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Old 11.02.2019, 15:36
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Liability for damage to rented apartment

Hi all

I would really welcome some advice from the community about some issues we have with the apartment we are renting.

We took over an existing lease about 10 months ago and have since then become increasingly aware that the flat is a bit shabby and in need of a re-paint, and that there are one or two bits of damage to doors and cupboards etc. Nothing crazy but definitely noticeable. Unfortunately, when we took over the lease we simply changed the names on the rental contract and no inspection of the flat was done by the regie to confirm the state of the apartment at that time (in our naivety we didn’t realise this should be done).

Once we became more aware of the issues, we notified the regie of the problems and sent photos, and also told them we are unhappy with the state of the flat. However, they said they are not willing to look at the issues until the end of the lease.

My concern is therefore that we may get slammed on our deposit (for which we have a rental deposit insurance) when the lease runs out, and may be made liable for the damage/wear and tear to the flat from the previous lessees. My questions are therefore:

1. I have heard it is a legal obligation to re-paint rented accommodation in Switzerland every ten years. Is this correct and does anyone know what legislation this falls under so I can ask the regie to prove when the flat was last decorated?
2. If we do get slammed on the deposit, to what extent would our third party liability insurance kick in? I know these policies are designed to cover unintentional damage to third party property but am not clear if this would include a (potential) bill for re-painting the flat (for example)? If not, would it cover damage to floors/cupboards/doors etc? Essentially, what would a typical third party liability insurance policy cover and would it potentially compensate us if we lost (all or part of) our deposit due to the need to repaint the flat and fix a few issues? I will check with our insurer as well but am just trying to get an understanding of the likely limits of the policy before doing so.
3. Finally, what are peoples’ experiences of rental deposit insurance providers? Are we more likely to find ourselves in a situation where they just pay any amount the regie asks for and then claim that amount from us? Would we be in a better position if we cancelled the policy and instead put funds in a rental deposit bank account, for example? We and the regie would need to agree to anything being taken out of an account like that, whereas now the regie can make any claim to the insurer without our input.

Many thanks in advance for any information or experiences.

GVA
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Old 11.02.2019, 15:39
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Re: Liability for damage to rented apartment

No, it is not a legal obligation at all !


Everything has a "lifetime" paint is considered to be 10 years, but their is no obligation to pain every 10 years unless it is strictly necessary.


If you demand painting is done, then expecet a rent increase too
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Old 11.02.2019, 15:44
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Re: Liability for damage to rented apartment

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1. I have heard it is a legal obligation to re-paint rented accommodation in Switzerland every ten years. Is this correct and does anyone know what legislation this falls under so I can ask the regie to prove when the flat was last decorated?
This is incorrect. There is no such obligation. Maybe in some cantons such as Vaud, but not in Switzerland in general. But after ten years the paint has no residual "value" and you cannot be billed for repainting.

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3. Finally, what are peoples’ experiences of rental deposit insurance providers? Are we more likely to find ourselves in a situation where they just pay any amount the regie asks for and then claim that amount from us? Would we be in a better position if we cancelled the policy and instead put funds in a rental deposit bank account, for example? We and the regie would need to agree to anything being taken out of an account like that, whereas now the regie can make any claim to the insurer without our input.
A rental insurance is first and foremost just a very expensive credit
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Old 11.02.2019, 15:46
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Re: Liability for damage to rented apartment

You don't become automatically responsible for the damage done by the previous renter.

Landlord screwed up majorly here imho, he has no take-over form describing the state of the house with your name(s) on it. And if he makes a claim he has to proof that the damage was caused by you, which he can't do since there is no form that states that the goods where handed to you in a good state.

If you however signed such form than indeed it is all your problem.
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Old 11.02.2019, 16:10
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This is incorrect. There is no such obligation. Maybe in some cantons such as Vaud, but not in Switzerland in general. But after ten years the paint has no residual "value" and you cannot be billed for repainting.

Thank you, that is useful to know. Does the amount billable reduce on an annual basis then? For example, if it hasn't been painted for 8 years is 80% of the residual value also gone and so liability would effectively be capped at 20%?

A rental insurance is first and foremost just a very expensive credit
Thanks. I was more wondering whether the insurer is likely to just pay whatever asked by the regie without pushing back much/at all?

Thank you, that is useful to know about the paints deemed value. Does the amount billable reduce on an annual basis then? For example, if it hasn't been painted for 8 years is 80% of the residual value also gone and so liability would effectively be capped at 20%?

Last edited by 3Wishes; 11.02.2019 at 21:07. Reason: merging consecutive replies
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Old 11.02.2019, 16:17
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Re: Liability for damage to rented apartment

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Thanks. I was more wondering whether the insurer is likely to just pay whatever asked by the regie without pushing back much/at all?
Only if they are truly dumb.

There are some things they want to know.

Was the damaged caused by you? Meaning do you admit it, or can the landlord proof the good was undamaged when you accepted it, and thus making you liable for it.

And they want to see bills/proof as for how old the cabinet, the bathtub, the toilet, the last paint job on the wall of the wood on the floor or whatever it is about is, this since they are to refund only for the remaining part of the expected lifetime. In theory you can grab a hammer and wreck a 40 yr old bathtub fully, and give a kid some pencils and let him go wild on a 25 yr old paint job and not have to pay a single dime for it since the goods already have been paid for by the rent. (tho if the wall needs a cleaning/covering first to get rid of the pencil so it can be painted normally again this is 100% for you.)
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Old 11.02.2019, 16:18
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Re: Liability for damage to rented apartment

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Thank you, that is useful to know about the paints deemed value. Does the amount billable reduce on an annual basis then? For example, if it hasn't been painted for 8 years is 80% of the residual value also gone and so liability would effectively be capped at 20%?
Correct.

Here a lifetime table of various things:
https://www.mieterverband.ch/mv/miet...ertabelle.html
Sorry, in German.

Here the one from ASLOCA in French
https://asloca-romande.ch/wp-content...rtissement.pdf
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Old 11.02.2019, 16:20
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Re: Liability for damage to rented apartment

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Thank you, that is useful to know about the paints deemed value. Does the amount billable reduce on an annual basis then? For example, if it hasn't been painted for 8 years is 80% of the residual value also gone and so liability would effectively be capped at 20%?
Yes.

(tho some paints are expected to last 25 yrs)
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Old 11.02.2019, 16:31
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Correct.

Here a lifetime table of various things:
https://www.mieterverband.ch/mv/miet...ertabelle.html
Sorry, in German.

Here the one from ASLOCA in French
https://asloca-romande.ch/wp-content...rtissement.pdf
Thank you again - that is super useful to know.

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Only if they are truly dumb.

There are some things they want to know.

Was the damaged caused by you? Meaning do you admit it, or can the landlord proof the good was undamaged when you accepted it, and thus making you liable for it.

And they want to see bills/proof as for how old the cabinet, the bathtub, the toilet, the last paint job on the wall of the wood on the floor or whatever it is about is, this since they are to refund only for the remaining part of the expected lifetime. In theory you can grab a hammer and wreck a 40 yr old bathtub fully, and give a kid some pencils and let him go wild on a 25 yr old paint job and not have to pay a single dime for it since the goods already have been paid for by the rent. (tho if the wall needs a cleaning/covering first to get rid of the pencil so it can be painted normally again this is 100% for you.)

Fair enough - thanks for the reply and that does make sense.

So the final query to both Edwin and aSwiss...

Would the 3rd party liability insurance be of any use to us in the above circumstances?

Thanks

GVA

Last edited by 3Wishes; 11.02.2019 at 21:08. Reason: merging consecutive replies
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Old 11.02.2019, 16:39
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Re: Liability for damage to rented apartment

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So the final query to both Edwin and aSwiss...

Would the 3rd party liability insurance be of any use to us in the above circumstances?

Thanks

GVA
Have you signed a paper that all was in good condition when you accepted?

(nonetheless it is a relatively cheap insurance which is good to have anyway)
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Old 11.02.2019, 16:52
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Re: Liability for damage to rented apartment

No we haven't signed anything except the rental agreement. We do have third party liability insurance in any event, so just working out what (if any) protection this might give us in the circumstances? Thanks again for your time.
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Old 11.02.2019, 17:45
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Re: Liability for damage to rented apartment

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Correct.

Here a lifetime table of various things:
https://www.mieterverband.ch/mv/miet...ertabelle.html
Sorry, in German.

Here the one from ASLOCA in French
https://asloca-romande.ch/wp-content...rtissement.pdf
Apartment rental without a standard written and signed protocol recording the state of the apartment at the time of rental. Is that legal, or is is now just photographed? Have been in my own rental apartment since 13 years, and don't know the procedures nowadays if I move.
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Old 11.02.2019, 22:14
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Re: Liability for damage to rented apartment

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No we haven't signed anything except the rental agreement. We do have third party liability insurance in any event, so just working out what (if any) protection this might give us in the circumstances? Thanks again for your time.

I don't think your liability insurance would be of much use in this situation. The kind of damage you are likely referring to would almost certainly be normal wear and tear type damage, which I don't think insurance covers. I believe liability insurance is there to cover purely accidental sorts of damage. A broken window, or you fell and broke the door off the dishwasher. But grubby looking paint or beat up looking floors? I really don't think so- but depreciation ought to cover most of that type of damage anyway.
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Old 11.02.2019, 22:20
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Re: Liability for damage to rented apartment

Took over an apartment in a similar condition to yours. We did the takeover, and the previous tenant paid about CHF100. So don't lose sleep over this.
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Old 11.02.2019, 22:45
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Re: Liability for damage to rented apartment

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I don't think your liability insurance would be of much use in this situation. The kind of damage you are likely referring to would almost certainly be normal wear and tear type damage, which I don't think insurance covers. I believe liability insurance is there to cover purely accidental sorts of damage. A broken window, or you fell and broke the door off the dishwasher. But grubby looking paint or beat up looking floors? I really don't think so- but depreciation ought to cover most of that type of damage anyway.
But OP himself also does not have to pay for any damage due to normal wear and tear
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Old 12.02.2019, 09:35
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Re: Liability for damage to rented apartment

Normal wear and tear you don’t have to pay for. Everything that’s less than ‘normal’ you do and only part of that is covered by your insurance. What they don’t cover is stuff you are not liable for and some stuff you are like e.g. ‘gradual’ damages and damage caused by gross negligence, explained in German here: https://www.beobachter.ch/wohnen/mie...er-mietwohnung
Now, if you expect problems, become a member of the Mieterverband and hire their help for the transfer. In this case you can be sure you won’t be charged for damages you are not liable for by law.
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Old 12.02.2019, 16:26
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Re: Liability for damage to rented apartment

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No, it is not a legal obligation at all !


Everything has a "lifetime" paint is considered to be 10 years, but their is no obligation to pain every 10 years unless it is strictly necessary.


If you demand painting is done, then expecet a rent increase too

Just FYI: In the Swiss French area is 8 years.

https://asloca-romande.ch/wp-content...rtissement.pdf
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Old 12.02.2019, 16:39
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Re: Liability for damage to rented apartment

What you are talking about is dispersion paint, water based paint to make nasty wood shit wall paper look somewhat nicer, Whitewash in other words !!


Peinture des revêtements de mur et
plafond / crépis :
Dispersion, peinture à la colle, acryl (blanc-fix,
blanchi) 8 ans

Peinture de résine alkyde, résine synthétique 15 ans
Enduits :
Enduit en matière plastique 30 ans
Enduit brut, rustique, etc., minéral 25 ans
Enduit blanc 20 ans
Lambris :
Paroi brute, revêtement 30 ans
Enduit d’une lasure 20 ans
Peint 30 ans
Lasure / peinture de couverture (huile, acryl
ou résine synthétique) sur lambris 20 ans
Plafonds :
En métal, suspendu, y compris les éclairages
encastrés 20 ans
En bois, lambrissé 40 ans
En bois, suspendu 40 ans
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Old 12.02.2019, 17:53
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Re: Liability for damage to rented apartment

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Hi all

I would really welcome some advice from the community about some issues we have with the apartment we are renting.

We took over an existing lease about 10 months ago and have since then become increasingly aware that the flat is a bit shabby and in need of a re-paint, and that there are one or two bits of damage to doors and cupboards etc. Nothing crazy but definitely noticeable. Unfortunately, when we took over the lease we simply changed the names on the rental contract and no inspection of the flat was done by the regie to confirm the state of the apartment at that time (in our naivety we didn’t realise this should be done).

Once we became more aware of the issues, we notified the regie of the problems and sent photos, and also told them we are unhappy with the state of the flat. However, they said they are not willing to look at the issues until the end of the lease.

My concern is therefore that we may get slammed on our deposit (for which we have a rental deposit insurance) when the lease runs out, and may be made liable for the damage/wear and tear to the flat from the previous lessees. My questions are therefore:

1. I have heard it is a legal obligation to re-paint rented accommodation in Switzerland every ten years. Is this correct and does anyone know what legislation this falls under so I can ask the regie to prove when the flat was last decorated?
2. If we do get slammed on the deposit, to what extent would our third party liability insurance kick in? I know these policies are designed to cover unintentional damage to third party property but am not clear if this would include a (potential) bill for re-painting the flat (for example)? If not, would it cover damage to floors/cupboards/doors etc? Essentially, what would a typical third party liability insurance policy cover and would it potentially compensate us if we lost (all or part of) our deposit due to the need to repaint the flat and fix a few issues? I will check with our insurer as well but am just trying to get an understanding of the likely limits of the policy before doing so.
3. Finally, what are peoples’ experiences of rental deposit insurance providers? Are we more likely to find ourselves in a situation where they just pay any amount the regie asks for and then claim that amount from us? Would we be in a better position if we cancelled the policy and instead put funds in a rental deposit bank account, for example? We and the regie would need to agree to anything being taken out of an account like that, whereas now the regie can make any claim to the insurer without our input.

Many thanks in advance for any information or experiences.

GVA
You have to hammer this regie. Keep at them!
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Old 13.02.2019, 10:07
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Re: Liability for damage to rented apartment

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3. Finally, what are peoples’ experiences of rental deposit insurance providers? Are we more likely to find ourselves in a situation where they just pay any amount the regie asks for and then claim that amount from us? Would we be in a better position if we cancelled the policy and instead put funds in a rental deposit bank account, for example? We and the regie would need to agree to anything being taken out of an account like that, whereas now the regie can make any claim to the insurer without our input.
IMO insurance is a complete misnomer, they're merely a guarantor. Unless you need the liquidity they're a cost without any use.

Read the fineprint in your contract. GoCaution/Generali for instance require your consent or a judicial verdict, as they would with an ordinary deposit. I would expect for this to apply in general.

What EdwinNL writes in post #4 is correct for a new contract. However, whether that applies to your case where you essentially entered into an existing one isn't entirely clear, I'd say it doesn't (IANAL, mind).

Probably the best you can do is to join asloca and discuss your situation with them. And it would proabably be a good idea to have one of their agents handle the handover once you move out, they offer that service for a very reasonably price.
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