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Old 10.01.2021, 17:18
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Tenant rights wrt trees being cut down

Hi everyone,

We recently moved to a 2nd floor flat in Zurich (we are renting). One of the things that we appreciated most about our flat was a pair of gorgeous fir trees in front of the building. These provided some much-needed shade and privacy from the building opposite ours.

Now, both trees have been cut down. We were not informed about this in advance. We do not yet know if the decision to cut down the trees was taken by the owner or by the city. Does anyone know if we have any rights in this situation, e.g., to be compensated for the loss of shade and privacy, or even better, to ask for the trees to be replaced?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. We don't even know to which official city department to direct our questions for something like this.
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Old 10.01.2021, 19:26
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Re: Tenant rights wrt trees being cut down

Don't think you have any. Our landlord took a couple of trees out of the front garden of the house we rented without telling us. Didn't affect us mind, but ...
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Old 10.01.2021, 19:29
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Re: Tenant rights wrt trees being cut down

I don't think you can get any kind of compensation, but you could still contact your landlord. They would know why the trees were removed and if there are any plans for replacing them. Depending on what they say, you could also let them know how much you appreciated the trees, and that you would love to see new ones take their place. If you're on good terms with your neighbors, you could ask them to request new trees as well. It seems these issues are taken more seriously if you have multiple people ask for something.
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Old 11.01.2021, 08:21
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Re: Tenant rights wrt trees being cut down

Some old trees near us were taken down as the roots were affecting the integrity of the underground garage
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Old 11.01.2021, 12:14
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Re: Tenant rights wrt trees being cut down

Sorry, but you can get no compensation for this. It's not something you have a right to and in the same way if you have a nice lake view and then someone builds a high rise block of flats between you and the lake.

If the tress were cut down illegally for any reason, then the Commune will fine the perpetrator, but I'm afraid you won't see any of the fine!
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Old 11.01.2021, 12:17
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Re: Tenant rights wrt trees being cut down

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Sorry, but you can get no compensation for this. It's not something you have a right to and in the same way if you have a nice lake view and then someone builds a high rise block of flats between you and the lake.

If the tress were cut down illegally for any reason, then the Commune will fine the perpetrator, but I'm afraid you won't see any of the fine!
I had though that there was 'indirect loss' if someone built something in front of your property that, for example, removed a view of the lake. If they block your sunlight, its direct loss, which is a bit easier, but I thought views were under indirect loss.
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Old 11.01.2021, 12:48
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Re: Tenant rights wrt trees being cut down

Unless you also rented the trees, you will have a hard time getting compensation.
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Old 11.01.2021, 12:57
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Re: Tenant rights wrt trees being cut down

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I had though that there was 'indirect loss' if someone built something in front of your property that, for example, removed a view of the lake. If they block your sunlight, its direct loss, which is a bit easier, but I thought views were under indirect loss.
If you rent a property that was advertised as having lake views, then could you claim a rent reduction if those views are blocked?

The potential rent for any new contract would have gone down, but do they take anything like that into account for existing tenants?

As an owner, there is definitely no right to any specific view unless covered by normal building rules covering heights etc. Which is why the expensive properties on the hill overlooking us also own the land downhill from them, so they control any building.
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Old 13.01.2021, 23:52
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Re: Tenant rights wrt trees being cut down

It may be actually other way around - you moving in being the reason trees had to go as trees may be very reason for blocking sunlight which is regulated per m2 per tenant for rental properties and there window of let's say 1m2 of direct sunlight is good for xm2 vs window with shade or high-building in front be let's say 50% of unshaded window.

about 20 years ago I had similar conversation with the landlord (as I also wanted to have a view to old trees of my balcony - however it was not an option for Livit - as that would allow tenants to quit rental contracts anytime and Livit would have to cover for it.
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Old 14.01.2021, 08:09
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Re: Tenant rights wrt trees being cut down

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It may be actually other way around - you moving in being the reason trees had to go as trees may be very reason for blocking sunlight which is regulated per m2 per tenant for rental properties and there window of let's say 1m2 of direct sunlight is good for xm2 vs window with shade or high-building in front be let's say 50% of unshaded window.

about 20 years ago I had similar conversation with the landlord (as I also wanted to have a view to old trees of my balcony - however it was not an option for Livit - as that would allow tenants to quit rental contracts anytime and Livit would have to cover for it.
Are you sure this is the way the law operates?
As an architect i dont know of any Shade % that affect the size of the windows/openings.
Also the law only is applicaple if you have a new building or make a renovation.
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Old 14.01.2021, 11:50
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Re: Tenant rights wrt trees being cut down

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Are you sure this is the way the law operates?
As an architect i dont know of any Shade % that affect the size of the windows/openings.
Also the law only is applicaple if you have a new building or make a renovation.
There definitely isn't a rule like that, otherwise the windows on the north side of buildings would be much bigger than those on the south... if anything it's the opposite, to catch the sun.

And even if there was it wouldn't apply to movable items like plants, all building regulations are based on long-term situation for obvious reasons.
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Old 14.01.2021, 16:34
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Re: Tenant rights wrt trees being cut down

I am by no means expert on that - just saying what I was once told . Can't speak for person that said that .

For the tree and stuff I'd go with Art. 687 of the Swiss Civil Code (CC) where tenant could claim being restricted in the use or cultivation of (rented) property due to the shade cast of the trees being excessive.

After all by no means I like anyone cut old trees ... and on my land there is quite few of them - making my neighbours bit unhappy from time to time but I couldn't care less - that is my forest and my rules .
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