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Old 11.08.2009, 10:25
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Meaning of "in ordnung" or "i.o."

We are involved in a dispute with a former landlord who is claiming that in the course of a one year rental period, we inflicted CHF 3500 in damages on the apartment we were renting. In looking at the original protocol, the only thing marked as newly renovated was the paint in several rooms. All other items were marked "i.o." for "in ordnung." In the sense of official protocols for rental properties, does "in ordnung" have the meaning that there are no defects whatsoever?
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Old 11.08.2009, 12:38
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Re: Meaning of "in ordnung" or "i.o."

I don't think it implies that there are no defects whatsoever.
In ordnung would rather mean that it is okay, acceptable and doesn't need mending, repairing, repainting yet ...
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Old 11.08.2009, 12:46
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Re: Meaning of "in ordnung" or "i.o."

The question would be, what needs repairing?

3500 sounds a bit much for just the paint.... and usually appartments are only being re-painted after a couple of years, unless the last tenant really left it in a mess.....
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Old 11.08.2009, 14:09
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Re: Meaning of "in ordnung" or "i.o."

According to the Hauseigentümerverband painting needs to be done every 5 years. So "normal usage" is not to be paid by the tenant. But if you have made a real mess, then the owner can make you pay.
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Old 09.09.2009, 17:43
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Re: Meaning of "in ordnung" or "i.o."

To bring everyone up to date on this... we went to the renter's court arbitration with the landlord last week.

- he based his case solely on the comparison of the moving in protocol (on which we had agreed that all was "in ordnung" and the apartment had been freshly painted) to the moving out protocol (on which he had claimed for scratches on the parkett, nick in the bathtub, nick on the kitchen floor)

- his damage request was presented as his own estimate, with no supporting invoices or official estimates by repair companies

- the existence of damages and extent was again based only on his claim; with no supporting photographs or inspection by a third party.

- He admitted that he did not make any of the repairs, and claimed that he was owed compensation because there had been damages to the value of his property. This was accepted by the court, despite the fact that he was able to rent the apartment (without repairs made) for approximately 6% more rent than we had paid.

He was awarded CHF 2400 of our CHF 5000 deposit.

Warning - do not believe that if you dissagree with your landlord and you are taken to court that they will be required to prove anything. Their word alone against yours could end up with you paying out half of your deposit.

By the way, I am American, my wife is Hungarian, and the landlord is Swiss. Make of that what you wish.
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Old 09.09.2009, 17:52
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Re: Meaning of "in ordnung" or "i.o."

Sorry to hear that!

Did you challenge the moving-out protocoll or let it slide then? This might be important for other people who will move out of their apartments eventually...
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Old 09.09.2009, 17:53
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Re: Meaning of "in ordnung" or "i.o."

You can appeal that in civil courts though.
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Old 09.09.2009, 18:09
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Re: Meaning of "in ordnung" or "i.o."

As I've stated elsewhere is these hallowed forums - I gave all the bills to my insurance company.

After a long time (which bothered my landlord more than me), this simple action reduced a bill of deposit + damages, to getting some refund on deposit.

But many thanks and respect for giving us feedback.
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Old 09.09.2009, 21:47
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Re: Meaning of "in ordnung" or "i.o."

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You can appeal that in civil courts though.
The arbitration is not binding. Go to court, if you are convinced about your standpoint.
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Old 11.09.2009, 21:33
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Re: Meaning of "in ordnung" or "i.o."

We signed an agreement at the renter's court (perhaps should be called "owners court"...) so I don't think we'd be looked upon favorably by a court if we filed suit now. We've actually met today with the current renters, to apprise them of the outcome so that they will at least be prepared when they deal with this landlord in the future.

I think the lesson learned here is that one can never be too thorough in documenting the condition of an apartment upon moving in. If we had not accepted "in ordnung" as a general statement on each of the rooms (because they were clean, with no obvious damages), but rather had been very picky in our inspection, and written down every single imperfection, our former landlord would have had a much more difficult time making his case. It is worth the time to spend even a couple of hours going over it, and also worth the objectons and hassle of insisting that the manager remain present for the inspection.
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Old 11.09.2009, 22:15
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Re: Meaning of "in ordnung" or "i.o."

i'm now really scared, since i ticked most boxes 'new' and not just 'in ordnung'.

what kind of insurance can i get to cover this? i'd rather pay a few chfs a month for peace of mind...
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Old 11.09.2009, 22:37
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Re: Meaning of "in ordnung" or "i.o."

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i'm now really scared, since i ticked most boxes 'new' and not just 'in ordnung'.

what kind of insurance can i get to cover this? i'd rather pay a few chfs a month for peace of mind...
Normally your "haftversicherung" covers most things - they paid for a replacement sink when there was a hairline crack when we left.

it also depends on how long you have been in the flat. Theres a booklet you can get from the Mieterverband of your area, which lists the "expected life" of most things, and also the most you might be expected to pay.

eg: (from memory) repainting has to be done every 5 years. If you have lived there 5 years, you do not have to pay for any marks on the walls.
dont quote me on this, check the rules for yourself from the mieterverband of your canton.
all items in the flat have a limited life, and your rent is intended as a payment for use of the facilities!
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Old 18.09.2009, 00:55
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Re: Meaning of "in ordnung" or "i.o."

Honestly, this system is appalling to me and I cannot see why so many people I know have stated that CH is "renter friendly". Not so by my experience. In 13 previous long term rental contracts in the US and Europe (and countless short term...) I have lost only a TOTAL of EUR 100 in deposit money. So to now be charged CHF 2400 is highly unusual. This behavior by Swiss managers and owners is atrocious.

Even if you marked things as new, and notice something later, send a letter to the Manager. Document it early as it is better than waiting until the handover.

As for insurance, sure it makes things easier, but its ridiculous that it has to be that way. Maybe the fact that I live in Zurich has something to do with it. Are the owners and managers more human outside of Zurich?
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Old 18.09.2009, 01:26
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Re: Meaning of "in ordnung" or "i.o."

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Honestly, this system is appalling to me and I cannot see why so many people I know have stated that CH is "renter friendly".
I never heard anyone describe CH as renter friendly. A large percentage of the population rents. Not everyone wants to own and some cannot afford to own though they wish they could. You never find out what kind of landlord you have until you move out.

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Maybe the fact that I live in Zurich has something to do with it. Are the owners and managers more human outside of Zurich?
It has nothing to do with where you live. The area where I work is no different. Landlords will do their utmost to get as much money as they can from a tenant. The stories I could tell you about what has been tried.

Unless you are an expert, never do the inspection when you assume a rental on your own and the same goes for giving the place back. Take someone who knows what they are doing. It is money well spent.

In the many years we have rented, both overseas and here, with a house filled with kids, and pets, we have never paid 1 rappen out of the deposit. It is about knowing how things work.

Without photos and proof that the work was never carried out, in my opinion your landlord didn't deserve such a large sum. Use your insurance, unless it is already to late to claim. Sorry the outcome was not better for you.
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Old 21.09.2009, 21:41
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Re: Meaning of "in ordnung" or "i.o."

Follow up to this:

We recieved CHF 2200 from the insurance company, of the CHF 2400 paid to the landlord. The CHF 200 they didn't pay was our contractually deductible amount.

The insurance situation is surprising as well... how can insurance companies simply pay out such large amounts for ridiculous reasons?? Not that I'm complaining personally.

We have been in contact with the past renter and the renter before him and discovered that they have been also charged for some of the things we were charged for. We've been advised by some friends that the press (or the police) may have an interest in this.
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Old 22.09.2009, 07:15
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Re: Meaning of "in ordnung" or "i.o."

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Honestly, this system is appalling to me and I cannot see why so many people I know have stated that CH is "renter friendly". Not so by my experience. In 13 previous long term rental contracts in the US and Europe (and countless short term...) I have lost only a TOTAL of EUR 100 in deposit money. So to now be charged CHF 2400 is highly unusual. This behavior by Swiss managers and owners is atrocious.

Even if you marked things as new, and notice something later, send a letter to the Manager. Document it early as it is better than waiting until the handover.

As for insurance, sure it makes things easier, but its ridiculous that it has to be that way. Maybe the fact that I live in Zurich has something to do with it. Are the owners and managers more human outside of Zurich?
If you can't take it, you shouldn't come. As expats you usualy are on good salaries, sure the landlords play a bit on naivete but they probably do in your country too. If you don't understand something, don't sign, pay for a translator. The Landlord provides documents in the language of the area, the onus is on you as a foreigner to have it translated if needs be, that's for you to decide, nobody else.
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Old 22.09.2009, 08:24
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Re: Meaning of "in ordnung" or "i.o."

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We recieved CHF 2200 from the insurance company, of the CHF 2400 paid to the landlord. The CHF 200 they didn't pay was our contractually deductible amount.
Read through all the posts.
At least there was a happy ending. basically, you got your money back.
There's hope for the rest of us.
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Old 22.09.2009, 19:34
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Re: Meaning of "in ordnung" or "i.o."

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If you can't take it, you shouldn't come. As expats you usualy are on good salaries, sure the landlords play a bit on naivete but they probably do in your country too. If you don't understand something, don't sign, pay for a translator. The Landlord provides documents in the language of the area, the onus is on you as a foreigner to have it translated if needs be, that's for you to decide, nobody else.
This is an interesting response, and one commonly placed to foreigners in any and every country. Its also an illogical one that sounds good but doesn't hold up when examined more carefully.

Certainly one doesn't make a decision on where to live based on one aspect of the place - your statement seems to imply that if one doesn't like something about a place, they should not live there, despite the many benefits.

So then are you saying: don't complain about the particular thing you don't like? To that I'd say isn't a dialogue about the good/bad aspect of things essential to a democracy? Would you simply tell a Swiss person not to complain?

This leaves me with an implied meaning of "if you're a foreigner don't complain". If that's your true meaning, that is complete rubbish. As a foreigner my nice expat salary is taxed very healthily, so I've paid my fair share. I'd also argue that my salary is no better than that of the Swiss who are in my profession.

So tell me then, really, what do you mean by using a statement like this to justify a system that allows landlords to essentially steal by claiming very questionable damages and not even being required to provide any certification to the true extent of said damages other than their own "professional estimate"...?
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