.2013 11:02

Re: Who pays for a Schlichtungsverfahren
 
What is a Schlichtungsverfahren?

Maybe an short explanation could help others who might find themselves in a dispute with a landlord.

Simeon 17.11.2013 11:13

Re: Who pays for a Schlichtungsverfahren
 
It is a mediation.

I had to pay for the one I was involved in, and add the costs to my demand for compensation from the other party. I was also granted it by the mediator.

Perhaps this is Canton-dependent.

alpbabe 17.11.2013 12:24

Re: Who pays for a Schlichtungsverfahren
 
Hi there Simeon, Thank you for that. Maybe it is Kanton dependent. I'm in Bern so we'll see. Were the charges high though (roughly). Hope it wont cost me an arm and a leg like everything else over here.

On the other hand if I retroactively ask for a reduction in rent to the hassle I've had in the flat for the past 20 months that might cover the costs.

Simeon 17.11.2013 12:45

Re: Who pays for a Schlichtungsverfahren
 
My "Schlictungsverfahren" took place in Canton Schwyz, the home base of the "beklagte Partei" ( defendant). There it cost Fr. 200.

I don´t know much about landlord- tenant issues. There, I had very good luck in CH. I hope you can get a fair judgement.

SpillMoreOil 17.11.2013 13:01

Re: Who pays for a Schlichtungsverfahren
 
We went twice to the "Schlichtungsbehörde" in Zurich and didn’t have to pay anything. Once we had to claim our legal right to live longer in our former apartment. Our former landlord had send us a cancelation letter of the rental contract just 4 days before Christmas in 2010...We went to "Schlichtungsbehörde" in March 2011. Afterwards it turned out that our landlord didn’t even have a permission to tear down the house and build a new one (that was the official reason for our cancelation)…
The 2nd time we went there to claim some sum of our rent back as we moved out this year in August. Here we succeeded only a little bit. In the end we got 25% back.
But most important: we didn’t have to pay anything for these "Schlichtungsverfahren". Only if you take it further to the next step (which is the court aka "Mietgericht") then you most likely have to pay for the court costs (depending on what kind of legal insurance you have + if you in the end have right or not).

I hope I could help you to have a clearer overview.

Cheers

alpbabe 18.11.2013 10:30

Re: Who pays for a Schlichtungsverfahren
 
Thank you Spillmoreoil. I'll post an update after the 12th December when I have my hearing.

It's definitely a good system to have in place but I hope I don't have to use them again. I'd just rather have piece and quiet where I'm living:msncrazy:

Mrs. Doolittle 18.11.2013 18:03

Re: Who pays for a Schlichtungsverfahren
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by alpbabe (Post 2022703)
Thank you Spillmoreoil. I'll post an update after the 12th December when I have my hearing.

It's definitely a good system to have in place but I hope I don't have to use them again. I'd just rather have piece and quiet where I'm living:msncrazy:

I have been (more than once) and there were no costs for the session.

If you take an expert with you, they may charge you.

Each party is assigned someone who is supposed to represent them. The landlord's representative is usually someone who works in property management. If you German is not adequate to argue, consider taking someone who can argue for you.

Keep in mind this is not court and the parties are meant to try and resolve matters. Most landlords are keen to start getting their rent money paid to them personally.

What I can tell you is that by the the time you get to this stage the relationship between tenant and landlord is so acrimoniuos that living in peace afterwards is rarely possible.

Good luck with this and hope you have a favourable outcome.

alpbabe 12.12.2013 18:36

Re: Who pays for a Schlichtungsverfahren
 
So my mediation session was today and it went really well. It was in Thun and there were no charges for the process. The landlord took the notice back and I can stay in the apartment. The work to repair the faulty floor will take place and during this time I will find alternative accommodation, not pay rent or utilities and can move right back in as soon as the work is completed. :) Result!

Nyonais 12.12.2013 18:48

Re: Who pays for a Schlichtungsverfahren
 
Isn't this "Schlichtungsverfahren" applicable to all sorts of disputes and not only landlord-tenant disputes? As I understand, this a step before going the actual Legal route.

alpbabe 12.12.2013 20:10

Re: Who pays for a Schlichtungsverfahren
 
as I understood it you can go to the Schlichtungsamt for anything but will have to pay for certain things if it comes to a mediation session like mine today. I didn't have to pay because rental issues are covered for free. If we hadn't have come to an agreement though it would have gone to court and then of course fees would have been applied.

CliiniMuus 09.07.2021 15:31

Re: Who pays for a Schlichtungsverfahren
 
I have a few questions about alpbabe's last few posts. I wonder if someone wcan help me.



Her landlord took the notice back during the session. Could he also have done this beforehand, before they had the session, rendering the session unnecessary?


Is the next step to court something that's chosen, or something that automatically happens when the parties cannot agree (even if the parties don't request it)? Alpbabe mentions "it would have gone to court", which leads me to believe there's no choice involved.

Urs Max 09.07.2021 18:30

Re: Who pays for a Schlichtungsverfahren
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by CliiniMuus (Post 3326506)
Could he also have done this beforehand, before they had the session, rendering the session unnecessary?

Only if both parties are Ok with that.
Notice given is binding, but as usual pretty much anything goes as long as all involved agree.
Quote:

Originally Posted by CliiniMuus (Post 3326506)
Is the next step to court something that's chosen, or something that automatically happens when the parties cannot agree (even if the parties don't request it)? Alpbabe mentions "it would have gone to court", which leads me to believe there's no choice involved.

Neither happens automatically.

In my experience a Schlichtungsbehörde also provides free advice, without (or before) having been called upon as an arbiter.

Either party need to call on the Schlichtungsbehörde (SB), which mediates to find an agreement. The main aim is to find an agreement, not to get the maximum for either party. Only with their recommendation in hand can a matter be taken to court (Mietgericht), which is also a deliberate action. Usually, a canton has more than one SB, with each responsible for a certain area; it looks like BS is an exception to that rule.

swisspea 10.07.2021 00:16

Re: Who pays for a Schlichtungsverfahren
 
In my experience, forcing mediation is a way of also forcing both sides to do their homework and think about a solution, instead of endless avoidance, fantasy thinking or irritating argument with no purpose...



:D

doropfiz 10.07.2021 04:24

Re: Who pays for a Schlichtungsverfahren
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by CliiniMuus (Post 3326506)
Her landlord took the notice back during the session. Could he also have done this beforehand, before they had the session, rendering the session unnecessary?

Yes, I believe they could have made any better arrangement before the session.

We went to a Schlichtungsbehörde and were represented, there, by a lawyer of the Mieterverband (= tenants' association). Getting that free lawyer for the matter is part of the insured benefits for members of the Mieterverband.

The reason the matter got as far as it did was because the landlord made demands, we asked for something else, and nothing budged.

When we arrived on the day, though, and greeted the other side's lawyer and the landlord, while we were still standing in the passageway, our lawyer asked his opponent: "I'd just like to know: have you perhaps reconsidered any part of the matter, such that we could perhaps reach a compromise, right now? Could we settle one or more of the points here, before we go in?" Although the other lawyer declined, he did not seem surprised by the question. It seemed that they both deemed that to be a reasonable way to go about matters.

doropfiz 10.07.2021 04:43

Re: Who pays for a Schlichtungsverfahren
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by CliiniMuus (Post 3326506)
Is the next step to court something that's chosen, or something that automatically happens when the parties cannot agree (even if the parties don't request it)? Alpbabe mentions "it would have gone to court", which leads me to believe there's no choice involved.

No. There is definitely a choice involved. Ideally, the Schlichtungsbehörde succeeds in guiding both sides through a process of mediation, such that each side may compromise a bit, so that the matter can be settled in reasonable way. The whole purpose of the Schlichtungsbehörde is to help people avoid going to Court.

Take, for example, Party A, convinced of his position and arrived at the Schlichtungsbehörde determined to fight for his rights, but then actually did listen and learn that his position has no substance since he had mistakenly based his assumptions on something other than the local law. He might have been ready to go to Court, but then, having been persuaded of his error, he could back down and settle for a less advantageous arrangement.

Alternatively, perhaps during the proceedings it becomes clear that Party A is insisting on something that makes no sense and has no legal basis, and the officers of the Schlichtungsbehörde set this out clearly, yet Party A persists, then Party B will know that, no matter what, the case is likely to be going to Court. I say "likely" because Party A will push it there, since he wants to insist. In a clear-cut case (and most are not, after all), Party B will know they'll have to sit it out and go through all the effort of the Court Case, and do all that work which will cost them, even though they are fairly certain of victory. In that case, Party B might consider - even though they know they're in the right - giving up some of their rights and conceding to some or all of what Party A wants, whatever it would take to settle with and be rid of Party B, and to prevent Court costs escalating. They could offer to do that, and Party A could accept, any time before, during or after the Schichtungsbehörde hearing.

To go to Court is a slow procedure, and one's file has to chug through the waiting list before the Court gets around to dealing with it. At any point along the way, the parties could settle, by one party giving in completely or partially to the other parties demands. As soon as they have a signed agreement that they've worked out a settlement, they no longer need the Court, and can withdraw the matter from Court.

CliiniMuus 10.07.2021 16:30

Re: Who pays for a Schlichtungsverfahren
 
Thank you, doropfiz, especially for the party A and B explanation, as that's so easy for everyone to follow (making it really useful for discussion now, and as a future reference material).


In case you can share further, did your matter end at mediation, or in court, and how was the entire experience from your perspective? Was it you who requested the mediation, or the landlord? Was either side caught unawares by the mediation? How was the relationship once the dust settled? Feel free to ignore these questions, if you'd like to keep all this private.



Of course the other significant consideration pertaining to a slow court process, is any financial loss or loss of opportunity waiting for the court might result in, and whether the aftermath of that would be worth any perceived win (I think everyone loses in conflicts to different degrees).


I wonder if some landlords end up in mediation and court a lot.

doropfiz 10.07.2021 18:08

Re: Who pays for a Schlichtungsverfahren
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by CliiniMuus (Post 3326737)
Thank you, doropfiz, especially for the party A and B explanation, as that's so easy for everyone to follow (making it really useful for discussion now, and as a future reference material).

I hope so. Thank you.

Quote:

Originally Posted by CliiniMuus (Post 3326737)
I wonder if some landlords end up in mediation and court a lot.

Yes, I think some landlords (and indeed some tenants) are habitual offenders.

For so many, many years, the landlords were necessarily always the stronger party, but since the Mieterverband (in German) and ASLOCA (in French and Italian) became established, there's at least a fairly good lobby for the tenants. I'd heartily recommend that every tenant joins this association which can provide a lot of help for a relatively low annual fee.

For the landlords, there is the HEV, and also Casafair, where they, too, can get legal guidance to make sure they're doing the right thing.

In a certain sense, these Tenants' Associations try to prevent a matter even getting as far as the Schlichtungsbehörde. They do that by explaining the law very clearly, to the tenants, and trying to nip any silly aspirations in the bud. If their legal experts see that the tenant has a point, then they will tell the tenant what to write to the landlords, and tell them which laws apply to the matter. In one case in which I was involved, the law was clearly 100% on the side of the tenant but the landlord would not pay up. Persistent letters naming the laws did, after about six months, (tenant going back to the Mieteverband each time to ask what to write in the next letter) finally cause the landlord to buckle and pay the tenant what was due... and all that without getting even as far as the Schlichtungsbehörde. In that case, the relationship was not tarnished at all, as the landlord conceded and paid up, and the tenants continued to stay there for many years.

doropfiz 10.07.2021 18:10

Re: Who pays for a Schlichtungsverfahren
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by CliiniMuus (Post 3326737)
Of course the other significant consideration pertaining to a slow court process, is any financial loss or loss of opportunity waiting for the court might result in, and whether the aftermath of that would be worth any perceived win (I think everyone loses in conflicts to different degrees).

I agree with you that most conflicts, unless they are completely clear with no doubt about the situation, and even in that case unless the other party can be brought to understand why they are wholly in the wrong, very often end up causing damage and loss to both parties. Worse, since realistically, very rarely is any case so absolute. Landlords and tenants may very well have good reason to complain about each others' behaviour or payments, and this is especially so once they're both annoyed, and forget to even try to find the will to cooperate.

For this reason, some conflicts are, in my opinion, worth walking away from, and cutting one's losses.

On the other hand, I also have a friend who will quibble with the supermarket cashier if the 50% sticker on his yoghurt won't register on her till and he's told to pay the full 70 Rappen. And he genuinely feels much better when she gets her supervisor who manually overrides the till's programming and gives him back his 35 Rappen. I knew a divorced couple who were still fighting each other in court about maintenance payments for their children by the time these children had grown up and made them grandparents. I can't be dealing with life like that. Each person has to know their own limits, of course, and assess how much effort they're willing to make, and how much time and money they're prepared to spend on their quest to be proved right (if that is, in fact, possible), and what the other kind of loss will mean to them, for example the bad feeling of not having stood up for oneself and spoken out what was true and right.

Specifically in Switzerland, as opposed to some other countries, it's worth knowing that the losses for which one can sue are almost always only the real, factual money that one didn't get and was due, or had to spend extra because of someone else's failing, and in many cases even these amounts have guidelines. The Swiss system doesn't generally award large sums for compensation on an emotional or psychological level, so hardly ever will any party be made to pay to make up for "pain and suffering" or "loss of dignity" or "inconvenience". Just the actual bills related to the actual matter.

doropfiz 10.07.2021 18:10

Re: Who pays for a Schlichtungsverfahren
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by CliiniMuus (Post 3326737)
In case you can share further, did your matter end at mediation, or in court, and how was the entire experience from your perspective? Was it you who requested the mediation, or the landlord? Was either side caught unawares by the mediation? How was the relationship once the dust settled? Feel free to ignore these questions, if you'd like to keep all this private.

I don't really know how one could be caught unawares by the mediation, at least not unless one has been refusing the correspondence beforehand. By the time that hearing is to be had, one has had a chance to try to sort things out without having to go to the Schlichtungsbehörde.

In our case, the Mieterverband was sure we were right about at least most of what we were claiming, and taught us the flat truth about the parts we'd overestimated. So it was the Mieterverband lawyer who asked for the mediation, having helped us to work through a number of possible outcomes, and to moderate our expectations. We had worked out how much our overall loss (and inconvenience) would be if we lost everything, and he told us how he would lead us, and we had agreed with him, in advance, on what he could concede.

The landlord arrived scoffing and blustering, and while my lawyer was asking if we could settle any part, the landlord, instead, tried to intimidate us into withdrawing our claim before we went into the room. Our lawyer just took the landlord's words, and phrased them in terms of the law, saying: "Mr Landlordname says you should give up on your claim, the one you have in terms of Article...., where it states that.... because he thinks you're likely to lose everything. However, given that Article... and Article... both say that...... do you have any reason to want to concede what you probably have a good case of keeping?"

As some point in the hearing, the lawyer said he wanted to talk to us alone, so we were granted permissing to use another side office for a few minutes, while he explained some aspect to us. We could have requested that, too, had we wanted to, and it would have been granted us.

In our case, the end result of the mediation was that we agreed to move out, but the Mediator made it very clear that we had done no wrong and didn't have to go. We just wanted out, by then. However, the landlord was told to leave us in peace, and given how angry he was, that in itself was a shield worth gaining. Besides, we got it all on our terms, in the sense of being granted protection to not have to vacate if we didn't want to, not for the next year, and also permission to give a mere fortnight's or month's notice (I can't remember) to leave whenever we wanted. That took a lot of pressure off us, which was the main benefit. We gained time and quiet. When, after some months, we found another place we liked, we could just move and stop paying, except for those remaining weeks.

The only small regret we had, later, was that we had not thought, at the time, to negotiate that we could give the apartment back without doing a full clean. The landlord was a strange case. His whole anger was because of a misjudgment on his part, through which he had confused us with someone else. Even when the mediator proved his error to him by making him peruse the documents with all the names, he just couldn't let go of his anger and froth. Since he so vehemently wanted us out, no matter what, he might even have agreed to just getting his keys back and letting us walk away. That would have really been the cherry on the top. As it was, of course we left everything in good order and properly cleaned.

CliiniMuus 11.07.2021 15:44

Re: Who pays for a Schlichtungsverfahren
 
Thank you again for all the time you're spending explaining all of this. It's very informative, and I appreciate your time and energy. I am very sorry you went through that, as I am sure it was painful, and noone escapes unscathed from conflicts, I think.

------------------

My feeling is that a lot of people have no clue about it, until they learn about it through problems (like so many governmental systems - either their own problems, or problems people close to them experience and tell them about). If they never have problems, and noone else close to them does either, they never hear about it. No criticism should be implied - a person needs to focus their energy and time on things that matter in any given moment, and can't possibly focus on everything.



My other feeling is there's a fear of such governmental systems, that repels people, and makes any mention of them difficult.


When I am volunteering, I see how much fear people have of any official letters they receive, and how ready they are to pay any amount of money out, to stop the problem theiy perceive they now have from escalating.


I've been approached a few times by people on the street who'd normally come to us through volunteering, who were so afraid of a letter they'd received, they didn't feel they could wait to get help.


I hear regularly stories of stubborn, private landlords, who simply ignore the law, and state their opinions on matters (with the belief that most renters will comply out of fear). Sometimes in volunteering, I am supporting people in the aftermath of disputes, who moved out, out of fear of consequences. Such landlords are so brash and uncouth, as to gleefully hang over the heads of renters that "it's better that you leave".



It's an uphill struggle to cope with a conflict, to deal with instability in one's living situation (a primal need), and then to try to understand it all in an unfamiliar language (whether the native language is a dialogue like Swiss German, or a language like Arabic), whilst friends and acquaintances ooh and ahh dramatically with every twist and turn (which only adds to the level of anxiety, but carrying it all alone is also pretty awful).


I think a lot of people struggle to back-down when they're wrong. You'll see it on this site, too - no apologising for wrongdoing, no apologising for hurt caused. We're pretty entrenched in being right, to our detriment. Your landlord's behaviour is pretty common and human sadly, I reckon.


I agree wholeheartedly about picking and choosing one's fights. I know people who are ready for a fight at any moment, and they're unhappy, and constantly on alert. They miss a lot of life's joys, and they don't seem to ever feel at peace.

doropfiz 12.07.2021 03:11

Re: Who pays for a Schlichtungsverfahren
 
Specifically with regard to tenants: too many do not know that they should get themselves a membership of the Mieterverband or ASLOCA. Having that would save so many people so much trouble, as members have free access to legal advice with regard to their tenancy. It helps to get one's facts straight, and certainly helped us not to have unreasonable expectations of our perceived rights, and to know when it would be better to insist, and when better concede some parts, even when we were in the right.

Getting into difficulties with one's landlord can happen to even the most law-abiding, reasonable people. But especially if a person's behaviour, temperament, background or disabilities could predispose them to getting into conflicts, this service really can bring great relief, and prevent trouble.

Membership costs Fr. 95 a year, which is very cheap for the amount of services they provide. Even so, that can be quite a lot for someone who is living on unemployment benefits from a low salary, needs to be on social security, or who has a low pension. In such cases, the membership might be a kind gift. I wonder whether an organisation could be found, to donate or subsidise membership in such cases.

besmegenis 12.07.2021 11:38

Re: Who pays for a Schlichtungsverfahren
 
Those stickers are there for a reason! :msnsarcastic:

Quote:

Originally Posted by doropfiz (Post 3326756)

On the other hand, I also have a friend who will quibble with the supermarket cashier if the 50% sticker on his yoghurt won't register on her till and he's told to pay the full 70 Rappen.


doropfiz 12.07.2021 14:25

Re: Who pays for a Schlichtungsverfahren
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by besmegenis (Post 3327223)
Those stickers are there for a reason! :msnsarcastic:

Yes, of course. I gave that example to show how we each have our own personal cut-off point, of when we think the effort is worth it. While one person would think and feel that the time is well invested, to push through and assert his rights, even if it takes a while, someone else (in the example of the 70 Rappen yoghurt with a 50% sticker, that's me) would prefer to spend less time (which I find more precious) involved in the interaction, and would rather just concede so as to move on, sooner.

This principle applies to any kind of mediation or legal wrangling. Neither way of proceding is necessarily right or wrong, and of course it depends on the situation and potential outcome... and a lot on one's personal preferences and temperament.

CliiniMuus 13.07.2021 15:17

Re: Who pays for a Schlichtungsverfahren
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by doropfiz (Post 3327287)
Yes, of course. I gave that example to show how we each have our own personal cut-off point, of when we think the effort is worth it. While one person would think and feel that the time is well invested, to push through and assert his rights, even if it takes a while, someone else (in the example of the 70 Rappen yoghurt with a 50% sticker, that's me) would prefer to spend less time (which I find more precious) involved in the interaction, and would rather just concede so as to move on, sooner.

This principle applies to any kind of mediation or legal wrangling. Neither way of proceding is necessarily right or wrong, and of course it depends on the situation and potential outcome... and a lot on one's personal preferences and temperament.


Also energy and effort, conscious we have limited reserves of each of those, as well as time. It's impossible to fight everything, assuming the same person also wants to foster love and friendships, and pursue hobbies amd futher education, and be at peace sometimes, and so we must choose which hill we'd be willing to die on.


I've found the question "is it important to be right, or is it important to be happy?" often valuable to reflect on, when petty disputes inevitably arise.



A person can miss-out on a lot of life, by fixating on "winning", as it pertains to incidental bumps. The yoghurt situation can easily consume half an hour. It could result in ranting at loved ones and being short-tempered with them. It could make a person late for dinner, or leave them feeling devoid of the will to sit and watch the sun go down, because they are still feeling so fired-up about the injustice.


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