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Old 24.03.2020, 16:32
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Mitteilung des Anfangsmietzinses? [Initial Rent Dispute]

Long time lurker, first time posting a question.

About our situation, we moved back in Janurary and have been in a sublet since then. We managed to find a flat in Kreis 8 and the agency has recently sent over paperwork. One document that stood out to me was the Mitteilung des Anfangsmietzinses. While my German is very poor, after some translation I came to understand it is document disclosing the previous rent and my rights as tenant to challenge the new rental price. Having lived in Brazil and the States, this is something very foreign to me as I have never had a landlord disclose this sort of information.

My question is the following, based on the information provided in the documentation, do they have sufficient reason to raise the rent?



As I read the document, it seems like the interest rate has moved down from 3.25% in 2010 to 1.25% in 2020 and the Teuerungsausgleich also seems misrepresented(unless real estate has its own)



If the above information doesn't justify the rent increase, would the "Market Rate" of the property potentially justify it instead?

Thank you for the help!
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Old 24.03.2020, 16:49
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Re: Mitteilung des Anfangsmietzinses?

First time posting, didn't know how to link an image.

Link to Mitteilung des Anfangsmietzinses:
https://ibb.co/QkChdmY

Link to Inflation Calc:
https://ibb.co/gJrDMMB
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Old 24.03.2020, 17:06
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Re: Mitteilung des Anfangsmietzinses?

Tried to upload the photos but could not, will provide the information in text instead. The document sent by the agency states the following:

Klare Begründung der (eventuellen) Erhöhung des Anfangsmietzinses:
Anpassung an die orts- und quartierüblichen Verhältnisse

Mietzinsbasis Bisheriger Stand: Neuer Stand:
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Old 24.03.2020, 17:08
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Re: Mitteilung des Anfangsmietzinses?

Mietzinsbasis Bisheriger Stand: Neuer Stand:
Hypothekarzins 3.00 % per 02.12.2009 1.25 % per 03.03.2020
Teuerungsausgleich 160.3 Pkt. per 31.10.2009 101.6 Pkt. per 29.02.2020
Kostensteigerung ausgeglichen bis 31.10.2009 29.02.2020

Sorry for all the disjointed posts, mistakenly submitted a post before it was ready.
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Old 24.03.2020, 17:30
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Re: Mitteilung des Anfangsmietzinses?

Letter seems alright to me, in very short: Rents are not supposed to be abusively high. 2.450,- for an apartment in Kreis 8 seems like a very normal price. (I do not know your exact apartment offc).

1.200,- will get you either old rotten shit, or a very basic single room thingy in Kreis 8
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Old 24.03.2020, 19:23
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Re: Mitteilung des Anfangsmietzinses?

Agreed that it is market rate, my only question is does the law consider that as proper justification for a 105.36% increase in 10 years? That would be an annual increase of around 8% compounded.
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Old 24.03.2020, 19:27
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Re: Mitteilung des Anfangsmietzinses?

For those that can't see the documentation(I can't on chrome)
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Inflation.JPG (114.4 KB, 98 views)
File Type: jpg Rent.JPG (131.7 KB, 114 views)
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Old 24.03.2020, 19:28
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Re: Mitteilung des Anfangsmietzinses?

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For those that can't see the documentation(I can't on chrome)
I just opened the question marks
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Old 24.03.2020, 19:29
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Re: Mitteilung des Anfangsmietzinses?

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Agreed that it is market rate, my only question is does the law consider that as proper justification for a 105.36% increase in 10 years? That would be an annual increase of around 8% compounded.
The law has no problem with you paying a price which is deemed fair according to market, this regardless of how much more or less the previous tenant paid.
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Old 25.03.2020, 11:01
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Re: Mitteilung des Anfangsmietzinses?

For the OP: we voted on requiring the landlord to disclose the previous rent for the very reason to check whether the new rent is fair or not.

The rules on whether rent is fair or unfair can be found here:
https://www.admin.ch/opc/en/classifi...ni16-ni24-ni26

In light of the large difference between the two rents (notwithstanding the large time-gap) it may make sense to have the rent examined by the Mieterverband who can give you an indication of whether it is fair or not. Keep in mind you have a 30 day deadline to challenge the starting rent.
https://www.mieterverband.ch/mv/miet...#tab-1-content
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Old 25.03.2020, 15:29
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Re: Mitteilung des Anfangsmietzinses?

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For the OP: we voted on requiring the landlord to disclose the previous rent for the very reason to check whether the new rent is fair or not.

The rules on whether rent is fair or unfair can be found here:
https://www.admin.ch/opc/en/classifi...ni16-ni24-ni26

In light of the large difference between the two rents (notwithstanding the large time-gap) it may make sense to have the rent examined by the Mieterverband who can give you an indication of whether it is fair or not. Keep in mind you have a 30 day deadline to challenge the starting rent.
https://www.mieterverband.ch/mv/miet...#tab-1-content
As EdwinNL stated, it is pretty much market rate for the area. Which means the exception on the admin.ch website you linked might apply "they fall within the range of rents customary in the locality or district". What wasn't clear about that exception upon researching it is if the "range of rents" are based on recently vacated properties prices in the area OR if it is calculated as an average of all the rents payed in the area. Does anyone know how it is interpreted by the courts?

With that being said, when we do the handover in the next few days, I am going to ask if there were any updates done to the property recently. If they say no, I am definitely going to the MV because the small fee the MV will charge to assess the situation may be worthwhile in the long run. If the MV deems that it is abusive, would they represent us or would we still need to get my own legal representation?
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Old 25.03.2020, 15:51
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Re: Mitteilung des Anfangsmietzinses?

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As EdwinNL stated, it is pretty much market rate for the area. Which means the exception on the admin.ch website you linked might apply "they fall within the range of rents customary in the locality or district". What wasn't clear about that exception upon researching it is if the "range of rents" are based on recently vacated properties prices in the area OR if it is calculated as an average of all the rents payed in the area. Does anyone know how it is interpreted by the courts?
It is the rent that is deemed fair to be paid for that object at time of acceptance, it is absolutely not the average of the neighbourhood, often rental objects have a contract with puts a restriction on yearly amount of raise or landlords simply are fine with what they get and don't raise at all and every time a new renter comes in they raise the rent to what is market conform at that moment like they did in your case. Meaning the average will be lower than what is fair for you to pay.

Q = Is your rent normal for your apartment at that location.

Yes = End of story, take it or leave it.
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Old 25.03.2020, 16:36
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Re: Mitteilung des Anfangsmietzinses?

Quote:
The law has no problem with you paying a price which is deemed fair according to market, this regardless of how much more or less the previous tenant paid.
Due to the higher interest rate, the rent payable probably fell over the 10 years to well below a rising market rent.
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Old 25.03.2020, 17:00
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Re: Mitteilung des Anfangsmietzinses?

Again, I am new to all this, not trying to be difficult with you. In the states, we have absolutely no protections under the law(barring a select few cities/states). In most parts, there is not even protections for increases on existing tenants. I understand the whole philosophy of free market and for the most part I agree with it, but it seems like these law were put in place to try to limit rent inflation.

Quote:
Yes = End of story, take it or leave it.
I disagree, it seems like the system is setup well so that the tenant at least has a chance. For example, we can contest the price AFTER signing the lease which affords people the ability to challenge since if this wasn't in place the agency would just select a more "agree-able" tenant.

Quote:
It is the rent that is deemed fair to be paid for that object at time of acceptance, it is absolutely not the average of the neighbourhood.
This seems at odds with this article I found.

https://cms.mieterverband.ch/mv-zh/n...s/zueri50.html

The part about the new neighbors moving in and finding out they pay 1'000 CHF more for a similar apartment. So it seems like you can compare the rent paid against the "average" of the neighborhood or in this case the building/neighbor, since the new neighbors compared it to people that had been living there 14 years.

With that said, I am aware this came from a tenant advocacy site, so it must be taken with a grain of salt.

Will update this thread with the outcome if we do end up challenging. The miss might not be to keen to do so since we have been in temporary housing for the past 3 months and might not want to jeopardize anything.
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Old 25.03.2020, 17:26
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Re: Mitteilung des Anfangsmietzinses?

Another (more neutral sourced) article explaining how Comparative rents can be determined:
https://www.gerichte-zh.ch/themen/mi...ichsmiete.html
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Old 25.03.2020, 17:55
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Re: Mitteilung des Anfangsmietzinses?

In any case join the MV, it is worth the 90CHF/yr. If there have been no renovations, you might have a chance to contest this. You can only do that after having signed the contract and have 30 days after the handover. The MV will advise you and you send a complaint to the 'Schlichtungsbehoerde' - you don't need legal representation at that point, maybe only if you don't agree with the initial decision.

Last edited by mgosia; 25.03.2020 at 18:11.
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Old 25.03.2020, 18:15
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Re: Mitteilung des Anfangsmietzinses?

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In any case join the MV, it is worth the 90CHF/yr. If there have been no renovations, you might have a chance to contest this. You can only do that after having signed the contract and have 30 days after the handover. The MV will advise you and you send a complaint to the 'Schlichtungsbehoerde' - you don't need legal representation at that point, maybe only if you don't agree with the initial decision.
Good to know, do you recommend something like this:

https://www.axa.ch/en/private-custom...insurance.html

Or would it be overkill?
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Old 25.03.2020, 18:30
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Re: Mitteilung des Anfangsmietzinses?

I think legal insurance is not a bad idea, the problem is you might be too late getting it: usually they ask if you foresee any legal conflicts in the near future and might exclude them.
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Old 26.03.2020, 23:37
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Re: Mitteilung des Anfangsmietzinses?

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Good to know, do you recommend something like this:

https://www.axa.ch/en/private-custom...insurance.html

Or would it be overkill?
Useless for this rent case. As for whether it's useful you may want to keep in mind that the sum of all insurance premiums are considerably less than all costs the insurer incurs. It's an individual choice whether that upprice is worth it.

IIRC you have only 30 days to challenge the rent.

If the rental contract started March 1 you need to hurry up big time. And yes, do join the Mieterverband and contact them about your situation.
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Old 07.01.2021, 15:27
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Re: Mitteilung des Anfangsmietzinses?

Wanted to give everyone an update on this, in hopes that others moving the Switzerland are aware of the rules. Please excuse the length of the post but I wanted to layout our experience in detail for others.

Basically, I ended up getting some advise from a Jurist who is a friend of a co-worker. He helped me craft a letter rejecting the initial rent to the arbitration court. As others mentioned above, you only have 30 days from the day the keys are turned over to submit this letter. There are some templates out there on the Mieterverband's website so even if you don't know German, you can grab the template and put in your details for the letter.

I would recommend anyone moving to Switzerland to either purchase legal insurance which runs about 120 a year or join the Mieterverband which is a bit less. The Mieterverband will only legally represent you after being a member for 60 days(may be 6 months so I would check their website) so you can't sign up AFTER the dispute. Same goes for Legal insurance but they do not have a look back period, that is based on the start date of the policy.

Once the letter was submitted, the court sent a date for mediation and the landlord(a property management firm) delayed the date twice. Long story short, we only got in front of the mediation panel in late November. I don't know if this is typical or if COVID delayed matters.

As others have mentioned, the rental price was in line with current market rate but there had been an excessive increase(over 10%) of the rent from the previous tenant. In researching this further, I came to understand that "Market Rate" does not mean the current price you can get on the market.

State Website

From the state's website:
The term “market rent” is therefore wrong, because it is not about the rent that results from the play of market forces, but about the rent that is paid for comparable properties in a municipality or a city district, even if the corresponding rental agreements have existed for a long time.

This was key for us as I was able to find out that the entire building was owned by a fund. And this fund has to publish information regarding revenues on all the buildings owned by the fund. Thru that documentation, we came to find out that the average rent in the building for all 10 3 room apartments was around 1'600 CHF. One of older tenants had also shared with us the amount she pays per month when we first moved in which was lower than 1'600 CHF.

Armed with this information, we went to the mediation court and presented our case. I did this alone with a court appointed translator. Even though everyone in court spoke English, the meeting was conducted in German. The landlords evidence was 2 properties that are similar to ours in price and in the same neighborhood. The explanation on why the rent was so low for the old tenant was that she had been living in the apartment for 30 years. Its important to note that if the landlord is claiming to adjust rent based on "market rent", in actual court they would need to present 5 examples. We presented our evidence around the average rent of the apartments in the building. Basically providing 9 identical properties with an average rent of 1'600 CHF.

After kicking us out and deliberating for about 10 minutes, the mediation panel came back with a decision to reduce the rent to 1'600 CHF. They say they did not use my evidence to reach that number. Instead they mentioned that IF there had been a new tenant every 10 years and the landlord would have risen the rent by 10% each time, the current rent would end up being around 1'600 CHF(from 1'150). The landlord was not happy and basically insisted that this was a fair rent. They rejected the mediation panel's recommendation and offered us 100 CHF off the rent to leave it at 2'350. An audible snort was heard when they said that number in German by one of the panelists. I rejected that offer and they said they would need to speak with the fund to authorize any further reduction. At this point, the mediation court basically said no agreement can be reached and gave me authorization to go to actual court. They warned about legal fees but did mention that they believed I had a good chance at winning in court. Just as before, if you decide to go to actual court, you have 30 days from the date of the mediation meeting to send a letter stating intent.

A few days later, they reach out and say that they are now willing to lower the rent to 2'050 CHF. After much debate with my wife(she wanted to accept!), I declined and counter offered 1'850 CHF back dated to when the rent contract was signed(April 1st). They accepted, I have now paid my first month with the new rate and we are in process of receiving back rent paid from April-December as well as part of the security deposit. All in all, we are very happy with how everything turned out.

I would say that I believe one of the reason we were picked for this property was due to the fact that the rent was going to rise so much and we are foreigners. I believe most Swiss are aware of the law and there is a higher likelyhood they would have challenged like we did. As this is a forum for foreigners, I think many people have been selected for properties due to similar circumstances.

Personally, coming from the US this whole topic was foreign to me. Part of me still believes that it isn't right as I agreed to an amount and should honor that agreement. At the same time, I can see that the current housing environment in Zurich heavily favors the landlord and they can take advantage of that by setting the price sky high.

Sorry for the long post and Happy New Year!

Last edited by jpjpjpjp; 07.01.2021 at 15:45.
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