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Old 29.10.2020, 13:45
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Agency is asking for a fee for not signing the contract

H everyone,

Luckily, we received 3 offers from flats we saw last week. We replied to them saying that we would be happy to see the details and received contracts, and turned down 2 of them the next day, once we heard from our top choice. We signed that contract and moved into our property now.

The other 2 landlords (one agency, one private) asked us to pay 100/150 CHF for not signing the contract. I saw a few threads here regarding this situation, and also spoke to the tenants association on phone, and replied to them that we will not be paying this fee as we think there is no legal background for this fee (as also stated on : https://www.mieterverband.ch/mv/miet...haedigung.html).

The private landlord sent us a signed letter today saying that because we said "happy to hear" and gave him an address to send the contract, he assumed acceptance of the offer. Therefore, he is insisting us to pay 100 CHF within 10 days, otherwise he will involve debt register and will call the court.

To me paying a fee for not signing a contact (that we never saw before) is a bit of nonsense. But we are new to Switzerland and don't want to get into trouble from our first month. When we spoke with tenants association on the phone, they told us that if the agency/landlord is really mean, they can put us on the debt register. Does anybody have any experience on how to handle this situation?
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Old 29.10.2020, 13:50
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Re: Agency is asking for a fee for not signing the contract

You already got all the answers and information. Now you just have to stand your ground and be prepared to fight for your rights in court if it comes to the worst. The other option is to let yourself getting bullied and give the mean kids your lunch money.
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Old 29.10.2020, 13:55
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Re: Agency is asking for a fee for not signing the contract

I am not worried about standing my ground. But I am worried about legal costs if it goes that well. And I am surprised to hear that he can just put this to our debt register, if that's the case.
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Old 29.10.2020, 14:07
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Re: Agency is asking for a fee for not signing the contract

It's annoying to hear that more companies are pulling this stunt. This fee is BS.


The good companies who don't ask you for the fee will maybe give you a minor scolding, and then proceed to ask Rank 2 and 3 on their list, if they are interested in renting the place.


You could try a bluff and tell them: "You can send me the bill for the fee if you want to. But I have law insurance and I may make this case public." But this may fail and they may proceed to go to court... You would win eventually, but it's a matter of how egoistical they are to just get their stupid fee :/


If they really wanna put that in your debt register, you can do a Opposition ("Rechtsvorschlag"): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insolv...ry_proceedings
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Old 29.10.2020, 14:16
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Re: Agency is asking for a fee for not signing the contract

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I am not worried about standing my ground. But I am worried about legal costs if it goes that well. And I am surprised to hear that he can just put this to our debt register, if that's the case.
I can surprise you even more: Anyone can start a Betreibung for any made up thing. Important is to know the process and how to act as there are time limits as short as 10 days.


Unfair process of rechtsvorschlag/betreibungs...
Harrassed by a predatory company through Betreibung
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Old 29.10.2020, 14:37
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Re: Agency is asking for a fee for not signing the contract

It is or is close to being extortion.



A Betreibung is a notice that something thinks you owe them money.You have an opportunity to contest it and after that if the bringer wants to continue it would go to a form of court where someone would decide the result. If you do nothing then the notice is upheld.
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Old 29.10.2020, 14:41
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Re: Agency is asking for a fee for not signing the contract

Write them a letter, enclosing an invoice for your time wasted dealing with their claim. Make the same threats as they have made to you. Then ‘In the spirit of compromise’ offer to tear up your invoice if they do the same.
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Old 29.10.2020, 14:43
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Re: Agency is asking for a fee for not signing the contract

Replies above know the law, for me the request from the real estate company for 100/150 CHF simply doesn't pass the smell test.

I'll try the shoes of a manager at a real estate company:

-Manager: hey, what are you doing today?

-Employee: you know, someone requested a contract and did not sign. I'm doing the invoice for this, tracking the payment and preparing a betreibung in case of non-payment.

-Manager: Are you sure this is best use of your time? Are you dumb enough to believe you already sold something without a signature? Get back to work and sell this property. This time for real!!!

I'd assume the 100 CHF it's just a rogue employee and not company policy. Said rogue employee just tries to make a quick profit out of presumed ignorance of customers It would be interesting to confirm with some manager the payment first. Email to manager with employee on Cc.
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Old 29.10.2020, 14:50
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Re: Agency is asking for a fee for not signing the contract

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I'd assume the 100 CHF it's just a rogue employee and not company policy. Said rogue employee just tries to make a quick profit out of presumed ignorance of customers.

No, this is not a single employee. This is a known scheme practiced by more and more questionable Apartment Management Companies. Serious ones don't do this, but some others recognized it makes quick cash out of scared people...
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Old 29.10.2020, 14:56
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Re: Agency is asking for a fee for not signing the contract

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The private landlord sent us a signed letter today saying that because we said "happy to hear" and gave him an address to send the contract, he assumed acceptance of the offer. Therefore, he is insisting us to pay 100 CHF within 10 days, otherwise he will involve debt register and will call the court.

Well this could get interesting... If someone makes you an offer and you respond in positive manner and ask them to send you on the contract, it's not unreasonable to assume they have accepted your offer.


Is he going to claim for not signing a contract or breach of a contract?


Let us know how it goes
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Old 29.10.2020, 15:02
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Re: Agency is asking for a fee for not signing the contract

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Well this could get interesting... If someone makes you an offer and you respond in positive manner and ask them to send you on the contract, it's not unreasonable to assume they have accepted your offer.


Is he going to claim for not signing a contract or breach of a contract?


Let us know how it goes
not signing the contract he sent us
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Old 29.10.2020, 15:03
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Re: Agency is asking for a fee for not signing the contract

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Well this could get interesting... If someone makes you an offer and you respond in positive manner and ask them to send you on the contract, it's not unreasonable to assume they have accepted your offer.
No. It is unreasonable to assume the offer was accepted. Why? Because the law clearly says so.

Art. 16 Code of Obligations
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2. Form stipulated by contract

1 Where the parties agree to make a contract subject to formal requirements not prescribed by law, it is presumed that the parties do not wish to assume obligations until such time as those requirements are satisfied.

2 Where the parties stipulate a written form without elaborating further, the provisions governing the written form as required by law apply to satisfaction of that requirement.
The requirement in question is that the written contract is signed by the future tenant.
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Old 29.10.2020, 15:09
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Re: Agency is asking for a fee for not signing the contract

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I am not worried about standing my ground. But I am worried about legal costs if it goes that well. And I am surprised to hear that he can just put this to our debt register, if that's the case.
You contest it, and it goes on the debt register as a contested debt. Some Swiss friends of mine were victims of a vexatious Betreibung issuer (their landlord!). They contested every single one. It didn't have any impact on their ability to get, e.g. a mortgage.

Just tell them you've taken legal advice and you've called the Mieterverband, and the consensus is you don't have to pay this, and therefore you will not be. You might mentioned you've got legal insurance. (Which you're going to get right now, yes...?)
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Old 29.10.2020, 15:09
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Re: Agency is asking for a fee for not signing the contract

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No, this is not a single employee. This is a known scheme practiced by more and more questionable Apartment Management Companies. Serious ones don't do this, but some others recognized it makes quick cash out of scared people...
I'm truly surprised. Why a real estate company that makes thousands per deal gets into 150 CHF invoices?
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Old 29.10.2020, 15:16
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Re: Agency is asking for a fee for not signing the contract

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I'm truly surprised. Why a real estate company that makes thousands per deal gets into 150 CHF invoices?

Because they don't make the big money with renting out, but selling. And the renting-out business is not very lucrative for the effort one needs to put in (dealing with a lot of people and their applications & complaints, organizing technicians for broken things, paying the Hauswart etc.).


So it's capitalism at it's best: CHF 150 .- for 10 Min. of effort to print out the bill and send it. But it's illegal, and they know that.


I hoped that, because many people contested these bills, this practice would end... But people seem to be desperate for money nowadays
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Old 29.10.2020, 15:16
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Re: Agency is asking for a fee for not signing the contract

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Well this could get interesting... If someone makes you an offer and you respond in positive manner and ask them to send you on the contract, it's not unreasonable to assume they have accepted your offer.
Well in the contract there could be many NOGO things...
Like minimum 10 years of rent and so on
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Old 29.10.2020, 15:21
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Re: Agency is asking for a fee for not signing the contract

One more thing:

They often put it on the Application form, that you need to pay this fee if you decline the offer in the end. And then insist on it, because you signed the Appication form.

I suspect this is also the case here... can you check for that?

But: Even if there is this clause on the Application form, the fee is still inadmissible.
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Old 29.10.2020, 15:24
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Re: Agency is asking for a fee for not signing the contract

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One more thing:

They often put it on the Application form, that you need to pay this fee if you decline the offer in the end. And then insist on it, because you signed the Appication form.

I suspect this is also the case here... can you check for that?

But: Even if there is this clause on the Application form, the fee is still inadmissible.
yes it is indeed in the application forum. He highlighted that and sent the application forum to us in his first claim. We replied that we are not paying. Now he is insisting
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Old 29.10.2020, 15:25
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Re: Agency is asking for a fee for not signing the contract

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You contest it, and it goes on the debt register as a contested debt. Some Swiss friends of mine were victims of a vexatious Betreibung issuer (their landlord!). They contested every single one. It didn't have any impact on their ability to get, e.g. a mortgage.

Just tell them you've taken legal advice and you've called the Mieterverband, and the consensus is you don't have to pay this, and therefore you will not be. You might mentioned you've got legal insurance. (Which you're going to get right now, yes...?)
Good point. We should get legal insurance. But on another note, legal insurance will cost us more than this fee!
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Old 29.10.2020, 15:30
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Re: Agency is asking for a fee for not signing the contract

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But on another note, legal insurance will cost us more than this fee!
More importantly legal insurance will not cover existing disputes and might even have a cool of period for future disputes.
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