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Old 30.03.2020, 11:58
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Difficult deposit return from Landlord

Dear all,

I did a search, but didn't find anything very relevant to my situation.

So, recently moved out of a house went through the checklist etc. The owner is selling.

Now the landlord has added things, not to the form, but in an email, saying that they need in addition to be paid, and added a supplementary charge of over a thousand franc.

Some of them, ok, I get, but there are a few which I certainly think are natural wear and tear, or the homeowner responsibility.

For example - 400 CHF for a new battery for the home security system. We never used this anyway, and we told him once that it needed changing (not in writing, in person) but he said if we weren't using it, it didn't matter (I asked so as not to risk the alarm going off or something, I didn't know the system).

A broken freezer door. This is annoying. It's a small door within the fridge for a tiny freezer section. It broke, and we paid to get someone to look at it. He said the fridge anyway was 17 years old, and letting out air, it wasn't worth replacing.

He wants 170 CHF for that. There's no sense in that, but of course, he says the fridge is completely fine.

I think he wants everything perfect for *his* handover, and wants me to pay for these things rather than him. Only then will he release my deposit (the charges are about half the deposit total).

I haven't replied yet (never write an email angry and besides, care with written communications right), but does this sound out of order to you? I will I guess speak with the MV people, but just wanted to check for other experiences.

There are other examples; he was over to take a meter reading and whilst there fixed a tip and turn window that wasn't working optimally. I found out at the end of the year he charged me for his time (3 minutes) to the tune of 50CHF. This is the sort of guy he is, seemingly very nice, but right to the rappen.


thanks,
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Old 30.03.2020, 12:20
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Re: Difficult deposit return from Landlord

He is trying it on. Expats are usually an easy target.
The deposit should have been paid into a special account that stays intact until the hand-over is formally completed- everything must be noted on that form.
If you have joined the tenants association, great.
If you have "Rechtschutzversicherung" great .
If no to both be prepared for a long fight.

I am preparing myself for a difficult hand-over in four months time so am really interested to hear how you get on. Good luck
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Old 30.03.2020, 12:33
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Re: Difficult deposit return from Landlord

I believe the life for electrical appliances is 10 years, so there should be nothing to pay. It's probably the same type of fridge we have in our apartments and those little catches and pins are notorious for breaking.

You should not have to pay for the new battery, as that is part of the service life for something the landlord put it. Doesn't matter if you used it or not, it's his responsibility.

He definitely cannot charge you to read the electric meter. Apart from being very petty it's part of the handover process.
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Old 30.03.2020, 12:45
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Re: Difficult deposit return from Landlord

@KiwiSteve also makes a point. Where was the deposit paid? If it was not on a seperate blocked account, he has a serious problem.
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Old 30.03.2020, 13:00
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Re: Difficult deposit return from Landlord

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I believe the life for electrical appliances is 10 years, so there should be nothing to pay. It's probably the same type of fridge we have in our apartments and those little catches and pins are notorious for breaking.

You should not have to pay for the new battery, as that is part of the service life for something the landlord put it. Doesn't matter if you used it or not, it's his responsibility.

He definitely cannot charge you to read the electric meter. Apart from being very petty it's part of the handover process.
With the meter, it was a few months ago, and just while he was over. It's an example of how he is, friendly but charging for his time.

You're right about the deposit question - naively I paid it to him directly.

As to next steps, I am speaking to an estate agent here who helped me in the past. I'd rather hope to get some standard statement that he will recognise that I'm challenging it correctly and stop with this nonsense.

Thanks for the note about 10 years, this, if it's written as guidance somewhere I think it will help. As I say, I can't be arsed with fighting this legally, I just don't need it.
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Old 30.03.2020, 13:13
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Re: Difficult deposit return from Landlord

While double checking the service life of a fridge, which I cannot find but my wife (she worked about 10 years for a large rental admin company in Berne) thinks is 15 years, I came across this useful document for future renters.

https://www.homegate.ch/neutral/img/...r_protocol.pdf
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Old 30.03.2020, 13:22
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Re: Difficult deposit return from Landlord

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You're right about the deposit question - naively I paid it to him directly.
Then you have him by the proverbials! He has no right to do this and you can denounce him to the police. Don't threaten him with, if you don't.... I'll.... but tell him you want the deposit back in full or else you'll hand it to your lawyer to take legal steps. He can read between the lines. Good luck and let us know.
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Old 30.03.2020, 13:25
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Re: Difficult deposit return from Landlord

Right, he's also charging 100 CHF for painting 4 rooms each. I'm more inclined to think that's ok, even if the price is debatable (or at least, should be discussed), these were freshly painted when we moved in three years ago.

That's a dead handy form, really recommend anyone to fill that out first. As usual with these things, you've other things to think about at the time, but are often grateful when you took the time to do things right.
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Old 30.03.2020, 13:27
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Re: Difficult deposit return from Landlord

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Then you have him by the proverbials! He has no right to do this and you can denounce him to the police. Don't threaten him with, if you don't.... I'll.... but tell him you want the deposit back in full or else you'll hand it to your lawyer to take legal steps. He can read between the lines. Good luck and let us know.
Do you think so?

You'd recommend even mentioning about a lawyer? Might it be better to say that one's consulted with the MV on this (I haven't) but that they say the deposit should be returned in full first, and any outstanding charges should be discussed and agreed afterwards?

What do you think?
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Old 30.03.2020, 13:44
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Re: Difficult deposit return from Landlord

We had a nasty time when moving out of a flat in Baar. The owner expected the winter garten concrete patio floor after 6 years, to be looking exactly like it was when the building was erected (so a karcher-ing wasn't enough) and for every metal plate (eg: flush buttons of loos, electrical point wall plates etc) that had any kind of light scratch, to be replaced.....even the extractor hood was expected to be steam cleaned right through the ducting (rather than just keeping the filters clean) - all on the basis that the flat was brand new when we moved in, and was expected (and in the contract) to be like new when we moved out. We wound up paying for his choice of professional cleaner - it was expensive, but we just weren't up for the hassle.

Hopefully you've kept any kind of phone/email trail of past discussions with your landlord that might help your case, if you've got the time and energy and expertise to "duke it out"....I wish you luck!
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Old 30.03.2020, 13:58
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Re: Difficult deposit return from Landlord

Last time we moved, I forwarded all of my nickel&diming landlord to my insurance to handle/pay.

They took care of most of the stuff, argued what should be paid and what not based on the expected lifetimes, normal wear and tear etc.

That took the bill way down.
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Old 30.03.2020, 14:04
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Re: Difficult deposit return from Landlord

If you don't mind reading German, the information at the below link is quite handy.

https://www.mieterverband.ch/mv/miet...ertabelle.html

It tells you the expected lifetime of products and what you could reasonably expect to pay. It may not cover your particular circumstances, but could be worth a check-out.

IP
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Old 30.03.2020, 15:13
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Re: Difficult deposit return from Landlord

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Do you think so?

You'd recommend even mentioning about a lawyer? Might it be better to say that one's consulted with the MV on this (I haven't) but that they say the deposit should be returned in full first, and any outstanding charges should be discussed and agreed afterwards?

What do you think?
Maybe tell him you've consulted with them and they've asked where the deposit was paid to. And then ask for proof of where the deposit is. If it's not a a special blocked account - which it isn't if you never signed papers to open it, tell him someone else also advised you speak to the police about it if he does not return the deposit. But not in a threatening way.

Also reading the very useful link from IcePanda, the life of the fridge is 10 years.
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Old 30.03.2020, 15:46
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Re: Difficult deposit return from Landlord

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Maybe tell him you've consulted with them and they've asked where the deposit was paid to. And then ask for proof of where the deposit is. If it's not a a special blocked account - which it isn't if you never signed papers to open it, tell him someone else also advised you speak to the police about it if he does not return the deposit. But not in a threatening way.

Also reading the very useful link from IcePanda, the life of the fridge is 10 years.
I've opted to wait for some people to come back to me with further information rather than challenge this now. I simply shared the very nice link about the MV suggested lifetime and that I would be reviewing his list against this.

When he mentioned in a complaining manner about the time it took to find the replacement freezer door for a 17 year old fridge, I politely reminded him about the support we provided in his house selling efforts (which were successful).

"You mention it took some time to find the compartment door, let me remind you of the efforts we made to show people around your house, and the cleaning in preparation for that each week, as well as the time for the photographers.

We also showed people who came around on evenings and Sunday thinking that we were the owners and asked to look, we didnít want to say no and give a bad impression, so we showed a few families around in our own time. Iím not sure if you were aware of that."

This is definitely going to run and run, I knew it would and I just can't be doing with it, but anyway, I'll share updates as we go. Might be interesting or helpful to some.

Also. thanks IcePanda for the link, it's really excellent. I'm sure that will come in handy for others in such a situation.
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Old 02.04.2020, 14:38
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Re: Difficult deposit return from Landlord

So, I went through the list of things I would pay for (breakages, damage) and things that I would not (anything according to the MV website on aged equipment) and the value was about half of that being asked for originally.

His reply has me bamboozled.

"Dear ******, do what you want!!!!
If you don't want to pay that, let it be"

and that's it.

My plan is to wait a few days, remind him of his obligations to return the deposit and I will pay him.

So strange....
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Old 02.04.2020, 14:57
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Re: Difficult deposit return from Landlord

Fact is, some people (landlords) believe they are right, but are absolutely wrong, some 'try it on' but know they are not right, and some are completely naive.


My only advice is to be really clear, really simple and really firm. Negotiating tip is finding your bottom line.


Bottom line is you should get your deposit back (law is on your side, systems are clear) but it might take a long time...



So you can be as clear as you like. I totally support your plan to wait a few days then send a follow up email if he has not clearly indicated when and how the deposit will be returned to you. Perhaps with some appropriate links to the Mieterverband website.


The fact that he did not 'bank' your deposit correctly in the first place is a sign that he already does not know the law/obligations, so quite likely he is simply ignorant and making his own rules as he goes along.


I would also not get into any 'you did/I did'. He is clearly just trying to maximise his profit. And another tip - for whatever you did agree to pay, make sure you insist on a receipt that proves the cost - otherwise, he may be charging you for things that he didn't actually do (eg. saying he painted the rooms, but for that I'd leave it because the cost quoted is very low, so I bet he did it himself, or didn't do it at all)...
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Old 02.04.2020, 15:34
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Re: Difficult deposit return from Landlord

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Fact is, some people (landlords) believe they are right, but are absolutely wrong, some 'try it on' but know they are not right, and some are completely naive.


My only advice is to be really clear, really simple and really firm. Negotiating tip is finding your bottom line.


Bottom line is you should get your deposit back (law is on your side, systems are clear) but it might take a long time...



So you can be as clear as you like. I totally support your plan to wait a few days then send a follow up email if he has not clearly indicated when and how the deposit will be returned to you. Perhaps with some appropriate links to the Mieterverband website.


The fact that he did not 'bank' your deposit correctly in the first place is a sign that he already does not know the law/obligations, so quite likely he is simply ignorant and making his own rules as he goes along.


I would also not get into any 'you did/I did'. He is clearly just trying to maximise his profit. And another tip - for whatever you did agree to pay, make sure you insist on a receipt that proves the cost - otherwise, he may be charging you for things that he didn't actually do (eg. saying he painted the rooms, but for that I'd leave it because the cost quoted is very low, so I bet he did it himself, or didn't do it at all)...
Hi Sweetpea,

I share the same belief. I don't think he understands that the obligation of a tenant is not the same as an owner. I also believes that he's not understanding my behaviour and is possibly going to 'give up' and walk away but thinking he was right all along, and these stupid foreigners don't know how it is.

I hope that's what comes out of it, but I did share the MV text with him, and I'm happy that my communications thus far have always been clear and polite whilst pointing out what I believe is fair.

What a weird response though. I can't call him odd, as no matter how long I live here I can't pin down what's 'normal', the same rules don't apply in quite the same way.

What is good is that I don't feel annoyed anymore. We've just moved, and I could do with the money, but hey-ho. We're all locked down anyway.

thanks for your response.
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Old 02.04.2020, 18:18
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Re: Difficult deposit return from Landlord

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I would also not get into any 'you did/I did'.
This. Don't focus on proving yourself right. Focus on getting the deposit back. Everything else just muddies the waters.
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Old 02.04.2020, 20:16
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Re: Difficult deposit return from Landlord

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If you don't mind reading German, the information at the below link is quite handy.

https://www.mieterverband.ch/mv/miet...ertabelle.html

It tells you the expected lifetime of products and what you could reasonably expect to pay. It may not cover your particular circumstances, but could be worth a check-out.

IP
A very good suggestions to refer to the Mieterverband!!

We had a very nasty experience when we handed over our apartment in Kanton Zurich to the landlady. She had asked for an independent "insprector" to be present from her side to go through every possible item during the handover.

We accepted our liabilty for everything that this inspector identified for us. She kept disputing and arguing with this inspector all the time and he had to convince her on several occasions that she was wrong. Eventually, what we as tenents had to fix was agreed and signed off. The apartment was handed over, but then to our surprise, we received a letter from her a few days later, asking us to pay for several additional items which had never been agreed. When we told her so, she turned very nasty and refused to pay our deposit.

We then became members of the Mieterverband, consulted their lawyer and responded to the land lady based on this lawyer's advise. We never heard anything from the land lady again but in leass than a fortnight our deposit was in our account.

So, to cut the long story short, go to Mieterverband and seek their advise. They are saviors!!
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Old 03.04.2020, 06:36
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Re: Difficult deposit return from Landlord

In my experience, things which were not done correctly at the start of the rental often only become apparent when you end the contract, and then have the problems.

It is more difficult to help tenants after a handover if an expert was not present.

That the deposit was never placed in a rental surety account, despite the OP's point about his wife having worked for a large rental admin company in Bern for many years, is rather shocking.

As a tenant, cooperating with regard to viewings once you have given notice is not optional. Being nice and helpful doesn't guarantee an uncomplicated handover.

There are resources out there to help tenants. Many people just don't want to pay for a professional with experience to attend at the start of the lease or at the handover. The same can be said about owners though many are represented by rental agencies who should know the rules.
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Last edited by Mrs. Doolittle; 03.04.2020 at 23:07. Reason: The text in red was an error on my part
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