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Old 01.03.2017, 16:04
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Building managing dispute bringing trouble to the tenants

Hello everyone. I have been lurking the forum for some tips and it has been an wonderful place for expats in Switzerland. I'm just sad that my first post has to be a cry for help because of other people.

We moved to Basel last year and rented a place from Spaini AG, and everything was fine until December 2016 when we received a letter from an Agency called Adrian.mueller requesting us to send our rental contract, salaries, etc, while stating that they will be the new building managers starting 2017. We thought it was weird so we contacted Spaini who asked us to ignore that letter.

Fast forward to February and we receive another letter requesting the same data with the added information that the owner of the building died and the co owners decided to pass the building management to Adrian.mueller. Once again we contacted Spaini who told us to once again ignore that letter since there's a trial going on because of the building ownership that was yet to be solved.

Two weeks later we received a letter from Adrian.mueller with pay slips for the rent, demanding us to pay the rent to them starting April 1st. Funny thing is that from the names in the pay slip we can see that they just took them from the mailbox and printed pay slips with a lower rent valor compared to what we paid to Spaini.

I has emailed Adrian.mueller requesting more information and they didn't answered, or so I thought till I noticed all their emails were going to the spam box. On those emails they mentioned that the building owner died in 2014 and the real estate manager was being managed by a lawyer, until the building gets assigned to the legit owner, who nominated them to manage the building instead of Spaini for undisclosed reasons.

I googled said lawyer and contacted him. He answered with a letter stating what we already knew and that for undisclosed reasons that can't be discussed with the tenants Spaini contract was canceled and attributed to Adrian.mueller and that we should follow Adrian.mueller instructions.

We called Spaini and they basically said that 99% sure that they will keep the building management and that they can only ask us to keep paying the rent to them.

So long short story, starting April, two Agencies what me to pay the rent to them.

Any contact with both agencies and attorney leads to the same story and we don't know what to do when the time comes. Anyone has some similar situation or any hints for us? We want to pay the rent without worrying about anything.

Thank you all

Nuno
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Old 01.03.2017, 16:35
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Re: Building managing dispute bringing trouble to the tenants

Call the local Grundbuchamt and ask who is listed as the owner of the apartment is. As reason simply state that you are the tenant of the apartment. Otherwise you may not get the information. Then contact the rightful owner and find out what is really going on.

http://www.pratteln.ch/de/polver/ver...ienst_id=28641
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Old 01.03.2017, 16:44
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Re: Building managing dispute bringing trouble to the tenants

If it were me, I'd not pay either of them and just give vague responses of "but I've already paid. Who are you? Check your bank. Are you <name of other party>?" until they threaten you with something official. Then pay whoever threatens you the best from that point on
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Old 01.03.2017, 16:47
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Re: Building managing dispute bringing trouble to the tenants

Get some legal help (so join the renters association ASAP). As of April, I would suggest that you organise to pay the rent into a blocked account rather than to one or the other agency until things are cleared up. Do not do anything unless you have a legal document (not a letter/email from someone) that tells you what to do.

If you pay the wrong person, you will end up paying TWICE. Better to not pay (or into a blocked account) until you are 100% clear about who is running things.

Good luck. At least so far you are not (it seems) out of pocket.
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Old 01.03.2017, 16:56
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Re: Building managing dispute bringing trouble to the tenants

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Get some legal help (so join the renters association ASAP). As of April, I would suggest that you organise to pay the rent into a blocked account rather than to one or the other agency until things are cleared up. Do not do anything unless you have a legal document (not a letter/email from someone) that tells you what to do.

If you pay the wrong person, you will end up paying TWICE. Better to not pay (or into a blocked account) until you are 100% clear about who is running things.

Good luck. At least so far you are not (it seems) out of pocket.
Not to pay is never a good idea. But I truly think this is good enough reason to pay into a blocked account, inform both parties about it. It is not your job to waste time on their inheritance-problems (and these things DO take years often).
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Old 01.03.2017, 16:56
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Re: Building managing dispute bringing trouble to the tenants

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Call the local Grundbuchamt and ask who is listed as the owner of the apartment is. As reason simply state that you are the tenant of the apartment. Otherwise you may not get the information. Then contact the rightful owner and find out what is really going on.

http://www.pratteln.ch/de/polver/ver...ienst_id=28641
Thank you. We will contact them but I suspect that the name we will get is the late owner. She died in 2014 and we suspect that the heirs are fighting for the ownership and for "undisclosed" reasons that can't be discussed with the tenants the attorney who's responsible for the real state management passed the building management to Adrian.mueller. Or since the attorney is the legal temporary holder of the building, maybe his name is there until the share of the goods is done. If that's the case we will end up in the same spot we are now.
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Old 01.03.2017, 17:02
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Re: Building managing dispute bringing trouble to the tenants

I wouldn't pay anyone you don't have a fully executed contract with. Full stop.
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Old 01.03.2017, 17:05
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Re: Building managing dispute bringing trouble to the tenants

I would not pay anything to anyone different to what it says on the contract - that is the legal basis of your rental.

If they have an internal dispute about that, then that is their problem, not yours, and they can feel free to sue the original owner, their heirs or the previous management company to get the money.

They definitely need to provide you with a new contract before they do anything - you can hardly have one with a dead person, or with a company no longer involved in the rental process.

How much proof they have to offer that this is legal before you sign it, I have no idea - but personally I wouldn't send them anything, again they should demand this from the previous company via the courts if necessary.
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Old 01.03.2017, 17:05
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Re: Building managing dispute bringing trouble to the tenants

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Get some legal help (so join the renters association ASAP). As of April, I would suggest that you organise to pay the rent into a blocked account rather than to one or the other agency until things are cleared up. Do not do anything unless you have a legal document (not a letter/email from someone) that tells you what to do.

If you pay the wrong person, you will end up paying TWICE. Better to not pay (or into a blocked account) until you are 100% clear about who is running things.

Good luck. At least so far you are not (it seems) out of pocket.
Yes, that's what worries us. On one hand we have a written rental contract with Spaini on the other hand, legally adrian.mueller may well be the legit real state manager of the building. I tried to speak with the other neighbors but most of them don't speak English, and those who do just claim that they will keep paying to Spaini until they give green light to pay to the other company. But the blocked account is an excellent idea!

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Not to pay is never a good idea. But I truly think this is good enough reason to pay into a blocked account, inform both parties about it. It is not your job to waste time on their inheritance-problems (and these things DO take years often).
Yeah, it doesn't fit my personality to leave unpaid bills and all this mess is getting stressful by the day. Despite not being my job to waste time with their problems, I feel bad if I don't get things straight.
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Old 01.03.2017, 17:08
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Re: Building managing dispute bringing trouble to the tenants

Maybe something like a Certificate of Inheritance would be a reasonable request to the new owner/management company.

https://www.ch.ch/en/requesting-a-ce...f-inheritance/

Just a guess though.
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Old 01.03.2017, 17:13
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Re: Building managing dispute bringing trouble to the tenants

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I would not pay anything to anyone different to what it says on the contract - that is the legal basis of your rental.

If they have an internal dispute about that, then that is their problem, not yours, and they can feel free to sue the original owner, their heirs or the previous management company to get the money.

They definitely need to provide you with a new contract before they do anything - you can hardly have one with a dead person, or with a company no longer involved in the rental process.

How much proof they have to offer that this is legal before you sign it, I have no idea - but personally I wouldn't send them anything, again they should demand this from the previous company via the courts if necessary.
I questioned the lawyer about that and he told me that since he's the legal executor of the real state from the deceased (he was nominated by her to manage all the aspects of her will) he can nominate another estate manager without the need of permission of the authorities our court. He basically tossed out Spaini from the building management and attributed it to Adrian.mueller, god knows why. Spaini AG plain refused to handle our information to Adrian.mueller and they just asked us for it. When we didn't handle it they took the names from the mailbox and issued new pay slips.
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Old 01.03.2017, 17:14
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Re: Building managing dispute bringing trouble to the tenants

I think you should either pay into blocked account or follow your current contract - in the latter case the blame is on Spaini if there's any wrongdoing. Don't pay to the new guys without a court order or instruction from Grundbuchamt. You don't have any contract with them and not really qualified to judge if their demands are legal, that's up to court
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Old 01.03.2017, 17:18
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Maybe something like a Certificate of Inheritance would be a reasonable request to the new owner/management company.

https://www.ch.ch/en/requesting-a-ce...f-inheritance/

Just a guess though.
With a will or contract of inheritance:A certificate of inheritance cannot be requested until official confirmation has been granted by the court. The official confirmation will show who is entitled to request the certificate of inheritance.

Since the building ownership is still in the hands of the lawyer it means that the building wasn't entitled by the court. So I guess they can't issue one yet.

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I think you should either pay into blocked account or follow your current contract - in the latter case the blame is on Spaini if there's any wrongdoing. Don't pay to the new guys without a court order or instruction from Grundbuchamt. You don't have any contract with them and not really qualified to judge if their demands are legal, that's up to court
Yes I will take a look to the possibility of a locked account. I have no intention to pay to Adrian.mueller, mostly because of the way they acted in all process. Getting names out of a mailbox is hardly professional and demanding information from us without any kind of explanation is a no-no. In last case I'll keep paying to Spaini and let them sort the mess, I'm just afraid that when the crap hits the fan I'll be the one to get a lawyer and go to court.

Last edited by 3Wishes; 01.03.2017 at 18:27. Reason: merging consecutive replies
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Old 01.03.2017, 17:32
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Re: Building managing dispute bringing trouble to the tenants

You need a formal, signed letter and proof that they are the executor from the lawyer, directly instructing you to pay it to this new company.

And then pay it into a blocked account and notify all three of them of this until such time as they can produce the certificate of inheritance or similar document.

Since nobody can get the money until the inheritance is sorted out, the blocked account shoulnd't make any difference.
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Old 01.03.2017, 17:50
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Re: Building managing dispute bringing trouble to the tenants

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Thank you. We will contact them but I suspect that the name we will get is the late owner. She died in 2014 and we suspect that the heirs are fighting for the ownership and for "undisclosed" reasons that can't be discussed with the tenants the attorney who's responsible for the real state management passed the building management to Adrian.mueller. Or since the attorney is the legal temporary holder of the building, maybe his name is there until the share of the goods is done. If that's the case we will end up in the same spot we are now.
Then there should be a Erbengemeinschaft (which is listed as the owner of the building) and either a Testamentsvollstrecker, an Erbenvertreter, or an Erbschaftsverwalter which has the power of attorny. The Erbenvertreter is appointet by the court in case of a dispute among the heirs. The court responsible would be the district court where the deceased had is last residence (The one above ground ).
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Old 01.03.2017, 17:56
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Re: Building managing dispute bringing trouble to the tenants

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these things DO take years often
Especially if there everyone is not in agreement, and even over a year if they are.

Tom
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Old 01.03.2017, 17:57
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You need a formal, signed letter and proof that they are the executor from the lawyer, directly instructing you to pay it to this new company.

And then pay it into a blocked account and notify all three of them of this until such time as they can produce the certificate of inheritance or similar document.

Since nobody can get the money until the inheritance is sorted out, the blocked account shoulnd't make any difference.
I see. I will contact the lawyer requesting that. However, it baffles me how come the lawyer, being one of the two executors, just simply ignored every single one of the tenants of the building and allowed a real estate company to just request information from the tenants and send payment slips with names taken from the mailbox. All this story just looks surreal and I believe there are interests behind it because the late building owner was also the owner of the Spaini AG and Spaini Bau AG, so my guess is some of the heirs just don't want to give money to the other and are screwing everyone in the process.

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Then there should be a Erbengemeinschaft (which is listed as the owner of the building) and either a Testamentsvollstrecker, an Erbenvertreter, or an Erbschaftsverwalter which has the power of attorny. The Erbenvertreter is appointet by the court in case of a dispute among the heirs. The court responsible would be the district court where the deceased had is last residence (The one above ground ).
Great piece of information! Will definitely take a look into that and see if I can contact anyone who can shed some light.

Last edited by 3Wishes; 01.03.2017 at 18:28. Reason: merging consecutive replies
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Old 01.03.2017, 18:04
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Re: Building managing dispute bringing trouble to the tenants

Go to your bank, explain the problem to them, ask the to set up an "escrow account", pay the monies due into this account.

Send both Spaini & Adrien Mueller copies of the prove of payment and say until it is sorted out in a satisfactory, clear manner, the rent will go to an escrow account.

Ask for a letter from their lawyers with irrefutable prove/evidence which party now manages the building and who owns the building.

By paying into an escrow account, nobody can accuse you of not paying as non payment can result in a fairly swift process of eviction.
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Old 01.03.2017, 18:08
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Re: Building managing dispute bringing trouble to the tenants

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Go to your bank, explain the problem to them, ask the to set up an "escrow account", pay the monies due into this account.

Send both Spaini & Adrien Mueller copies of the prove of payment and say until it is sorted out in a satisfactory, clear manner, the rent will go to an escrow account.

Ask for a letter from their lawyers with irrefutable prove/evidence which party now manages the building and who owns the building.

By paying into an escrow account, nobody can accuse you of not paying as non payment can result in a fairly swift process of eviction.
Such an escrow account must be setup with the renters court. Otherwise the rent is not considered paid.

Looks like in Basel Land you can open such an account easely at any Baselland Kantonalbank.

https://www.baselland.ch/politik-und...nheiten/mangel
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Old 01.03.2017, 18:17
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Re: Building managing dispute bringing trouble to the tenants

So possible steps:
1) Inform all involved parties that whoever announces a change of contract or payment method must first submit a court approved proof of legitimacy as a right full heir or as executioner.

you may also:
2) Inform all involved parties that from now on until you get such a proof you pay into the rental escrow account (Hinterlegungskonto) at the Baselland Kantonalbank. Important is that you must inform them with registered mail (it is the law), state a specific deadline (it is the law) until when you need the proof, and also state (it is also the law) if there is no proof within good time you pay into the escrow account.
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