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Old 30.11.2020, 09:44
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Harassment from Landlord

Good morning all,

Another day, another annoying landlord
We recently moved into a new place, sadly the landlord lives in the same building. She has generally quite slow to fix the things that we have found in the initial inspection, some are still outstanding to date, 3 months later.

Now, we have some ongoing problems. One is the heating. It makes an incredibly loud banging noise every day at 6am which wakes us up. There is no way to bleed the radiators, and although we have complained to her, she says this is normal. Speaking with ASLOCA, the only thing we can do is pay circa 2000CHF for an independent report to assess whether this is louder than regulations permit and then somehow force her to take action or reduce rent.

Second, it is the fluff bin in the laundry room (I cannot believe I am writing this). Several weeks ago she found a chocolate wrapper in this said bin, and sent an email to all tenants asking for the person responsible to remove it, after kindly pegging it on the washing line. Now, this week I saw a used laundry detergent packet in the fluff bin, and was thus expecting another email from her (her laundry day is the day after mine). Instead, I returned home on Saturday evening to find that somebody had removed the package from the bin and inserted it into my letterbox.

I am looking for some advice on what to do? I wonder, in jest perhaps, if I should make some kind of police report about this? I will of course speak to ASLOCA again, but some advice from the seasoned members of this forum would be very welcome. It is quite a shame that we have been unable to have a good working relationship with this lady.
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Old 30.11.2020, 09:57
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Re: Harassment from Landlord

I never had issues with landlord , I had an issue with a neighbor few years ago regarding what he complained as noise outside of quiet time.

After the second time that he ringed my bell, I provide him my lawyer business card and told him to not contact me anymore and he could contact directly my lawyer or thru his lawyer as well.

Why this kind of approach.: Clearly he was trying to create a conflict without a fact or reason, then I decided to avoid of this situation and stress.
Providing him the lawyer contact itís a way to say: we gonna decide it at the court. Done with this conversation.

If I may advise you, donít fall on her game/provocation. Document everything thatís wrong and make sure you have a lawyer. I donít know the situation in details, however, it seems she is looking for confrontation. Remember that you house or flat, itís your sacred and safe place. No one is supposed to bother you when you are following the policies and obeying the law.

Hope that helps
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Old 30.11.2020, 10:03
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Re: Harassment from Landlord

In my opinion and experience, such landladies (or caretakers, or tenants who somehow have, or feel they have, senior rank) cannot be overcome, cannot be made to change, and cannot be stopped.

They can, however, be tamed. The best thing for that is to obey the particular rules that she happens to feel are super-important - even if they are not in the house rules - as long as doing so doesn't put a major strain on your life.

If the bin is for fluff only, then do not use it for anything else. And so on. I have found that people who complain on this level sometimes feel better just by knowing that they were heard. Therefore, find the email about the chocolate wrapper, and reply politely and unemotionally:
Dear LANDLADYNAME, I confirm receipt of your circular mail of DATE, sent to all the tenants in the building at ADDRESS. I also confirm that my family/spouse and I do not use the fluff bin to dispose of anything other than fluff. If we have empty wrappers or packaging, we always throw these things away in our regular rubbish bags. Kind regards YOURNAME.
And then try to find ways to spend as little mental and emotional energy on silly things such as someone having put the used packaging in your letterbox. The person who did so (who may or may not have been the landlady) evidently thinks you did it. Just throw the thing away in your regular bin, and with it, as far as possible, the annoyance you feel.

Do the same thing, right away, with any such further mail she might write. If the best case, it'll take you 2 minutes to calm down, 2 minutes to write the mail, and then you can smile and be done with it.

If you meet her in the hallway and she tells you something else that must be changed, acknowledge what you said: "Oh, yes, I see, you're checking, and you don't want visitors to park on the pavement. I understand," and then excuse yourself: "I need to go now, as I have an appointment," (always true, as you always have an appointment with yourself). And, if you can stomach it: "Have a nice day," and then leave.
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Old 30.11.2020, 12:33
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Re: Harassment from Landlord

I had a similar problem and a lawyer helped me.

Every city has a tenant association. For example https://www.mieterverband.ch/mv-zh.html in Zurich. They help you with suggestions on the issues. The subscription costs around 100 CHF per year but I am not sure if they would you right after buying the package. But you can speak to them.
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Old 30.11.2020, 14:21
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Re: Harassment from Landlord

Involving a lawyer for laundy room fluff? Really?
I think doropfiz advice is spot on!
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Old 30.11.2020, 15:00
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Re: Harassment from Landlord

I do think, though, that the noise of the radiator, at 6a.m. is a different kind of issue from the circular letters about the fluff bin. The fluff bin, the wrappers, etc. can usually be dealt with as I set out above. But I have great sympathy for your being woken so early each morning, by a noise in your home. That would bother me immensely.

Aside:
By the way, since Ryan mentioned Mieterverband, and OP said they've been to speak to ASLOCA: these are the same thing, namely Tenants' Rights Organsiations, one in the German-speaking and the other in the French-speaking areas, and there is one in the Italian-speaking areas, too. For anyone new in Switzerland, reading this thread: membership is highly recommended.
OP, harsh as it sounds, you really have only three options: move out, get them to change, or change yourselves.

I don't know whether any of the suggestions in this related thread might help: https://www.englishforum.ch/daily-li...ue-thread.html.

I also wondered how long you've been living there. Many (but not all) people develop a tolerance for a particular, set noise over time, especially if it is regular.

Anyone who is blessed to have that experience, can experience a real relief. One's brain learns to hear the very first hint of the sound, and then to know that it is of no importance, so you can roll over and continue to sleep. That rarely happens within the first few days or weeks, but can occur, gradually within several months. If you're lucky, your brain might even remember that, when the heating season starts up again next year.
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Old 30.11.2020, 15:05
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Re: Harassment from Landlord

Thanks for all the advice!

Ryan_CH thanks! We are already with ASLOCA, the Vaud Mieterverband. I will let them know about fluffgate, but they are quite helpful in general with the other issues we have been having.

rumshot, I agree that may be a good way to avoid much of the stress, however, we do not have a lawyer as of yet! May be something worthwhile!


doropfiz. Yes, perhaps the most measured and sensible approach. I think she is a little bored. She also appears to flout her own rules, her TV is quite loud after 10, waters her plants so they drip on our sunshade etc etc.

They are mostly, after all, minor annoyances!
Thanks again
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Old 30.11.2020, 15:18
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Re: Harassment from Landlord

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I also wondered how long you've been living there. Many (but not all) people develop a tolerance for a particular, set noise over time, especially if it is regular.

Or someone could get a plumber out to fix it. It could be something as simple as the boiler thermostat being set too high.

Whatever it is, the cause could depend on many factors including the type of noise specifically, whether the pipes go under floorboards, a build-up of limescale (when was the boiler last descaled?) and so on.

I'm not suggesting that the OP arranges to get it fixed but getting the noise level measures (for 2000CHF???) rather than addressing the actual problem seems a bit ridiculous (but not as ridiculous as the chocolate wrapper in the bin).

Are all Swiss landlords and landladies straight out the looney bin?
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Old 30.11.2020, 16:07
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Re: Harassment from Landlord

No problem. Iím from Lausanne but currently working nearby Zurich but every Thursday I return to home.
If you need anything drop me a note.

Welcome to Lausanne, sorry to hear about you bad landlord.


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Thanks for all the advice!

Ryan_CH thanks! We are already with ASLOCA, the Vaud Mieterverband. I will let them know about fluffgate, but they are quite helpful in general with the other issues we have been having.

rumshot, I agree that may be a good way to avoid much of the stress, however, we do not have a lawyer as of yet! May be something worthwhile!


doropfiz. Yes, perhaps the most measured and sensible approach. I think she is a little bored. She also appears to flout her own rules, her TV is quite loud after 10, waters her plants so they drip on our sunshade etc etc.

They are mostly, after all, minor annoyances!
Thanks again
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Old 30.11.2020, 18:13
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Re: Harassment from Landlord

The fluff bin thing - at our last place the caretaker was very strict and super strict about the laundry room, there were big notices everywhere. When someone left a big empty laundry liquid bottle in the fluff bin she fished it out and left it on the table in the laundry room with a notice saying the person who left it there must dispose of it in their recycling. She ruled the building with an iron rod and I was terrified when she moved next door to us when a bigger flat than hers became vacant. We actually ended up liking her and when we were moving out she hugged me and said all the best people in the building were leaving, so I was quite touched
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Old 01.12.2020, 10:46
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Re: Harassment from Landlord

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I never had issues with landlord , I had an issue with a neighbor few years ago regarding what he complained as noise outside of quiet time.

After the second time that he ringed my bell, I provide him my lawyer business card and told him to not contact me anymore and he could contact directly my lawyer or thru his lawyer as well.
Were you making that noise though?
Or were the complaints unjustified?
Playing the lawyer card if the former was true would be a bit jerky.

Last edited by gipfelisturmer; 01.12.2020 at 12:16.
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Old 01.12.2020, 10:59
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Re: Harassment from Landlord

Thanks again for your replies

I agree it would be much easier to get a plumber out, it is probably either something quite simple, or perhaps it is just the nature of the old building, pipes moving as warming up etc.

We have been here for 3 months now, although the noises started when the heating season began (some time in Oct). She says they are normal.

Cherub it sounds like it could be the same woman! She does exactly the same, although now I think she has decided that it is us!

Thanks for your offer rumshot

And yes Tom1234 I think they are straight out of the fluff bin!

She has not yet replied to our email stating that it was not our detergent packet. Let us see how this evolves!

Would it be considered too much to send the landlord a letter (recommended) to clearly state our noise complaint?
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Old 01.12.2020, 11:09
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Re: Harassment from Landlord

A letter is the correct way to make the complaint official, yes.

You perhaps should raise the matter of the noisy TV after 10pm in the same letter. Normally, one should try to resolve such issues directly (polite request to the other party, who perhaps does not realise the sound travels through the wall). However if you make a verbal approach directly before / after the radiator noise letter, it will look like a vendetta rather than a perfectly proper behaviour.

Tempting though it is to say forget the TV thing, you should not - the longer it goes on, the harder it is to resolve ("it was never a problem before....why are you raising it now"), and you clearly have a landlady who is going to be a pain, meaning there will not be a good time to raise the matter (she will always find some fault in your behaviour, regardless of realities).
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Old 01.12.2020, 13:15
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Re: Harassment from Landlord

I'd overlooked the part about the loud TV. And the way she waters the plants.

I've changed my advice. All that I said applies, and could help to improve the situation.
But if I were in your position, OP, I would try to find a way to move out. There are too many issues: heating noise, fluff bin, petty mails, TV, watering plants, other defects in your apartment.
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Old 01.12.2020, 14:47
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Re: Harassment from Landlord

I like to place the things in a official way, it itís the best way to avoid future issues or avoid conflicts.

Culturally we arenít into ďconflictsĒ, however, I donít like this bla bla bla based on ďwe always did like thatĒ.

Itís my understanding that policies and law should be Clear and written...

I would notify her and wait for an official response... and you go from there.


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Thanks again for your replies

I agree it would be much easier to get a plumber out, it is probably either something quite simple, or perhaps it is just the nature of the old building, pipes moving as warming up etc.

We have been here for 3 months now, although the noises started when the heating season began (some time in Oct). She says they are normal.

Cherub it sounds like it could be the same woman! She does exactly the same, although now I think she has decided that it is us!

Thanks for your offer rumshot

And yes Tom1234 I think they are straight out of the fluff bin!

She has not yet replied to our email stating that it was not our detergent packet. Let us see how this evolves!

Would it be considered too much to send the landlord a letter (recommended) to clearly state our noise complaint?
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Old 02.12.2020, 15:38
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Re: Harassment from Landlord

One thing that I've experienced is that it is better to rent a flat through an agency. Yes they are notoriously expesive and many are crap, however at the end of the day this relationship is purely transactional whereas renting from a private landlord brings in the added personal feelings, viewpoints etc. If you are to move, I definitely recomend to rent from an agency. Less hassle long term.
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Old 02.12.2020, 17:47
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Re: Harassment from Landlord

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One thing that I've experienced is that it is better to rent a flat through an agency. Yes they are notoriously expesive and many are crap, however at the end of the day this relationship is purely transactional whereas renting from a private landlord brings in the added personal feelings, viewpoints etc. If you are to move, I definitely recomend to rent from an agency. Less hassle long term.
Good idea but in many cases you do not have a choice. When we had to find a rental place twice in last 6 years around Zurich, the confirmation would only come after applying for 10+ apartments and sometimes waiting for months. You then tend to take whatever comes on your way.

That being said, I totally agree with agency vs landlord. We almost confirmed an apartment via landlord but left because of his attitude. He wanted a reference from my company and then called to reference to say that he is doing a favor to me and would like her to remember for future. Plus he would start complaining about people cooking habits, smell from apartment, cleaning etc. etc. Within 2-3 days of dealing with this landlord, we decided not to go 1 in the future and try via agency.
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Old 02.12.2020, 18:21
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Re: Harassment from Landlord

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One thing that I've experienced is that it is better to rent a flat through an agency. Yes they are notoriously expesive and many are crap, however at the end of the day this relationship is purely transactional whereas renting from a private landlord brings in the added personal feelings, viewpoints etc. If you are to move, I definitely recomend to rent from an agency. Less hassle long term.
Agree. Funnily enough though, you'll hear lots of complaints about some agencies, especially Wincasa. Never had any problems with them, in fact till we buy our own apt/house we'll never venture to rent from private landlords, too risky imo.
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Old 03.12.2020, 11:15
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Re: Harassment from Landlord

Thanks for comments again
Agree it may be safer to go with an agency next time, but we didn't have much of a choice when we got this place!
You do hear stories of people getting lucky with their landlords, although I suppose it is quite the lottery...

To update slightly, I have somehow made the radiator significantly quieter by whacking it with a hammer. Something I read on a post somewhere on here. Very surprised that it has worked, lets see how long it lasts!

Will also send a letter to her soon. Perhaps try and speak with the neighbors too, I believe the one who ahs moved in quite recently has also had some issues with the landlord
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Old 03.12.2020, 11:20
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Re: Harassment from Landlord

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To update slightly, I have somehow made the radiator significantly quieter by whacking it with a hammer. Something I read on a post somewhere on here. Very surprised that it has worked, lets see how long it lasts!
It's simple science. If it usually makes noise over time you can pre release all the noise by making an acute higher intensity noise for a shorter duration.

Another way to fix it is that you find the pipes which go between floors and bang them in rhythm with the morning noise, this will enable an easier summoning of a plumber if followed religiously.
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