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Old 21.01.2009, 17:08
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Sublet to Permanent Rental

Hello everyone, have been in Vaud for a year and a half and enjoying the Swiss experience. Apologies for the short introduction.

Have a young family and we are currently subletting a decent apartment at an affordable rent. We have just found out that the permanent tenants are not returning and are going to send a letter of recommendation to our landlords for us to take over the contract permanently. This suits us both.

We have been told, under Swiss law, that if you move from subletting to permamnent rental then the landlords cannot refuse as long as enough notice is given, you do not ask for renovation, the subletter has no criminal record and earns enough to pay the rent.

Does anyone know anything about this or can anyone recommend an agency that can provide information?

The landlord has already suggested that a permanent rental is by no means automatic and, even if accepted, they will raise the rent considerably.

cheers!
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Old 22.01.2009, 11:31
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Re: Sublet to Permanent Rental

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We have been told, under Swiss law, that if you move from subletting to permamnent rental then the landlords cannot refuse as long as enough notice is given, you do not ask for renovation, the subletter has no criminal record and earns enough to pay the rent.
I would be very interested as well if anyone can provide confirmation / details on this point. I am in a similar situation as the OP and would like to transfer the lease to our flatmate when we move out.
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Old 22.01.2009, 12:09
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Re: Sublet to Permanent Rental

seems like the landlord is trying to take advantage of the situation. i dont know if i would want to rent of someone like that.

good luck either way.
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Old 22.01.2009, 12:29
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Re: Sublet to Permanent Rental

Hmmmm. This question seems to come up quite a bit so I just might make a sticky out of it.

In the meantime, you should both feel happy to know that the law is (sort of) on your side. The renter's association (ASLOCA/Meiterverband) confirms this on their website. Translated from the original version in French, this is what they have to say about transferring your lease to someone else:

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Question: If I leave without complying with the terms and deadlines for my lease, am I free if I find a replacement tenant ready to take over my lease on the same terms?

Answer: YES. The law requires the tenant to present a single candidate who meets the conditions. You do not have to submit several. If the landlord rejects the nominee for personal reasons, it should release you from any obligation for the proposed date of relocation. You are freed from the payment of rent if the candidate withdraws because the landlord has decided to increase the rent or change the conditions of the lease (period of notice, the amount of the guaranteed rent, etc.)..
So basically, if you find a single tenant who is willing to take over your lease and the tenant is solvent and capable of paying the rent, then you are released from your lease and it is passed on to the new tenant. The conditions of the lease presented to the second tenant should be identical to the conditions in your lease (i.e. they should pay the same rent). If the landlord tries to change the conditions of the lease or increase the rent, if the new tenant rejects the offer, you are still freed from your obligations to the landlord, and they will be responsible for finding a new tenant.

A few things to note:

1. It is important to remember that the landlord is not obligated to pass the lease on to the person you present to them. They often will do so, but there is no guarantee. There is a lot of nepotism in the world of rental properties in Switzerland, and if you are unlucky, the boyfriend of the niece of the person who handles your application just might be looking for an appartment in the part of town where your apartment is.

2. Such transfers of a lease often result in an increase in rent for the incoming tenant. It is financially better for a landlord to reject a proposed tenant who wants to pay the same rent as the previous guy, and instead find a new candidate who is willing to pay a bit more. That being said, they do not have unlimited powers to increase the rent. According to ASLOCA, such increases should not exceed 10%. Which can still be a lot, but it is definitely not a renter's market out there, so if you don't agree with the rent increase the agency will probably simply find someone else willing to pay the price.

However, it's not all that bad. The last two times I moved I was taking over the lease from a previous tenant, and it went through without a hitch and with no increases in rent. This practice is extremely common, and rental agencies are quite used to dealing with such situations. I think in some ways they prefer it to the traditional route, because you are basically saving them the work of advertising an apartment and sifting through mountains of applications.

Before going ahead with the transfer, it might be worth making a quick phone call or visit to the landlord/agency to ask them if they think there is a high likelihood of the transfer of lease being approved. If they say yes, the procedure is as follows:

1. The person(s) currently holding the lease must inform the landlords of their intent to leave, and the name(s) of their proposed candidate(s) in writing, and sent by registered mail. Phone/fax/email is not acceptable.

2. Have the application and dossier of the new tenant ready at the same time. (We sent ours in the same envelope as the termination letter of the previous tenant to make things easy for the agency.) You need a completed rental application form and whatever other documents they ask for (photocopy of permit/passport, statement of debts, copy of bank statement, etc.)

3. Turnaround time on this is normally very fast, so you should know within a few days if things go through. The outgoing tenant does very little: the landlord/agency should send a copy of a rental contract to the new tenant, and (ideally) the conditions should be the same as on the old lease contract. If they aren't, you can protest this, but as I mentioned above you might not get far, because they are most likely to take someone who is willing to pay more money. If the rent increase is excessive (i.e. greater than 10%) I'd ask ASLOCA/Meiterverband for advice.

I hope this was clear enough. I'll try to polish it up a bit when I have more time...

Heather
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Old 22.01.2009, 12:58
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Re: Sublet to Permanent Rental

Totally agree that you register with Asloca the yearly fee is small and the legal advice support etc. can be anything from general advice to preparing the papers and quoting the law in a court.... just worth it and do it before you sign the papers so you have the backing.

This is best as from a personal experience of mine was that the agency took my friend to court!!! Not sure if this is the direct owner you mention here or agency but just from experience just to let you know sublets can become contracts if they are deemed legal!!!!. The problem with my friend was that the sublet was agreed between him and the renter. In the renter's contract subletting was not allowed (so best to check). The regie wanted to kick out my friend but thank god to ASLOCA they quoted loads of stuff etc etc. long story short the regie offered the rental contract. Best get people on your side before you are faced with the man himself.

So not all contracts allow subletting and he may be allowed to ask you to leave. Just go to the ASLOCA guys and check it all out. They are just great.
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Old 22.01.2009, 13:01
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Re: Sublet to Permanent Rental

and just to add to the above story yes the landlord raised the rent and has every right too. I would take the advice of above and look around for other apartments there are some good ones out there and you have a bit of time to look. Personally I would move as he will put up the rent and by the sounds of it is a grump.
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Old 22.01.2009, 13:13
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Re: Sublet to Permanent Rental

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This is best as from a personal experience of mine was that the agency took my friend to court!!! Not sure if this is the direct owner you mention here or agency but just from experience just to let you know sublets can become contracts if they are deemed legal!!!!. The problem with my friend was that the sublet was agreed between him and the renter. In the renter's contract subletting was not allowed (so best to check).
In all fairness, you are required by law to seek written permission from the landlord before you sublet your apartment, so your friend was in the wrong. I'm sorry that they ended up in court, but this story does illustrate that it's best to keep yourself informed of the rules, and seek help from the renter's association in case of any dispute.
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Old 22.01.2009, 13:43
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Re: Sublet to Permanent Rental

Yeah it was best to mention though.

The renter didnt ask the owner. The renter and subletter were friends so it was a nice arrangment which could be the same thing here. Best to check and brill advice about ASLOCA

I think at this stage best to move on. Noticed you are in Vaud and there are some great places if you sign up early enough.
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Old 23.01.2009, 01:32
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Re: Sublet to Permanent Rental

Thanks for some incredible advice, especially Heather. As far as I understand the previous tenant can recommend (going through) we can demonstrate finances and a lack of a criminal record but can still be turned down by the landlords. There is actually nothing leagal to stop them.

We actually don't mind a raise in rental but just want to clarify if we are legally entitled to the apartment as subletters.

Joining Asloca as i write

By the way, does anyone else support the toon in or around Nyon?clutching at straws maybe
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Old 23.01.2009, 15:07
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Re: Sublet to Permanent Rental

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Thanks for some incredible advice, especially Heather. As far as I understand the previous tenant can recommend (going through) we can demonstrate finances and a lack of a criminal record but can still be turned down by the landlords. There is actually nothing leagal to stop them.

We actually don't mind a raise in rental but just want to clarify if we are legally entitled to the apartment as subletters.

Joining Asloca as i write

By the way, does anyone else support the toon in or around Nyon?clutching at straws maybe
Arrange a meeting with Landlord & current tenants, take a couple of bottles of Swiss wine (preferably from Vaud and decent ones). All will be quickly settled.
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