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Old 22.05.2021, 15:32
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Taking a un[re-]furbished apartment. How to be protected?

I am considering renting an apartment which I think wasn't re-furbished for many years. They didn't specified in the add the last year of refurbished, but I saw the apartment and it's acceptable for me.

The current contract owner did some changes bolts in the walls and doors, the walls and doors would need some paint etc. The building is relatively old so not everything is shining nor can be cleaned perfectly.

The question is how do I protect myself if I take the contract for any later claims from the owner when I will give back the apartment for example to fix the walls, the paint whatever, make everything shine etc.

I am thinking:
- to make sure they specify in the contract the last refurbishment year. I think they should refurbish every 10 years or so?

- to make photos and videos before signing the contract and send them on email. They will be accepted as legal proof for the state of the apartment before?

What else?
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Old 22.05.2021, 23:35
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Re: Taking a unfurbished apartment. How to be protected?

The steps go like this:
View the flat, apply, get accepted, receive the contract, sign and send it back.
Then, an appointment will be set for the handover.

This is the day you and someone representing the owner/landlord/agent, possibly the caretaker, meets you in the appartment, to give you the keys. Then, a written and detailed list is to be made of all the faults in the apartment. You and the agent walk from room to room, and it is your responsibility to point out all the defects, and make sure they are written on the so-called "Protokoll" or "Mangelliste". That is what counts as the legal proof of the state of the apartment when you took it. And yes, photos are a good idea, too. You must keep this Mangelliste safe, together with your contract, and produce it again when you leave, to show that these are not damages caused by you.

If at all possible, you should take someone along with you, to this. Four eyes are better than two.

After you move in, you also have a short time (I think it is a week or 10 days) in which to report further defects you discover.
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Old 22.05.2021, 23:41
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Re: Taking a unfurbished apartment. How to be protected?

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I am thinking:
- to make sure they specify in the contract the last refurbishment year. I think they should refurbish every 10 years or so?
No, this is not the way it works. The "10 years" is part of a standard table of how long things are considered to last. The paint on the walls, for example, is deemed to have a lifespan of 10 years, a bath 30 years, and so on. You can click, here, to see the lifespan of items, by category, e.g. bathroom, balcony, etc.: https://www.mieterverband.ch/mv/miet...ertabelle.html


There is no obligation on the landlord to refurbish. The lifespan is relevant only with regard to the landlord's ability to claim damages from tenants when they leave.

For example: If the walls were last painted 8 years ago, and you stay there for 2 years, you cannot be held liable for anything that happens to the paint. If, on the other hand, the walls are newly painted, and your children scribble on them or you scratch the walls with your furniture, and you live in there for 4 years, then you can be held liable for the remaining life, i.e. for 6 tenths of the cost of re-painting.
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Old 22.05.2021, 23:52
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Re: Taking a unfurbished apartment. How to be protected?

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.....
After you move in, you also have a short time (I think it is a week or 10 days) in which to report further defects you discover.
Called "Mängelrüge". It's a perfectly normal/necessary thing to do so don't be shy about it.
Don't rush into sending it either (generally but I don't think that's legally set, it's 10 days. Obviously it can't be several months later) because for example I had to lie in a hot bath to notice, there was something wrong with the faucet there .

You should list all faults you find but you can add, whether you can live with it or it must be fixed. The landlord is then informed about the first type as well and the listed things will help when you move out (do keep a copy obviously).
I remember for example that I listed the extremely scratched chrome steel in the kitchen, knowing they won't replace it but not willing to stand up for such mistreatment when moving out.
It is smart to be fastidious as long as you don't demand it all to be renewed.
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Old 23.05.2021, 01:16
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Re: Taking a unfurbished apartment. How to be protected?

my advice is similar, with the handover documents, don't give it back to them the same day - you will notice more defects as you settle in and if you send it back a week or so after you move in, that's allowed.


And yes, photos, but general photos don't always show specific defects... so you should also take really specific photos of defects as you find them - and it's much easier to do thsi in your own time, once you have the keys, than at the handover.


Sometimes landlords/agents will try to combine the moving in handovers at the same time. Don't agree to this. They need to focus on exiting the old tenant, then settle down and agree on any major repairs needed, then have you arrive to move in - unless it's already empty, it could be the first time the owner has seen the place for quite a while, and they may 'gloss over' defects in the hope they can pass them on to you to deal with - but then it's really inconvenient if you find there are repairs needed and you are trying to move in (or worse still, something like a water leak is not handled prompty)....



Our first apartment, our husband's employer agreed to do a 'fast handover' with the agent and outgoing tenant - and it was a nightmare because the outgoing tenant really wanted to argue with the owner/agent, and we were literally left outside and kept away until the outgoing tenant had completely exited the building because they created such a scene....
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Old 23.05.2021, 02:10
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Re: Taking a unfurbished apartment. How to be protected?

Join the Mieterverband. In all likelihood it's money well spent.

Arrange for one of their specialists to be present during handover; that'll probably cost you something like 100-200 (ask for an estimate beforehand, this applies in general when contracting someone) but that's easily worth the nerves saved and potential costs and trouble avoided. You may also want them to explain the details of your contract, mentioning the pitfalls, advantages and consequences of the clauses.

Just a guess, but they may also agree to take pictures, at least it would make sense to me as they will use their fotografic equipment fairly often.
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Old 23.05.2021, 06:35
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Re: Taking a unfurbished apartment. How to be protected?

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Join the Mieterverband. In all likelihood it's money well spent.

Arrange for one of their specialists to be present during handover; that'll probably cost you something like 100-200 (ask for an estimate beforehand, this applies in general when contracting someone) but that's easily worth the nerves saved and potential costs and trouble avoided. You may also want them to explain the details of your contract, mentioning the pitfalls, advantages and consequences of the clauses.

Just a guess, but they may also agree to take pictures, at least it would make sense to me as they will use their fotografic equipment fairly often.
The Mieterverband will give you a quote to attend the handover but keep in mind that if the allocated time is exceeded, you will be charged extra. As you will have already signed the rental contract, explaining this to you is not part of the handover service provided by the Mieterverband. This would be something you would have to arrange for separately.

Here is a link to the page with their prices. There is a price for the 1st hour, and then additional costs in 15 minute increments. Travel time is added and is calculated based on distance.

https://www.mieterverband.ch/mv-zh/h...ietraeume.html
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Old 23.05.2021, 12:16
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Re: Taking a unfurbished apartment. How to be protected?

Thank you all for such good advises. It cleared a lot of questions.

From what I am thinking Mieterverband might be more useful to explain what the contract states before signing it than to be present at handover since I anyway have to check for few days to make a list of defects and can also make photos for things I cannot describe. I presume the list needs to be in german?

But regarding the photos, can I ask them to provide an email address where I can send them? It's usually accepted by big companies or they might just refuse to provide and ask me to fill in their form.
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Old 23.05.2021, 12:39
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Re: Taking a unfurbished apartment. How to be protected?

Don't just send an e-mail. Also send a registered letter with photos included. May cost some francs but a huge saving at the end.
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Old 23.05.2021, 13:47
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Re: Taking a unfurbished apartment. How to be protected?

I do not think that the OP fully understands what photos to even take.

He should at minimum take along a colleague who has moved a few times and understands the "traps" that can cost him a lot of money at a later date.

A couple of examples: The filter above the cook top (has it been changed). You need a photo of the filter and the blower unit behind the filter (certainly if not clean). The oven/cook top: clean, scratches, items/trays missing etc. The bathrooms: close-ups of the sinks, tub (chips in the white surface), damage to the facets etc. Is the WC/bathroom filter/fan clean (will normally be high on the wall some place). The floors: water damage, scraps etc. The roll-down blinds: do they work, any issues - sticking etc., are they clean, are all the strings in good condition etc.

The list goes on and on, but it is important to photograph everything with an eye on the typical damage areas and how the owner may try to get you to pay for damage that was there already so they do not have to do and pay for normal maintenance. Since you are not familiar with this "trick", you should go with someone who can help you with the German and the CH terms that are used for the handover as well as the areas where there can be "hidden" damage.

Then you put the photos on a USB key and put them away in your file. Best to do photos (lots of them) during the day with maximum sunlight and also with enough light to see/show scratches in the photos. I do not think it is necessary to send them to the owner (but go with what the others suggest).
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Old 25.05.2021, 09:15
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Re: Taking a unfurbished apartment. How to be protected?

I saw that upon joining Mieterverband you can also buy an insurance. Do you think it's a good idea at least for additional protection?

https://www.mieterverband.ch/dam/jcr...01.01.2020.pdf

Last edited by AndyM; 25.05.2021 at 09:28.
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Old 25.05.2021, 14:08
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Re: Taking a unfurbished apartment. How to be protected?

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I saw that upon joining Mieterverband you can also buy an insurance. Do you think it's a good idea at least for additional protection?

https://www.mieterverband.ch/dam/jcr...01.01.2020.pdf
Yes, definitely. It gives you cover for legal matters and other obligations to do with being a tenant, including what a landlord may do wrong, and also any damages you may cause. It is only a few extra francs per month for a lot of peace of mind. And the Mieterverband people are the experts in this field.
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Old 25.05.2021, 14:13
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Re: Taking a unfurbished apartment. How to be protected?

It's common to take out private 3rd party liability insurance and household goods insurance as one package. Subject to the amounts insured and other details it'll cost you a couple hundred per year.

Generali says they see themselves as a top-up to any such other insurance. The other insurance may disagree (they weren't asked, after all), which in turn may put you between a rock and a hard place when, for instance, both demand that the other pay. And I'd want clearly more than 1 mln maximum, like 5 or 10, the premium increase due to that should be marginal.

Personally, I prefer Mobiliar Versicherungen because they're not profit maximising. Instead of paying it to the shareholders (there aren't any) the surplus is returned to the insured the following year. The premium itself was competitive when I compared it to a few others (more than a decade ago), as were the contract conditions. Same for car kasko, though that may have changed, and the situation for a foreigner may differ anyway because the nationality affects the premium. Nowadays getting offers using Comparis (comparis.ch) may be the way to go.
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