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Old 04.02.2009, 11:35
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neighbors pay significantly less rent

I'm in an interesting conundrum and am hopeful that some of you might have some sage advice to offer!

After a long, long apartment search in the Zurich area (I'm sure most of you know what I'm talking about), my wife and I finally found and moved into a beautifully restored apartment. The landlord was extremely nice and even agreed to put in a brand-new kitchen when we asked for one.

We ended up paying more than we had initially budgeted for the place, but given the difficulty of the search we decided it was better to finally settle in than to search for even more months and have to settle for something we didn't like.

So we took the place literally in perfect condition for 3100 CHF a month. The landlord (swiss) was very friendly and fair and has continued to be so now that we're moved in.

Last week however, my wife spoke to our downstairs neighbor and found out that he pays 1900 CHF for a similarly restored apartment but with one less room.

Incidentally he had moved from our apartment (pre-renovation) where he had also paid 1900 CHF. Granted that it then had carpet and an old kitchen, etc etc, but that means that we are paying 1200 CHF more for the same apartment after the renovation. Or 1200 CHF more for the same apartment as on the first floor with a new kitchen and just renovated too, except with one less room.

I realize that some increase in rent is justified and that anyone that lives in an apartment for several years is going to pay less than someone who's just moved in. And also, we signed the contract knowing the price and saying we were ok with it.

That said, is a 1200 CHF difference reasonable and can anyone suggest a way of going about getting the landlord to lower the rent to say 2700 without ruining the relationship?

He really has been excellent, I just would be much happier paying 300-400 less considering other people in the building are paying much less.

So basic question: how we can we ask about paying less in a non-confrotational way and still maintain the great relationship we have with the landlord?

Thoughts? Many many thanks!
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Old 04.02.2009, 11:52
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Re: neighbors pay significantly less rent

Hi Ack, often an apartment isn't just priced by how many rooms it has but by the overall square meters. It's possible that your lounge and a bedroom has more space than your neighbor's.

I don't think there will be much chance of you getting the rent reduced without some confrontation especially as that's the price you signed for. I'd be interested in the overall size of both apartments probably just because I'm nosy.
All the best.
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Old 04.02.2009, 11:57
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Re: neighbors pay significantly less rent

Thanks Oldhand.

Our place is probably 90 sqm and the one below maybe 15 less than that at most. So on a sqm meter basis, 16% smaller.

I realize we've signed and don't want to complain as I was happy to sign when we did. I'm just hoping there might be a smooth way to renegotiate. Particularly as he likes us and has an interest in keeping us long-term rather than having to search for new tenants and risk finding bad ones
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Old 04.02.2009, 11:59
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Re: neighbors pay significantly less rent

Also, rents increase the higher you are in the building. Usual reasoning being a balcony (once off the ground floor), more light and sunshine, views, less stairwell traffic and security (less chance of window break-ins).
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Old 04.02.2009, 12:05
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Re: neighbors pay significantly less rent

I remember last year i was in the garden with the kids and my neighbours came out and asked me if i also had gotten a letter in the post, and i hadn`t they showed me there letter`s and there rent was being increased, but what shocked me was we had been paying a higher rent then them for years
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  #6  
Old 04.02.2009, 12:05
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Re: neighbors pay significantly less rent

I pay much less than my neighbors.

It is because I got an appartment from a previous tenant who lived there 20 years.

No renovations.

That is because the Swiss Law only allow for a limited increase of rent when an appartment is transferred, using some formulae defined by the law.

When the owner do renovation work, then he can significantly raise the rent, and can put it up to whatever the price level a similar appartment in a similar zone could ask for.

If you asked for renovations, then you gave him this right.

The rent then is not related at all with what other people in the same building pay. But how where the conditions and the law restictions when you signed the contract.
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Old 04.02.2009, 12:24
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Re: neighbors pay significantly less rent

Also consider if you're in one of the *desirable* locations for foreigners in Zurich - eg, Züriberg, Seefeld - the rents have rocketed recently. The problem is there's way too many of us and one landlord in particular (Ledermann) is speculating like there's no credit crunch and 'forcing' other landlords to raise their prices too.

Don't look at the cost but the value. If it's really a problem, move to Thalwil
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Old 04.02.2009, 12:27
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Re: neighbors pay significantly less rent

Easy Answer you cant.... you accepted the appartment and the rental fee ... you were happy with the appartment and the price you paid, why do you feel the need to pay less now ? Whose to say your neighbours rent isnt going to rise to your level... and whose to say your neighbour isnt lying just to pee you off ?

If you see a pair of shoes in a shop you like and buy them for 250chf and the next week there in the sale at 150chf, do you take them back and ask for the difference ?






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I'm in an interesting conundrum and am hopeful that some of you might have some sage advice to offer!

After a long, long apartment search in the Zurich area (I'm sure most of you know what I'm talking about), my wife and I finally found and moved into a beautifully restored apartment. The landlord was extremely nice and even agreed to put in a brand-new kitchen when we asked for one.

We ended up paying more than we had initially budgeted for the place, but given the difficulty of the search we decided it was better to finally settle in than to search for even more months and have to settle for something we didn't like.

So we took the place literally in perfect condition for 3100 CHF a month. The landlord (swiss) was very friendly and fair and has continued to be so now that we're moved in.

Last week however, my wife spoke to our downstairs neighbor and found out that he pays 1900 CHF for a similarly restored apartment but with one less room.

Incidentally he had moved from our apartment (pre-renovation) where he had also paid 1900 CHF. Granted that it then had carpet and an old kitchen, etc etc, but that means that we are paying 1200 CHF more for the same apartment after the renovation. Or 1200 CHF more for the same apartment as on the first floor with a new kitchen and just renovated too, except with one less room.

I realize that some increase in rent is justified and that anyone that lives in an apartment for several years is going to pay less than someone who's just moved in. And also, we signed the contract knowing the price and saying we were ok with it.

That said, is a 1200 CHF difference reasonable and can anyone suggest a way of going about getting the landlord to lower the rent to say 2700 without ruining the relationship?

He really has been excellent, I just would be much happier paying 300-400 less considering other people in the building are paying much less.

So basic question: how we can we ask about paying less in a non-confrotational way and still maintain the great relationship we have with the landlord?

Thoughts? Many many thanks!
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Old 04.02.2009, 12:59
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Re: neighbors pay significantly less rent

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Swiss Law only allow for a limited increase of rent when an appartment is transferred, using some formulae defined by the law.

When the owner do renovation work, then he can significantly raise the rent, and can put it up to whatever the price level a similar appartment in a similar zone could ask for.

If you asked for renovations, then you gave him this right.

The rent then is not related at all with what other people in the same building pay. But how where the conditions and the law restictions when you signed the contract.
I realise this doesn't help you now but it's worth knowing that if asked by a prospective tenant before he signs a new lease, a landlord must disclose what the previous tenant paid. That's supposed to highlight speculation.
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Old 04.02.2009, 13:01
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Re: neighbors pay significantly less rent

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I realise this doesn't help you now but it's worth knowing that if asked by a prospective tenant before he signs a new lease, a landlord must disclose what the previous tenant paid. That's supposed to highlight speculation.
you don't have to ask for it.

That information is included in the contract, also there is specified the reasons for the increase.

you have to read it before signing it.
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Old 04.02.2009, 13:12
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Re: neighbors pay significantly less rent

If we all paid the same for everything, surely this would be a oure form of communism ?

It all comes down to DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH before signing and how good you are at negotiating.
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Old 04.02.2009, 13:31
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Re: neighbors pay significantly less rent

I think there is something in the law where the canton levy the landlord a higher tax for various luxuries in the apartment (e.g. fancy tiles) but am not certain. I remember our landlord mentioning something like this shortly after we moved into our new apartment and he came round with the local Gemeinde inspector who was sizing everything up.

I try to follow the rule (born out of an initial frustration when spending time in the Middle East that everything was bartered for) that I only pay what I want for something. I try not to care that the person before me might have paid more or less and only pay what I judge something to be worth to me.

On a similar note it is often does no good at all to know what one's co-workers are earning as it inevitably leads to stress. I remember reading a survery some time back that you would struggle to find anyone on earth more miserable than the financial "whizzkid" who just got a 2 million bonus when his colleague sat opposite got 3.
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Old 06.02.2009, 15:18
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Re: neighbors pay significantly less rent

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That is because the Swiss Law only allow for a limited increase of rent when an appartment is transferred, using some formulae defined by the law.
Hi Salsa, can you (or anyone) specify what the % permissable increase is (and a source for this).

thanks, Nic
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Old 06.02.2009, 15:31
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Re: neighbors pay significantly less rent

Hi, can I suggest you become a member of the tenants associations. Its CHF 90 a year and you can call them with your queries. The website is www.mieterverband.ch
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Old 06.02.2009, 15:40
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Re: neighbors pay significantly less rent

The percentage increase is usually linked directly to the changes in the rate of interest. HOWEVER, the rent can be increased at the start of a new tenancy agreement should investments which raise the property price have occured etc.

I pay almost 1k less than my neighbour and we have the exact same appartment. Difference is, his was renovated mine hasn't been in 20 years and I repainted etc myself.

1.2k for an appartment one floor up and 1 Room bigger in Zurich sounds about right... I paid 300 less than the guy above me for a small studio (1 room) appartment in town about 8 years ago.
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Old 06.02.2009, 15:45
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Re: neighbors pay significantly less rent

i'm already a member, just thought Salsa might know the answer off the top of his head. thanks

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Hi, can I suggest you become a member of the tenants associations. Its CHF 90 a year and you can call them with your queries. The website is www.mieterverband.ch
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  #17  
Old 06.02.2009, 17:13
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Re: neighbors pay significantly less rent

Lynn said it right, It is related to the Official Swiss Prices Index published by the government.

If the owner does renovations when tenants change or even during your current tenancy, then he can update the price to the market level, you can however appeal this raise, different associations ( ASLOCA on the french Swiss side ) help the tenants with this.

However it is not a great idea to dispute the agreements you already signed as your signature indicates clearly you agreed to pay that price, and also if you dispute them before signing you could lose the appartment and they can give it to a third person.

It is more helpful when for example the management company announced you they would renovate your elevators for example, and then they raise the rents in the building because of that work.

Anyway be careful when you sign a new contract, many of them now are indexed to the SPI ( Swiss Price Index ) and then your rent will go up yearly.
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