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Old 04.10.2021, 16:22
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What makes an agreement legally binding?

I am in the final phase of singing my first sublease contract (as a new tenant). Given that I am outside of Switzerland, and I can't sign the contract in person at the moment, what is the best I can do to protect myself?
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Old 04.10.2021, 19:23
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Re: What makes an agreement legally binding?

Get someone to actually physically go and look at the place before you sign the contract. Don't pay any deposit until they do...
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Old 04.10.2021, 19:35
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Re: What makes an agreement legally binding?

Be very careful of Scams. Very careful!
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Old 04.10.2021, 19:41
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Re: What makes an agreement legally binding?

Just to reiterate. Do not hand over any money!

Contracts in Switzerland are legally binding when the two parties agree. Signatures are not necessary - they just make it easier to prove. If you send an email saying "I accept the contract", the contract is now legally binding. If you call up and say "I accept the contract", the contract is legally binding.
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Old 05.10.2021, 13:05
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Re: What makes an agreement legally binding?

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I am in the final phase of singing my first sublease contract (as a new tenant). Given that I am outside of Switzerland, and I can't sign the contract in person at the moment, what is the best I can do to protect myself?
Scams abound in this area, mostly of the type that an apparent landlord rents out a property which doesn't exist, or isn't actually available, and requires the money up front.

To sublet, a tenant must have the written permission of the landlord. To give consent, the landlord will want to see the terms and conditions that the tenant proposes using when renting out to you. A tenant who sublets without the permission of the landlord can be given notice, with immediate effect. Not all tenants realise this, when they attempt to sublet their places. Therefore, for you, one way of determining whether the sublet contract you're being offered is legitimate is to ask to see a copy of the landlord's consent.

Never, ever sign - or give your consent to, by mail or verbally - a contract of which you do not understand every clause. Therefore, if the contract is in a language you do not command, run it through at least deepl and also google translate, but better still ask someone who does read that language (like a work or study colleague at your new job or university) to read it and go through the meaning with you.

It is usual for an agreement to specify the amount of rental, and also the amount of a deposit (to cover costs in case you cause damages to the premises). This deposit can be 1 or 2 or 3 months' rent, by agreement. It must never be paid directly to your landlord, but put into a special account in your name, at a bank. This account is blocked, so that the money is reserved for that purpose and you cannot withdraw it until the landlord gives consent, at the end of the lease. Then, the landlord will release all of that deposit, less any costs of any damages to your account.

For this reason - being able to open this special, blocked account for the rental deposit - it is not common to enter into a binding contract, be it for rental or a sub-let - before you are actually in Switzerland.
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Old 05.10.2021, 16:46
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Re: What makes an agreement legally binding?

You could contact the regie via their official contacts (see their website) and get the main rental contract confirmed.

Pay the deposit into a escrow account ("MietZinsDepot" or similar) in your name with a bank only. The bank is obligated to know their customer, in this case the main renter who opened the account, and thereby will confirm the main renter's identity for you as a secondary effect.

That should cover most pitfalls. And if things still go sour your risk is limited to the advance rent payment (if any) as the escrow can only be paid out to you.

As for the rental contract itself, you may want to make sure you're Ok with the minimum duration (if any) and with the contract end dates (if any are mentioned). By default a furnished room can be canceled with 14 days notice.
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