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Old 16.06.2022, 14:14
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Tenant rights - rent increase

Hello,

I was wondering if someone can help. I signed a rental contract years ago with real estate X and in 2020 the landlord decided to ditch the real estate and deal directly with me. Later, we had agreed on a rent reduction, he sent a signed letter stating the reduction.
Recently, he sold the property, and the new real estate is now charging me the original rent.

I haven't signed any contract after the sale of the property though and the new real estate is sending me the bill as if nothing happened. I was wondering if this is even allowed. I know the signed letter may not have legal power but isn't there anything that I can do in my defense?
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Old 16.06.2022, 17:50
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Re: Tenant rights - rent increase

Have you spoken to the new owner? If yes what did they say? If no, why not?

It seems that they just took over the original contract.
If nobody informed them of the change, how would they know?
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Old 16.06.2022, 18:12
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Re: Tenant rights - rent increase

Yes you just tell the new people that they're mistaken and the rent had been reduced. I had a similar thing. It could be that the owner 'mis-sold' the property but I would guess it would be fine if the difference is small.
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Old 17.06.2022, 09:29
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Re: Tenant rights - rent increase

Thanks guys for the reply.

@Sigh, I did not speak to the owner directly, only with the new real estate agent. And yes, you're right about them just taking over the old contract.

@Landers, also agree. I assumed that the previous owner would have informed them about the reduction, but clearly that's not what happened.

Before posting here I did send the real estate the letter from the previous owner stating the reduction and I'm still waiting. I got a little anxious and wanted to ask around about this particular scenario to see what options I have if they say no to the reduction. But let's see what happens first.

Thanks again!
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Old 17.06.2022, 09:58
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Re: Tenant rights - rent increase

Sometimes the detail around raising of rent (for inflation etc.) is not in the direct contract but rather in the allgemeine terms and conditions of the rental company. Referred to in the direct contract.



It might be an idea to compare the general terms and conditions (should be available on their websites). If the wording is similar/the same you may then have a case.
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Old 17.06.2022, 14:54
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Re: Tenant rights - rent increase

In my case the previous tenant had agreed on a rent reduction and the new price became part of the contract.
Then I moved in.
Later the property was sold. I kept paying what I always paid, as written in the contract.

Hope this helps as reference.
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Old 17.06.2022, 15:09
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Re: Tenant rights - rent increase

Thanks, it does, and the problem is the reduction was never officialized in any contract because the previous owner decided to manage the property himself and only sent a signed letter 'officializing' the reduction. From the perspective of the new real estate and owner, this letter doesn't have any legal power, and that's what is concerning me.
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Old 17.06.2022, 15:15
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Re: Tenant rights - rent increase

I wonder was your old contract viewed during the sale of the place showing the rent per month. Maybe the old landlord didn't want to change the contract as it was a nice sheet of paper to show the future owner.
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Old 17.06.2022, 15:27
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Re: Tenant rights - rent increase

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Thanks, it does, and the problem is the reduction was never officialized in any contract because the previous owner decided to manage the property himself and only sent a signed letter 'officializing' the reduction. From the perspective of the new real estate and owner, this letter doesn't have any legal power, and that's what is concerning me.
When my rent was reduced I also only received a letter stating so. There was no new contract.
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Old 17.06.2022, 15:33
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Re: Tenant rights - rent increase

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Thanks, it does, and the problem is the reduction was never officialized in any contract because the previous owner decided to manage the property himself and only sent a signed letter 'officializing' the reduction. From the perspective of the new real estate and owner, this letter doesn't have any legal power, and that's what is concerning me.
Why wouldnt it have any "legal power"? It was signed.
I would treat it as an amendment to the existing contract.
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Old 17.06.2022, 16:04
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Re: Tenant rights - rent increase

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Why wouldnt it have any "legal power"? It was signed.
I would treat it as an amendment to the existing contract.
I agree with this. If they do contest it and you show this paper and can prove that you've been paying the reduced amount up until to now, no court will side with the real estate agency.

Courts almost always side with the renter in most of Switzerland.
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Old 22.06.2022, 13:05
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Re: Tenant rights - rent increase

Sorry I'm a bit late with this, but I've been traveling.
You signed a contract and the owner gave you a letter agreeing to a reduction in the rent.

This forms an amendment to the original contract and you should only pay the new rent not the old one. In cases where we raise or lower a rent, or add an extra parking place, it is done by exchange of letters signed by both parties and the new agreement is then in force.

You have nothing to worry about here and clearly the old owner was a bit of fly by night. First cutting out the agent who found him the tenant, then by not declaring the new agreement - probably in order to achieve a higher selling price. If anything, the new buyer could have a case against the seller, but if it's not significant I doubt they will bother.

The only caveat, is the new owner may give you notice according to your contract, in order to let the place at a higher rent. Be forewarned!!
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Old 22.06.2022, 14:08
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Re: Tenant rights - rent increase

And if I recall well, the reference interest rate for rental agreements has not changed sinced March 2020 and has never increased since it was introduced in 2008.

Wonder if that will change in the coming months.
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Old 22.06.2022, 14:19
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Re: Tenant rights - rent increase

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When my rent was reduced I also only received a letter stating so. There was no new contract.
If you share that letter, it should be enough to explain. Assuming you've been paying the reduced rent for a while, you should also have the bank transactions to confirm that this new arrangement was in place and accepted.
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Old 22.06.2022, 17:21
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Re: Tenant rights - rent increase

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I agree with this. If they do contest it and you show this paper and can prove that you've been paying the reduced amount up until to now, no court will side with the real estate agency.

Courts almost always side with the renter in most of Switzerland.
Thanks all for the information. In my home country, if you need to make a document legal, you need to 'officialize' it in a specific government-controlled office, where they stamp/sign stating the document now has legal power. Hence my question and concerns. But if here in Switzerland, if the signed document is enough to prove the reduction, I'm fine with that and grateful to you all for sharing your thoughts and experiences.
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Old 22.06.2022, 17:24
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Re: Tenant rights - rent increase

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Sorry I'm a bit late with this, but I've been traveling.
You signed a contract and the owner gave you a letter agreeing to a reduction in the rent.

This forms an amendment to the original contract and you should only pay the new rent not the old one. In cases where we raise or lower a rent, or add an extra parking place, it is done by exchange of letters signed by both parties and the new agreement is then in force.

You have nothing to worry about here and clearly the old owner was a bit of fly by night. First cutting out the agent who found him the tenant, then by not declaring the new agreement - probably in order to achieve a higher selling price. If anything, the new buyer could have a case against the seller, but if it's not significant I doubt they will bother.

The only caveat, is the new owner may give you notice according to your contract, in order to let the place at a higher rent. Be forewarned!!
Thanks for the insights! I did think about that scenario and I'll keep that in mind. Still, not in my favor :-(
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