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Old 13.02.2017, 00:26
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I think my rent is too high... Can I ask for a rebate?

Hello guys

I moved to a new flat in September 2016...
The flat is a 40 sq m 1.5 room flat, the area (kreis 3) is supposed not to be expensive... I pay 1500 CHF.

I didn't find the rent too expensive at the beginning, but :
- Just after discussing with some of my neighbour, I realised they paid 300 chf for 2 additional rooms...
- The previous rent was 1000 CHF... according to the "Formular zur Mitteilung des anfangsmietzinses"... OK, the tenant was there since 1997 but still...

I feel a little bit disappointed.

Do you think there is any action I could take with the Mieter Verband to decrease the rent? Is it a completely lost cause?
I know that normally you have 30 days to ask for rebate when you come to a new flat... I didn't do this because I didn't know that it was possible at the time.

Thank you in advance!
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Old 13.02.2017, 00:36
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Re: I think my rent is too high... Can I ask for a rebate?

You're an adult, you should have done your due diligence before and not after making a contract. He's not doing anything illegal and the price is not absurd. Pricey yes but there's no wrongdoing on his/her part.

Suck it up or find another place.
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Old 13.02.2017, 00:40
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Re: I think my rent is too high... Can I ask for a rebate?

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Hello guys

I moved to a new flat in September 2016...
The flat is a 40 sq m 1.5 room flat, the area (kreis 3) is supposed not to be expensive... I pay 1500 CHF.

I didn't find the rent too expensive at the beginning, but :
- Just after discussing with some of my neighbour, I realised they paid 300 chf for 2 additional rooms...
- The previous rent was 1000 CHF... according to the "Formular zur Mitteilung des anfangsmietzinses"... OK, the tenant was there since 1997 but still...

I feel a little bit disappointed.

Do you think there is any action I could take with the Mieter Verband to decrease the rent? Is it a completely lost cause?
I know that normally you have 30 days to ask for rebate when you come to a new flat... I didn't do this because I didn't know that it was possible at the time.

Thank you in advance!
Smaller flats are often comparatively more expensive than larger ones. They all have kitchen and bathrooms etc. etc. - that's what does it.
It does sound expensive to me too but hey, you live in Zurich So the best place to ask is directly at Mieterverband, instead of speculating here.
Good luck.
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Old 13.02.2017, 00:52
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Re: I think my rent is too high... Can I ask for a rebate?

Too late, practically no chance. Cancel and find a cheaper flat if you think it's too high.

IMHO it's on the higher side of the market range, but not particularly excessive.

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- Just after discussing with some of my neighbour, I realised they paid 300 chf for 2 additional rooms...
What your neighbor pays for a 3.5 room apartment is irrelevant and not a reason to reduce your rent.

To prove that a rent is abusive in the sense of Art. 269 OR, for a start, you need multiple data points - at least 5 comparable objects of similar size (so, rent for 2 more rooms is irrelevant), similar location, similar condition and construction period (so, old unrenovated, old renovated, new construction are not comparable with each other), similar comfort/furnishing level.

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- The previous rent was 1000 CHF... according to the "Formular zur Mitteilung des anfangsmietzinses"... OK, the tenant was there since 1997 but still...
And market prices have skyrocketed since then. Also did the landlord do any renovations after the last tenant moved out? That'd be a good reason to jack up the prices and will stick in court.

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I know that normally you have 30 days to ask for rebate when you come to a new flat... I didn't do this because I didn't know that it was possible at the time.
It is mentioned in the Formular. That's the whole point of it - to let you know and give a chance to fight the initial rent.
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Old 13.02.2017, 01:16
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Re: I think my rent is too high... Can I ask for a rebate?

a) sounds like a normal rate for Kreis 3, high enough, sure, but not ridiculously overpriced. A quick search on homegate reveals that every apartment in that area costs about that much, even those with less space
b) if you think it's too expensive, why did you sign in the first place?
c) rent reductions are as good as impossible even with the best of arguments. "my neighbour pays XYZ" is likely not an argument. You can inquire with the MV, but I wouldn't expect too much of it.
d) you will find that the difference between small flats (up to 2.5 rooms) and larger ones (3.5 rooms and up) is often marginal and disproportionate
e) if the previous tenant was in there for 20 years, a rent increase makes obviously sense. Prices have exploded since the late 90s. Whether 1/3 more is justified or not (to me it doesn't sound unusual) partly depends on whether some renovations have been made or not, though even if not, the above points still stand.
f) if you think you overpay, move. Given the difficulty of finding apartments in that price range in Zurich, you may well be better off staying where you are though, not sure the 50 bucks less you may pay elsewhere are worth the hassle
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Old 13.02.2017, 07:44
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Hi Nobother,
I would give it a try, you have nothing to lose.

Our Swiss neighbours, in the apartment below us, approached our rental Company to request a rent reduction.

She told me afew months after myself and my partner had moved in that they had seen our place on the Homegate website for 500chf less than they were paying so she approached the rental company and asked for their place to be reduced, which they duly did. Rental amounts normally decrease as you get closer to ground floor level, so she felt aggrieved that there rent was set higher. It wasn't backdated, but they did get a rent reduction.

Fair enough, she's a Swiss national, so maybe that helped but if you don't ask, you don't get.

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Hi Nobother,
I would give it a try, you have nothing to lose.

Our Swiss neighbours, in the apartment below us, approached our rental Company to request a rent reduction.

Fair enough, she's a Swiss national, so maybe that helped but if you don't ask, you don't get.
I should also add, our neighbours had been living in their apartment for over 3 years when they asked for a rent reduction and they managed it successfully. So it is never too late to ask.

Last edited by 3Wishes; 13.02.2017 at 14:32. Reason: merging consecutive replies
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Old 13.02.2017, 09:32
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Re: I think my rent is too high... Can I ask for a rebate?

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I should also add, our neighbours had been living in their apartment for over 3 years when they asked for a rent reduction and they managed it successfully. So it is never too late to ask.
As someone said, you have nothing to lose. Depending on the situation, landlords would rather keep a good tenant than try to find another one. Good luck.
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Old 13.02.2017, 09:42
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Re: I think my rent is too high... Can I ask for a rebate?

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I should also add, our neighbours had been living in their apartment for over 3 years when they asked for a rent reduction and they managed it successfully. So it is never too late to ask.
Then they likely were entitled to a rent reduction anyway on the basis of lowered reference mortgage rate. And the agency probably lowered that rate when granting the reduction, so that they wouldn't have to lower it again.

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As someone said, you have nothing to lose.
Depends on how you ask. If you threaten to cancel the contract if rent isn't lowered, then that's exactly what you may get. Otherwise, there's nothing really preventing the landlord from throwing your letter into trash right away.

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Depending on the situation, landlords would rather keep a good tenant than try to find another one. Good luck.
Or the landlord can take advantage of your cancellation and raise the rent by up to 10% for the next tenant. As Samaire13 points out, comparable apartments currently advertised on homegate cost even more. A small healthy rent increase like that usually can't be fighted back by the next tenant after he signs.
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Old 13.02.2017, 09:47
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Re: I think my rent is too high... Can I ask for a rebate?

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As someone said, you have nothing to lose. Depending on the situation, landlords would rather keep a good tenant than try to find another one. Good luck.
A good tenant by most landlord's standards, is one who doesn't ask for anything out of the ordinary. Asking for a rent reduction is a sure way to agitate your landlord.

To the OP, if you think you are paying too much rent, you should look for another flat in the area and see what is out there. You may find you may as well stay where you are.
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Old 13.02.2017, 10:08
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Re: I think my rent is too high... Can I ask for a rebate?

Rents are based on interest rates (amongst other factors) - basically everyone in Switzerland should have had a rent decrease in the last few years. You can bet they will get an increase when interest rates go up.

To the OP: if you don't ask, you don't get...
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Old 13.02.2017, 10:10
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Re: I think my rent is too high... Can I ask for a rebate?

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A good tenant by most landlord's standards, is one who doesn't ask for anything out of the ordinary. Asking for a rent reduction is a sure way to agitate your landlord.

To the OP, if you think you are paying too much rent, you should look for another flat in the area and see what is out there. You may find you may as well stay where you are.
Landlords also live by an unspoken rule: "If they do not ask, they shall not receive."
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Old 13.02.2017, 11:02
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Re: I think my rent is too high... Can I ask for a rebate?

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Rents are based on interest rates (amongst other factors) - basically everyone in Switzerland should have had a rent decrease in the last few years. You can bet they will get an increase when interest rates go up.
And how many actually got one?


Also, different context. OP is not inquiring about rent reduction because interest rates decreased, but because he compared his rent to that of his neighbor.

But as said, asking doesn't hurt.
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Old 13.02.2017, 11:21
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Re: I think my rent is too high... Can I ask for a rebate?

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And how many actually got one?
I did, twice now I think :-)
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Old 13.02.2017, 11:24
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Re: I think my rent is too high... Can I ask for a rebate?

Me too - each time the interest rates go down the procedure is you have to write to your landlord and then they reduce the rent (assuming your rental contract states that it's based on the relevant interest rate).

This idea of "Don't write to the landlord asking what you may be entitled to as it could piss them off" is overly passive. Write/ask.
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Old 13.02.2017, 11:25
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Re: I think my rent is too high... Can I ask for a rebate?

Within 30 days after moving in the renter can dispute the rent, §270 OR. Under this article a raise by more than 10% would be have been voided in Kanton Zürich. Unfortunately you're way past the 30-days threshold.

However, any rent can be disputed as abusively high. This has to be done in written form to the landlord (use registered mail) (I'd requrest a reduction to previous rent + 10% as that's what would have been allowed as per the above article), and if denied or unsatisfactorily followed that can be challenged (additional requirements apply) before the Schlichtungsbehörde.

Note that the Schlichtungsbehörde also provides free legal counsel. For details also see the link above.
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Old 13.02.2017, 11:39
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Re: I think my rent is too high... Can I ask for a rebate?

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However, any rent can be disputed as abusively high.
A rent may be abusive, but you can dispute it as such and demand reduction only on certain occasions: such as within 30 days of starting rent or if "important calculation factors" change, i.e. reference rate drops.

Plus you'd carry the burden of proof here. Reference rate change case is easy, it's just a relative adjustment. But demonstrating that price is outside typical market range is hardly possible in practice, as the requirements are too high: 5 objects of similar size, location, state, construction period, etc. Fuggedaboutit. Rental yield based criterions are out of scope for a renter, as they demand a far too intimate access to landlord's books; they're mainly for the landlord to use to shield off unreasonable tenants' demands.
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Old 13.02.2017, 11:47
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Re: I think my rent is too high... Can I ask for a rebate?

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I did, twice now I think :-)
yep, me too, two or three times without asking for it. Last time the landlord contacted me after a few months to please change my banker's order as I kept paying too much
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Old 13.02.2017, 11:52
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Re: I think my rent is too high... Can I ask for a rebate?

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a rent may be abusive, but you can dispute it as such and demand reduction only on certain occasions: Such as within 30 days of starting rent or if "important calculation factors" change, i.e. Reference rate drops.
§269
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Old 13.02.2017, 11:57
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Re: I think my rent is too high... Can I ask for a rebate?

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§269
So? It (and corresponding Verordnung) has just a definition of abusive rents. It doesn't specify any sactions, doesn't even say they're illegal

Read OR further to find the laws which actually let the renter apply it to get a reduction and in what situations
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