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Old 18.09.2020, 00:09
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Tenant in sublet does not want to receive money

Hello all,

[Crazy tenant story below]

Long story short, me wife and baby were subleasing a furnished place for a few months last year. We made a contract in which I would pay the normal rent + some 100 chf per month for the furniture and appliance.

We agreed later I would pay the regie the normal amount and would pay her the balance concerning the furniture when she returned. When she arrived we started to have issues, such as her wanting us to activate our insurance for a 5chf lost stool.

I have been asking her to give me her bank details so I could pay. I sent messages in whatsapp and she never replied that. I finally sent an email, copying the regie, but she never replied it. I know she is aware of the messages but is choosing not to reply. Why would she do that? Why not want to receive the money from the rest of the rent?

I feel like she is trying to set a trap against me, so I am saving all the messages and proof.

Do you think I should insisting on paying, like, sending a registered letter? The amount is over 1k CHF

Now the (very) long story that ends with her harassing us:

Was looking for a place to sublease last year and then found this 2-room in a very nice and central area of Geneva. Low price, good location, we contacted her. The tenant was looking forward to sublease it for one year, and being from the same nationality made it easier for us to connect. In the beginning she was very nice and open to discuss.

We agreed a price of the normal rent + an amount for the furnitures and appliances.

To give you an idea, all those were second hand or very old stuff. Old fridge, stove, small old washing machine, old sofabed, etc. Everything was working so we didn't bat an eye, we only wanted to use the place to have an address and sleep as we were traveling around much in 2019.

The tenant wanted to pass an image that she is very detached from material world, so she had many items which were old and simple, and in some she had added some touches such as painting it in a different colour or adding old wallpaper. Some other items were in a horrible state but she didn't care much (at least she said). Among those items there was, for instance, a very cheap, semi-broken stool she applied some wallpaper. Pay attention to this item. She also had placed a wardrobe nailed to the floor and (very close to the) wall, made with old wood from doors and other items that were to be discarded. Many of her other furniture were made based on discarded items.

What is important from this: she said more than once that we can throw away everything we don’t want. Like stove, fridge, sofa, chairs, wardrobe. "Those are old items I found, so I don't care", she said, "I only want to have stuff for the basic needs when I return, plus this chair and that other item in the bathroom". When we moved and in a few audio messages she repeated this, so we have some proof.

So we sign the contract, only including the necessity of an insurance RC, and I asked a list of stuff she wanted to keep but she didn't bother to fill it. Our contact seemed to have a spirit of a mutual trust.

We also included the cave in the contract, but she used almost 70% with her items, and I didn't move a thing of that other than adding some of my stuff.

All went well, we moved in and she returned to her country.

But then she basically disappeared for two months. We were trying to reach because the regie was rightfully not giving us any information to pay the rent, because they had a relationship with her. She was the one who is supposed to pay the rent and we paid our rent to her. But she didn't reply for two months. After much insistence the regie gave us a BVR and we could pay, but it didn't include the amount for the furniture. At this rate the tenant finally reappeared, saying that her phone had been stolen, and then we agreed that I would pay her the remaining balance of the rent when she returned.

So for a few months things worked a bit like this, she would disappear for a few days or weeks, unless there was something of her interest. Meanwhile we threw a few of the furniture out, stuff in such a bad situation that it had termites, for instance.

Time passes, we are also travelling for work so locked the apartment. But back in July 2019, there is a strong storm in Geneva, and when we return in August, we discovered that her cave was flooded about 10 cm. We message her saying what was happened and once again she takes some days to reply. We observed a few of her stuff being wet, and she says she wants to send her friend to look at the cave. But no one never came.

All tenants of the building received a letter stating that they should contact their Assurance Ménage for the lost items, so we forward it to her.
We say again that some of her items are wet and that we are open for her friend to look, but she says it is not necessary.

Anyway, she disappeared again for a few weeks.

We accidentally broke her bed (mostly because it is old), so we offer to activate our RC, and we do so, but she brushes off saying it is not needed since the bed could still work for a single person, so she ignores the RC requests for information.

By the end of the year, we started noticing mold growing on the ceiling, and we realize it must be connected with the works in the building. We try to clean it, only for it to be back after two weeks. And then we realize that the mold was growing on the wall that was just a few centimeters from the wardrobe nailed to the floor.

We asked the regie about the mold but the regie stated we need to contact the tenant. The tenant once again brushes off and say that we can contact the regie directly, because they are the ones responsible for it. And then days keep passing and we keep cleaning but mold is returning, and we realize it is out of control, and worse, it is affecting our health.

Tenant says again it is us and the regie, like it is not her problem, but finally she agrees on sending a message to the regie. But she doesn't want to be involved because according to her she is far from Switzerland and can't keep in touch, so we need to solve the problem with the regie.

Thankfully the regie was nice to us and came to verify the problem, and told they can clean it, but they identify the old wardrobe as one of the sources of the mold. They also told us that without taking it down, we can't fix the mold problem, and that the tenant must do it. We contact the tenant and once again she takes several days. After some insistence, she agrees that we tear the old wardrobe out but ask if we can't do it ourselves.

Now this is a big wardrobe weighing more than 100kg of old wood, and then we realize, it is full of mold inside as well! More than that, many of our clothes, including some expensive stuff such as suits and dresses, are affected by mold, some of them beyond repair and we had to throw them. We calculate we lost around 300 CHF in clothing with this issue, not to say that our health deteriorated and our baby had ongoing nose issues. But since she decided to let the bed issue go, we didn't complain about this.

She authorised us to tear it down and she would pay around 120 for it, so we do it. But she never paid us.

Finally, after the mold issue took a lot of time and the need for the regie to include a dehumidifier that would take days to drain all humidity from the wall, we decided to move to another apartment. We speak to the tenant that since we are asking to leave earlier than the end of the contract or the 3 months notice, we will help her to find another subletter. And we quickly found someone.

But lazy tenant once again want us to be her representatives in Geneva and basically sort all of her problems with the new subletter, like us doing a new contract or sending messages to the subletter, or sending a message to the regie to ask them to let the subletter pay the rent.

When we left the apartment, we also left many items for it to be a bit more liveable, such a new commode, a clothes hanger, a microwave, coffeemaker, etc.

So we thought the tenant would be happy and the story was over. But then a little nightmare begin.

First the tenant arrives and in a few days complain that her items are in the cave and she can't get it, such as the bike, and she wants the stove and fridge rearranged. She says that I have an ethical obligation to help her with this. Anyway, I helped her with getting the bike, rearrange furniture. And then we check the cave and she notices that many of her items that were in the floor were destroyed or in a bad state. Was it expensive or valuable, you ask?

Most of the items are again old decorations that she found in the trash, and then some clothes and towels, and an album of pictures. Then she complains she can't find her pillow and blanket, but she agrees it is not our fault that the storm destroyed her stuff, so it is ok. End of story? No

A few days later she started sending me messages that her stool is missing and she need it to climb to get her other stuff in the kitchen. Note: she also has a chair, a sofa, and many of other items she can use to climb. And no, the stool is not among the items she ask us to save. Back to us, we had no idea about such a small item that was worthy less than 5 chf. Probably it was lost among the debris of the wardrobe.

Then she start to complain that we have an ethical obligation to be responsibility for her lost items in the cave (that must be worth no more than 100 CHF), even if we didn't have a legal obligation for that. More and more she start to whine about that stool and the items in the cave, and then about the pillow and cover.

She wants us to activate our menage insurance for HER items in the cave, and we say we can't because this insurance is for personal items mostly. After much insistence we call our insurance, only for them to say that it must be her insurance.

Then she says that her insurance affirmed it should be our insurance the one responsible. I found it strange and called her insurer, only for them to say that first, this is not an obligatory insurance, second, it is for her items so she is the one that should activate her insurance. We could activate ours but then big chance they would not cover. In any case, we have a 400 CHf franchise so we say no.
The tenant finally gets tired of whining and say ok, I will let it go. End of story? No.

A few days later she start harassing us again asking about the damn stool, that it is her memory and she wants to send it to her country, and that we activate our RC for that. We said we don't know of any stool, but she keeps insisting and even asking us to contact the other subletter - she also doesn't know.

Tenant decides to be more aggressive and threatens to call the police to notify a missing stool! She starts to send me ironic messages that after that "she is sure the stool is gonna appear" after she called the police, that there must be a thief around, and that her blanket and pillow should appear too.

Now the tenant was complaining that returning to Geneva made her poor again and she didn't have money. We realized that all those harassment tactics were to extract some cash from us. I always wanted to keep respectful so I say to her that no insurance is gonna cover this, those items are not valuable and she didn't left the blanket and pillow with us. More than that, any insurance would take months to be proceeded.

At this rate she finally lets us know that she cancelled her Ménage insurance before the subletting contract.

So she was complaining she was cashless, but never mentioned the balance of the rent that we owed her. And it is over 1000 CHF. So we start to be puzzled.

Another week has passed and she decided to be even more aggressive. She says that it is a lie that her wardrobe was full of mold and we are liars and we should pay for her little stool. That she will complain to the regie. She insists again that we are culprit for what happened to her objects in the cave and that we didn't do anything, didn't even notify her (yes we had, and we have proof).

I sent pictures of our conversations and say I will contact ASLOCA. Also, since she wants to charge us for a stool, I say that she needs to pay our items we lost with the mold (350 CHF) plus our health costs plus the wardrobe destruction costs. Finally I remind her that I need to pay her some 1000 CHF in rent. But she got scared and blocked me!

We found it strange that she is in need of money but didn't ask for the rent difference. We send an email copying the regie, but she didn't reply. Finally she contact me in another whatsapp message to say she is doing an inventory to send her stuff to her country so we should take one stuff that is ours, and then we remind her that we need to pay. But then she disappears again.

From this story I have the feeling that she wants to prepare a trap such as to go to authorities to say we didn't pay her. So I am saving all the proof such as the messages and emails.

Now I am thinking on sending her a registered letter, but do you think I should go to such lengths?
I am sorry for the long story but it also helps me to vent this out. This lady has been harassing us for a few weeks now and making us lose our cool.
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Old 18.09.2020, 00:49
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Re: Tenant in sublet does not want to receive money

So she had a place and she sublet the whole place to you, 'furnished' for what she was paying plus a little extra for renting the furniture.
After a while she agreed that instead of paying the full amount to her you could pay her rent directly to the regie and you'd owe her for the extra rent for the furniture.

And now she's fussing over some old furniture and some other things that happened but refusing to take the furniture money?

Seems very odd. I can't see how it would be a trap. If she makes a claim against you that you haven't paid, then you pay it.

I wouldn't go to any extraordinary lengths but hope that she'll be gone soon.

Maybe you can take over the lease, as you're effectively paying the rent there anyway.
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Old 18.09.2020, 12:20
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Re: Tenant in sublet does not want to receive money

Thanks for the reply Landers.

Tenant was lazy and wanted us to pay the whole rent directly to the regie, plus the furniture. Regie said no. So we pay the regie only rent and saved the money for tenant.

We already moved from the apartment and we don't want much contact with her (to give an idea, she was kicked out from UBS and another bank because she is disrespectful).

I also more on the side of doing nothing, but wanted to know if there are more options to safeguard.
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Old 18.09.2020, 12:30
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Re: Tenant in sublet does not want to receive money

Oh dear...the way you describe things she seems to struggle with some mental health issues

How do you know she was kicked out from several banks?I have a hard time seeing that it is something she would share with anyone.
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Old 18.09.2020, 12:54
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Re: Tenant in sublet does not want to receive money

Addiction, mental health problems? On one hand, you don't have to worry much about the police. Any inconsistencies in her story and the officers will take the issue in a very relaxed way. On the other hand, she's suffering and probably lacks the capacity to overcome the problem on her own. What to do?
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Old 18.09.2020, 13:31
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Re: Tenant in sublet does not want to receive money

In short: the police won't care.

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Old 18.09.2020, 23:38
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Re: Tenant in sublet does not want to receive money

It really does sound like a mental health issue, a serious language barrier, or something else going on...

Either way, as long as you have moved out cleanly and kept records, there is very little she can do.

If the communication up to now has been all via phone messaging or email. yes, the normal 'swiss' way is to send a registered letter, clearly stating what you plan to do.

If she lacks boundaries and can't make good decisions, then I would say to lay out clearly what you are prepared to do.

Eg. mould...not your problem....wardrobe....you have records to say she agreed to it being removed, and that's not your problem....stool....was not there.... basement water issue is absolutely nothing to do with you...

And the outstanding money you can simply offer to send it to a bank account and ask her to tell you where to send it. Ask her to reply with a clear due date of when you want it resolved.

Here's an alternative hypothesis:
- she has left the country
- she has substantial debts of her own
- she can't actually afford to come back and sort it out
- or she owes too much money and can't come back to face it.

- her permit may be no longer valid
- you are actually the lower end of her list of problems right now...
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Old 19.09.2020, 12:43
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Re: Tenant in sublet does not want to receive money

Sounds like a pain in the ass. Are you a member of https://www.asloca.ch/ ? Mabe give them a call to see what your obligations are.
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