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Old 12.01.2018, 20:48
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Charge for rental contract in Basel

Hi All,

I signed an application form for an apartment. It stated that there would be a charge of CHF 150 if they offered it to me and I refused. I assumed there would be a kind of final stage where once i confirmed I couldn't go back but now they are pushing to send me the lease. I tried to confirm at what point I would be liable for the 150 and they said normally it's as soon as you apply. That would mean I am obliged to accept no matter what kind of lease agreement they offer me. Since I have already signed am I screwed?
Is this something they can get put on the betreibungsauszug? Or is there a way out?

I do have a limited time to find a place and the peace of mind of securing somewhere is nice but already since I viewed it I saw what looks like much better value offers. I think I would prob take a chance to wait but if I have to pay this maybe I'll just take it. If you know a way out of this I'm all ears. Or eyes seeing as I'll be reading it

Thanks
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Old 12.01.2018, 21:22
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Re: Charge for rental contract in Basel

You refuse to pay an amount after somebody offered something to you that you yourself by contract agreed to pay when they would offer that something to you.

I wish you the best of luck...
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Old 13.01.2018, 00:16
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Re: Charge for rental contract in Basel

Not so simple. I had to sign the form to apply. I didn't realise it meant I already agreed (it was in German). I figured I could still give one last confirmation. I never gave him the go ahead to prepare the lease. But he's starting to prepare it of his own volition without me confirming that i wanted it. i only emailed him with further questions and never gave the fiinal approval which i thought was required whereas he claims signing the application form is enough which i'm pretty sure is bullshit.
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Old 13.01.2018, 01:53
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Re: Charge for rental contract in Basel

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Not so simple. I had to sign the form to apply. I didn't realise it meant I already agreed (it was in German). I figured I could still give one last confirmation. I never gave him the go ahead to prepare the lease. But he's starting to prepare it of his own volition without me confirming that i wanted it. i only emailed him with further questions and never gave the fiinal approval which i thought was required whereas he claims signing the application form is enough which i'm pretty sure is bullshit.
So up to today you just have no clue at all what you signed and just make up your own truth?
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Old 13.01.2018, 02:12
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Re: Charge for rental contract in Basel

Yeah that's it. Cheers for your input man.
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Old 13.01.2018, 02:15
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Re: Charge for rental contract in Basel

Traveleire,

Let this be a lesson on 'doing business the Swiss way':

Never, ever sign anything you do not fully understand, including the fine print. Read the boilerplate carefully, and then read it again. Contracts are sacred in Switzerland - and take many forms.

Never, ever let yourself be pressured into signing anything on the spot - if you don't understand something, take the form home and have a trusted source translate it for you. If the other party will not let you do that, walk away.

Never, ever, rely on the other party to the transaction to give you an English explanation of a German (F, I) contract. You cannot trust a casual English translation, you must understand the German (F, I).

Never, ever assume that anything you know from the way things work at home will be the same here, especially when it comes to contracts, consumer protection, or any points of law.

Speaking very generally, there is less consumer protection here than what was the norm in my country; getting used to the Swiss attitude of 'selber schuld' (It's your own fault - for not understanding, for not seeing the 'gotcha' etc.) took some doing when we first arrived. Many of us have been caught out with some newbie 'selber schuld' or other, you are not alone making these kinds of mistakes.

You have to be careful here, you have to always be on your toes.

If you truly like the place, fine. But don't take the flat if it is not what you really want. Perhaps it would be better pay the fee and think of this as a lesson learned than to accept a place just because you don't want to lose CHF 150. And honestly - be happy that your newbie 'selber schuld' lesson was not a lot more expensive than CHF 150. See my last edit below.

All the best.

And one more point:

If you are renting, join the Mieterverband (Asloca in the Romandie):

https://mieterverband.ch

This is an organization that advocates for tenant's rights. If you are a member you can ask them for advice on contracts, strife with landlords, etc. Membership is inexpensive. (My newbie 'selber schuld' mistake was not knowing this group existed.)

Again, all the best.


----

ETA2:

Taking a glance at the MV site for the first time in decades, I found this little gem:
https://mieterverband.ch/mv/mietrech...haedigung.html

Fallbeispiel | Wohnungssuche
Umtriebsentschädigung
Muss ich eine Umtriebsentschädigung von 150 Franken bezahlen, wenn ich einen erhaltenen Mietvertrag nicht unterzeichne und dies so auf dem Anmeldeformular für die Wohnung steht?

Nein, für den Nichtabschluss eines Mietvertrags schulden Sie keine Entschädigung. Dies gilt selbst dann, wenn dies auf dem Anmeldeformular stand, das Sie unterschrieben haben.

My rough translation:

Do I have to pay a conversion fee of 150 francs if I do not sign a rental agreement and this is stated on the registration form for the apartment?

No, you do not owe any compensation for not concluding a lease. This is true even if it was on the registration form you signed.


Show this MV webpage to the agent.


(Can anyone give a legal reference to back this up?)

Last edited by meloncollie; 13.01.2018 at 03:12.
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Old 13.01.2018, 06:11
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Re: Charge for rental contract in Basel

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(Can anyone give a legal reference to back this up?)
See here: http://www.mietrecht.ch/documents/Do...mp_1_97_23.pdf
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Old 13.01.2018, 10:19
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Re: Charge for rental contract in Basel

It's not clear whether you've visited the apartment and then filled in the application form, or just filled in the application form. Usually you go see it, and then apply. If you withdraw at that point, that's when they demand the 150CHF. Which apparently they can whistle for.

Once again demonstrating that signing a contract doesn't necessarily mean all clauses within that contract are legally binding. E.g. the one where if you renege, they get your first born.
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Old 13.01.2018, 12:47
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Re: Charge for rental contract in Basel

Thanks guys. I realise I was foolish to enter such a contract but I have a deadline to find a place. Only in retrospect did I start to doubt the arrangement. Really appreciate your help here. I only started the search last week and this was my first viewing. However I continued looking online yesterday (after viewing Thursday) and already saw a 2 room apartment (this was 1 room) for the same price. Obviously there is quality and location to consider but I'm starting to think it's overpriced. I still have some time and maybe it's too early to take a place out of despearation. Hopefully that statement on MV site is correct. I will call them Monday to confirm.
Thank you meloncollie
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Old 13.01.2018, 13:22
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Re: Charge for rental contract in Basel

It is correct by law (see link from vidryduch) - statement is there just to pressure you but you don’t have to pay. It is unlikely to find incorrect legal info through the MV - I highly recommend to become a member to support their work & be eligible for member-only services.
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Old 13.01.2018, 13:59
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Re: Charge for rental contract in Basel

Not all clauses in a contract are valid by law and may be void if challenged in a court.

This "CHF 150 charge" is most of the time such a total bogus claim.

It might be valid in the case that you had seen the full contract, just with your name missing, BEFORE you applied for the apartment. But if you are shown the full contract with all details etc. only after application it is completely void and should not be of your concern.

Appart from the Mieterverband this can also be read at:

The Beoabchter, a renowned consumer journal:
https://www.beobachter.ch/wohnen/mie...nicht-auskennt


Espress and Kassensturz two consumer formats on Swiss radio and TV:
https://www.srf.ch/sendungen/kassens...on-108-franken

https://www.srf.ch/sendungen/kassens...-absagegebuehr

And the cantonal court of Thurgau (so far the highest court which decided in this mater):
http://www.mietrecht.ch/documents/Do...mp_1_97_23.pdf
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Old 14.01.2018, 17:09
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Re: Charge for rental contract in Basel

I was facing a similar situation once: I did not pay, because I googled it and found the info in German by the Mieterverband and on several media sites. Make sure, however, it really is a clause of a rental-agreement reservation form and labelled as "Umtriebsentschädigung" or "Umtriebsgebühr" and not a broker's fee you have agreed to separately. Otherwise show them, just as it has already been suggested, a printout of the Mieterverband paper and the other internet infos mentioned above.
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