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Old 08.09.2022, 02:44
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Rogue Landlord - Verbier HELP

Hi thanks for stopping by,

I feel totally taken advantage of by a Swiss landlady in Verbier. Itís quite long to explain but Iíll provide a little back ground so you can grasp why I made the decision to pay her & agree to an annual rental contract 😣

I spent the last ski season (21/22) in Verbier skiing and decided Iíd like to work there.
Iím a Uk qualified Pharmacist, British citizen with only a British passport. (Enough said!)

Applying for a work/residence permit has been somewhat a challenge or Iíd say absolute fun and games that were not funny!!

Initially I was told by a Pharmacist and pharmacy owner ( my future employer) that Iíd only need to get my Pharmacy degree certificates recognised by the Swiss medical board - of which I did and it took 4/5 months costing 800chf. Upon receiving this I was assured many times by my future employer that this is all I needed and heíd take care of the rest. Iíd explained i only had a British PP but he was adamant heíd sort the rest out.

So I decided to look for an apartment in verbier near to the pharmacy. As itís almost impossible to find anything during ski season. I found an Ad on Verbier community on Facebook for a studio next to the pharmacy. I contacted the landlady and she was very quick to talk contracts and deposits and that so many people are interested in the studio & I needed to give an answer in 3 days.
I had to be quick or Iíd lose out. Iíd been looking for a while from Mar-May and this came up in June.

Now the pharmacist owner told me he knew her and she was a friend and she also said she knew him. He told her I was working there but that was not the case - Iíd helped out for a couple of hours here and there during my ski vacation unpaid to learn the basics as my French isnít up to scratch.

Anyway I took the plunge to pay her 3 months rent and a months security. (£4K) in total. As I didnít want to lose the place plus I thought I would be working soon.

I also agreed to a contract online. I didnít view the place as I was in the Uk waiting on my paperwork as Iíd already spent 90 days in verbier.

After receiving my letter from the Swiss medical board Iíd asked them if this was all I needed to work in Switzerland and she replied with: I needed Ďpermission to workí from the health minister and then to apply for a permit both stages can take up to 3 months and thereís no guarantee for a permit as itís on a quota basis.
The lady from the immigration said itís forbidden to work w/o the permit.

I quickly relayed the information back to the pharmacist and explained Iíd paid Ďhis friendí the landlady. I also explained the situation to her but she said youíve agreed to an annual rental where the price of low summer months is equal to peak winter months and basically I needed to find a replacement or Iíve lost 4 months of rent.

I copied all parties in to an email two pharmacist business partners and landlady to try and look for a solution but nothing. I even suggested that she give me 2 months back and she can keep 2 months as Iíve made the mistake. But no, she declined. She said shes away and nothing she can do.

Anyway I tried fo sublet for at least two months and nothing. Anybody that was interested she wanted a yearly contract and wanted so many additional checks (none of the checks sheís carried out on me!)
Nobody is willing to pay double in the summer, I even tried lowering the rate and nothing - she even said in a message that itís impossible to rent in summer. Hence why I feel she lied to me in June saying she had so many people interested - when I asked her to contact them, theyíd disappeared ??

When she finally came from holiday she said sheíd help me by re- advertising and to try and re coop some monies back for me.
By that time Iíd told her I wasnít interested in working for these guys and felt pretty let down and misled and somewhat naive for not carrying out my own due diligence earlier on.

Once she was back she said Iíve found someone else and whatís yours Iíll give you back.
A week later she tells me that she has a 3yr contract in place - starting in November after my three months has ended - with a hotel and is waiting on the deposit. So I asked her for two months back and she said NO WAY I am not sharing your mistake !!

Iíve spoken to the HR lady at this hotel and she has agreed a contract is in place and that a deposit has been paid.


I carried on looking for a possible replacement but nothing !!!

My question now is, is she allowed to bind a foreigner into a yearly contract who doesnít have the right to live or work in Switzerland? It doesnít make sense - she made no checks but was very quick to take my money.

Also she hasnít put the monies into an account in my name or used a swisscaution. It was all very quick and I feel I have been manipulated and taken advantage of.

Iíve tried to contact some lawyers on this to see if shes allowed to take out another contract on the same place whilst my contract is still active ? As neither of us have formally terminated the lease. Is this a requirement or can word of mouth or text messages be taken as word to end the contract?

Its difficult to speak to anybody to get solid legal advice. Iím not a member of ASLOCA as Iíve not really lived in Switzerland. Iíve tried to join but I know I canít use them straight away. The three months rent will end on 30th September.

I been so distressed and down over this matter as she is so agressive and shows no empathy or compassion. I told her the situation 2 weeks after paying and sheís known that itís been sat empty all this time. Iíve since found out after that she doesnít have a good reputation in verbier :-(

If youíve read this far - thank you, any help would be much appreciated

Best Rosie
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Old 08.09.2022, 09:47
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Re: Rogue Landlord - Verbier HELP

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Also she hasnít put the monies into an account in my name
That is not lawful.
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Old 08.09.2022, 09:59
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Re: Rogue Landlord - Verbier HELP

Put it down to experience and don't ever sign anything without knowing the full consequences.


Why you think the landlady will give you anything back is beyond my comprehension, she has absolutely nothing to lose or any advantage.
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Old 08.09.2022, 09:59
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Re: Rogue Landlord - Verbier HELP

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My question now is, is she allowed to bind a foreigner into a yearly contract who doesnít have the right to live or work in Switzerland? It doesnít make sense - she made no checks but was very quick to take my money.
I'm pretty sure that parties are free to sign any contract they want as long as they agreed to it. And it is a duty of each party to ensure that they will be able to fulfill their part of the contract.
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Old 08.09.2022, 10:03
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Re: Rogue Landlord - Verbier HELP

Never ever sign a rental agreement here until you know you have an approved Swiss residence permit.

Sure she can agree a contract with a foreigner, it's up to you to make sure you have the right to live/work here, not her. However, since neither of you have formally terminated the agreement by registered letter, I'd say no, she doesn't have the right to rent the place to someone else since you're still the lawful tenant.

Write to her (registered letter again) pointing out that a) she hasn't put the deposit/rent money in a special account as required by law and b) she has no right to rent the property out to someone else since you haven't terminated the rental agreement. State that you're willing to terminate the agreement with immediate effect with a registered letter once she repays you the deposit/rental. If not, then you will engage a lawyer and take her to court for breach of contract.

Fyi here's the criteria you and any Swiss employer have to meet to be able to get a permit here.

https://www.sem.admin.ch/sem/en/home...zulassung.html
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Old 08.09.2022, 10:33
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Re: Rogue Landlord - Verbier HELP

Rental issues
Join ASLOCA https://www.asloca.ch/
In German speaking Switzerland, it's called Mieterverband. You can get insurance after 30 days, but phone help is available immediately.

Follow procedure ASLOCA recommends

If necessary, contact the Cantonal Arbitration Committee for rental issues https://www.vs.ch/fr/web/sict/bail-a-loyer

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Job
Contact HR at Lonza in Visp.
It's an hour and a half from Visp to Verbier. But there are lots of other winter resorts which are easily accessible by car and/or public transport.

Good luck
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Old 08.09.2022, 10:40
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Re: Rogue Landlord - Verbier HELP

Ok, I wasn't sure if it was - But she never offered or explained that she would use a Swisscaution. She wasn't transparent about the bills (what they cost last year). Albeit maybe not a legal requirement but she is so aggressive in her approach. I'm disgusted with her behaviour. I've spoken to a few Landlords since regarding different studios/apartments and its been a completely different experience. I understand there's alot naivety on my part and I accept that. But I want to make a complaint to somebody so that this doesnt happen again.
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Old 08.09.2022, 10:44
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Re: Rogue Landlord - Verbier HELP

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Ok, I wasn't sure if it was - But she never offered or explained that she would use a Swisscaution. She wasn't transparent about the bills (what they cost last year). Albeit maybe not a legal requirement but she is so aggressive in her approach. I'm disgusted with her behaviour. I've spoken to a few Landlords since regarding different studios/apartments and its been a completely different experience. I understand there's alot naivety on my part and I accept that. But I want to make a complaint to somebody so that this doesnt happen again.
Cantonal Arbitration Committee for rental issues https://www.vs.ch/fr/web/sict/bail-a-loyer

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Old 08.09.2022, 10:47
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Hey Rob,

Thank you for your response, I'm new on here and I can't work out how to reply to individual replies

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That is not lawful.
Ok, I wasn't sure if it was - But she never offered or explained that she would use a Swisscaution. She wasn't transparent about the bills (what they cost last year). Albeit maybe not a legal requirement but she is so aggressive in her approach. I'm disgusted with her behaviour. I've spoken to a few Landlords since regarding different studios/apartments and its been a completely different experience. I understand there's alot naivety on my part and I accept that. But I want to make a complaint to somebody so that this doesnt happen again.

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Put it down to experience and don't ever sign anything without knowing the full consequences.


Why you think the landlady will give you anything back is beyond my comprehension, she has absolutely nothing to lose or any advantage.
Hi yes, I get that!

But given the circumstances:
-first time renting in Switzerland and
-trying to apply for a permit as third country combined with a
- huge shortage issue of rentals in winter
- I panicked and
- my naivety

I was also told by the pharmacist she was a 'friend'

Yes I know all issues that do not concern her.....

I thought she would show some compassion and empathy for this HUGE mistake id made and I even offerred TWO months after 2 weeks of finding out - BUT NO!
A tough lesson (minus £3k) to swallow - GULP

But thanks for your advice

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Never ever sign a rental agreement here until you know you have an approved Swiss residence permit.

Sure she can agree a contract with a foreigner, it's up to you to make sure you have the right to live/work here, not her. However, since neither of you have formally terminated the agreement by registered letter, I'd say no, she doesn't have the right to rent the place to someone else since you're still the lawful tenant.

Write to her (registered letter again) pointing out that a) she hasn't put the deposit/rent money in a special account as required by law and b) she has no right to rent the property out to someone else since you haven't terminated the rental agreement. State that you're willing to terminate the agreement with immediate effect with a registered letter once she repays you the deposit/rental. If not, then you will engage a lawyer and take her to court for breach of contract.

Fyi here's the criteria you and any Swiss employer have to meet to be able to get a permit here.

https://www.sem.admin.ch/sem/en/home...zulassung.html

Dear medea-fleecestealer,
Thank you for your informative reply. I kind of know the 'ins and out' regarding the facts and paperwork involved with trying to secure a B/L permit now due to this situation.
Regarding the new contract I was thinking the same as you but I needed to get my facts straight before contacting her again. As there's been a lot of messages via Facebook messenger trying to come to a middle ground. In one message I said I've made the decision to cancel my move to Verbier and to give her two months rent but she declined and there were no formal termination letters involved.

If I have some grounds to act on i.e. no formal termination letters between us and therefore I am still the lawful tenant. I have confirmation from the new tenant - (HR of a well established hotel in Verbier) and text messages from the landlady that she has signed a three year lease and taken a deposit from the them - So I'm inclined to send a letter from a lawyer.

By the way I've never collected the keys and she still has them - does this make a difference?

Thank you again for any help/advice - its not about the money anymore, as I willing to just drop it and just move on. The way she has treated me and spoken to me knowing she has the upper hand has been disgusting.

Thanks Rosie

Last edited by roegner; 08.09.2022 at 11:40. Reason: Merging consecutive posts
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  #10  
Old 08.09.2022, 12:51
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Re: Rogue Landlord - Verbier HELP

In Switzerland only registered letters count for cancelling a contract. E-mails, social media stuff, phone calls don't.
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Old 08.09.2022, 13:57
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Re: Rogue Landlord - Verbier HELP

The simplest way out of this, from what I can understand from all the different information provided, is that you are liable for rent to the end of October, and you pay that and then she must return your deposit.


Lesson learnt.


It's not the landlady's responsibility to be nice, reasonable or helpful.


Option B is Medea's suggestion - see if you can get her to return the deposit ASAP. I assume you have already 'terminated' the lease in writing ? But I assume also that this lease was agreed as a 12 month one.... what does the contract say the notice period is ?
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Old 08.09.2022, 14:14
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Re: Rogue Landlord - Verbier HELP

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Never ever sign a rental agreement here until you know you have an approved Swiss residence permit.

Sure she can agree a contract with a foreigner, it's up to you to make sure you have the right to live/work here, not her. However, since neither of you have formally terminated the agreement by registered letter, I'd say no, she doesn't have the right to rent the place to someone else since you're still the lawful tenant.

Write to her (registered letter again) pointing out that a) she hasn't put the deposit/rent money in a special account as required by law and b) she has no right to rent the property out to someone else since you haven't terminated the rental agreement. State that you're willing to terminate the agreement with immediate effect with a registered letter once she repays you the deposit/rental. If not, then you will engage a lawyer and take her to court for breach of contract.

Fyi here's the criteria you and any Swiss employer have to meet to be able to get a permit here.

https://www.sem.admin.ch/sem/en/home...zulassung.html
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The simplest way out of this, from what I can understand from all the different information provided, is that you are liable for rent to the end of October, and you pay that and then she must return your deposit.


Lesson learnt.


It's not the landlady's responsibility to be nice, reasonable or helpful.


Option B is Medea's suggestion - see if you can get her to return the deposit ASAP. I assume you have already 'terminated' the lease in writing ? But I assume also that this lease was agreed as a 12 month one.... what does the contract say the notice period is ?
Hi yes, it is a 12 month contract and yes after 3 months (30th Oct) she'll give back my deposit. No I havn't put anything in writing as I was trying to sublet the studio until the end of the october -in hope that I could recuperate some rent back - but its not happening. So I think I will send the letter to teminate. So does it have to be sent via post? or can a letter be drafted and sent via email?

Thanks
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Old 08.09.2022, 14:53
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Re: Rogue Landlord - Verbier HELP

In Switzerland a verbal contract is considered a contract - if she already offered to let you out after 3 months, then I would just email to say that you accept the agreement. I guess you already gave her the money for 3 months rent+deposit so now you are just hoping you will get the deposit back.
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Old 08.09.2022, 15:12
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Re: Rogue Landlord - Verbier HELP

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In Switzerland a verbal contract is considered a contract - if she already offered to let you out after 3 months, then I would just email to say that you accept the agreement. I guess you already gave her the money for 3 months rent+deposit so now you are just hoping you will get the deposit back.
Yes, I've paid 3 months up front and a month's deposit. I've never spoken to this woman. There's been a lot of messages back and forth on facebook messenger and email. But not formal termination letters.

But she has entered and agreed into a new 3yr contract with a well known hotel in verbier, shes confirmed that she has accepted the deposit. I have also spoken to the HR lady of this hotel and she has confirmed it too. Ive since been told that this not allowed??
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Old 08.09.2022, 16:14
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Re: Rogue Landlord - Verbier HELP

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Hi yes, it is a 12 month contract and yes after 3 months (30th Oct) she'll give back my deposit. No I havn't put anything in writing as I was trying to sublet the studio until the end of the october -in hope that I could recuperate some rent back - but its not happening. So I think I will send the letter to teminate. So does it have to be sent via post? or can a letter be drafted and sent via email?

Thanks

REGISTERED MAIL and it needs to be received before the end of the month.
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Old 08.09.2022, 16:29
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Re: Rogue Landlord - Verbier HELP

It's a tough one, and you made so many mistakes but that's pretty much irrelevant now, so i won't say what you should have done etc.

You could take a lawyer, he'll probably ask for chf 2 - 3,000 up front. That will also delay the return of your deposit, and frankly she hasn't really done anything wrong, apart from not paying the deposit to a blocked account.

On that basis you could make a claim to a judicial authority, but again it will just delay matters.

I'd send a registered letter confirming what has been agreed and you await the return of the deposit at the end of October as he promised. Hopefully she'll keep her word.
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Old 08.09.2022, 16:52
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Re: Rogue Landlord - Verbier HELP

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It's a tough one, and you made so many mistakes but that's pretty much irrelevant now, so i won't say what you should have done etc.

You could take a lawyer, he'll probably ask for chf 2 - 3,000 up front. That will also delay the return of your deposit, and frankly she hasn't really done anything wrong, apart from not paying the deposit to a blocked account.

On that basis you could make a claim to a judicial authority, but again it will just delay matters.

I'd send a registered letter confirming what has been agreed and you await the return of the deposit at the end of October as he promised. Hopefully she'll keep her word.
What should I have done ?
Apart from wait for the permit 😣
- sorry Iím really naive to all these things. I had a landlady from Dec- Mar and there was no contract - no deposit, just paid 3 months up front. Simple and she was wonderful, would do anything to help make my stay a little better - if I needed anything. I was a little spoilt and I guess this is real life.
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Old 08.09.2022, 17:19
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Re: Rogue Landlord - Verbier HELP

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I had a landlady from Dec- Mar and there was no contract - no deposit, just paid 3 months up front.
So undeclared income for her, zero guarantees for you. Sorry, that time you just got lucky.
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Old 08.09.2022, 18:28
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Re: Rogue Landlord - Verbier HELP

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But she has entered and agreed into a new 3yr contract with a well known hotel in verbier, shes confirmed that she has accepted the deposit. I have also spoken to the HR lady of this hotel and she has confirmed it too. Ive since been told that this not allowed??
Does the contract with the hotel begin during the three months for which you have paid the lease? If so, she's letting the same space twice - which is illegal. If you have the time and money to come over to Switzerland, just inhabit the space which you are renting - how long can you be in Switzerland as a tourist from the UK?

Another option would be to report her to the authorities, but I have no idea what the punishment would be.

Of course, if there's no overlap of the leases, then she's in the clear.
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Old 18.09.2022, 14:13
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Re: Rogue Landlord - Verbier HELP

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Does the contract with the hotel begin during the three months for which you have paid the lease? If so, she's letting the same space twice - which is illegal. If you have the time and money to come over to Switzerland, just inhabit the space which you are renting - how long can you be in Switzerland as a tourist from the UK?

Another option would be to report her to the authorities, but I have no idea what the punishment would be.

Of course, if there's no overlap of the leases, then she's in the clear.
So my contract started in July 22-june 2023 and the new contract starts 1st November 2022 - she is now saying she doesnít have to give me deposit back ??
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