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Old 01.03.2010, 17:51
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what action can we take against this ridiculous situation with the landlord?

Dear all,
We would like to ask for any kind of advice on the major issue we have with our landlord at the moment.
We moved into this apartment in october 2008.
And since then the landlord himself with his wife have been doing the renovation of the building(other apartments) until december 2009.
That was for about a year and half including WEEKENDS!!
There are 10 apartments in this building and more than half was empty when we moved in and they started to renovate one by one.
There was no clear or set renovation plan. Sometimes they would post it on the entrance, other times not.
They would also have breaks in between which of course are not shared. Water was cut pretty often during the day with a notice that was often put the night before after 8 or 9.
Drilling would go on for weeks non-stop not to mention hammering or axing.
Horrible smell of paint or all sorts of chemicals fill the building most of the time and there's always this crazy pile of trash near building entrance.
It wouldn't be hard to imagine the noise and unpleasantness I had to bear as a housewife.
I mean who as a tenant wants any trouble with the houseowners?
We've been more than patient and had to complain about the weekend noise at least to the real estate agency.
We weren't really up for any fights hoping this would end at lease within 6 months.
But then the owners would visit us right away(i mean they are in the building all the time anyways) to show how they are grumpy about our complaints.
Is this normal for them to come right back to us like that?
That was the start of annoying circle communication among <us-agent-owners>. Plus, this agent wasn't availble most of the time and was hard to get a call back.
Apparently we are the weak party here and unexperienced.
My husband is Swiss lived in zurich for over 15 years but never had this kind of problem before.
One time we informed the agency about the disgusting cockroaches (additional 2nd issue) possibly coming from the other empty apartments.
Even the agency agreed that the right measure have to be taken with this matter.
But the next day the owners appeared on our door asking if i could show them the roaches???
Seriously, I had to say 'sorry but i don't KEEP them as pet.'
So, they requested me to catch it alive next time or not squash them totally for them to see it for real. wow, I was speechless.
But fortunately I did spot one on the third floor stairway that day
and managed to prison it using an empty glass jar with a note, <for the landlords, please do not touch>
Next day they left us an insect killer spray saying after observing that roach, they concluded it was HARMLESS FOREST-ROACHES and
would all go away to the forest when the winter comes....(you mean like migratory birds, right???wow)
We honestly gave up reasoning with them, and just kept on searching for different apartment.
But as you know to get an apt in Zurich is just a war.
We tried to get some advice from friends and family or any experienced.
We even consulted Mieterverband about the situation
and found out that normally and legally they should give us 10-20% of the rent back for those period of renovation. We just had no idea about it before.
We mailed asking for the rational suggestion from their side weeks ago but just got an angry call from the real estate agent and no formal reply so far.
We are totally ignored and fed up and frustrated and helpless.
What could be the next step? What does the swiss law imply?
Would there be any democratic and reasonable resolution for helpless tenant like us? I'd rather donate that refund for the people in need then just leave it and move out as my husband wants. He just gets too stressed out dealing with trouble like this.
Do any of you have experience like this?
Please help!!!
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Old 01.03.2010, 18:16
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Re: what action can we take against this ridiculous situation with the landlord?

Move out
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Old 01.03.2010, 18:20
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Re: what action can we take against this ridiculous situation with the landlord?

Looks like there is no other option than moving out. If you complain, then you have be prepared for a war, I probably would win. But is it realy worth living in a war with your landlord living with the risk that things could get out of control?
If you have a cheap apartment and don`t want giving up this oportunity you could ask your landlord if he needs a hand. So he could be finished soon.
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Old 01.03.2010, 18:24
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Re: what action can we take against this ridiculous situation with the landlord?

Either you like where you live (and stay) or you don't (and move), next step is yours..
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Old 01.03.2010, 18:38
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Re: what action can we take against this ridiculous situation with the landlord?

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Move out
if moving in zurich was so easy as you say, we would've already 100times.
please, anyone with... similar issue and got rent reduction, rightful procedure(writing letters etc)???
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Old 01.03.2010, 18:48
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Re: what action can we take against this ridiculous situation with the landlord?

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But the next day the owners appeared on our door asking if i could show them the roaches???
Seriously, I had to say 'sorry but i don't KEEP them as pet.'
So, they requested me to catch it alive next time or not squash them totally for them to see it for real. wow, I was speechless.
But fortunately I did spot one on the third floor stairway that day
and managed to prison it using an empty glass jar with a note, <for the landlords, please do not touch>
I am sorry for all you are going through, I had a similar problem (about the roaches) with my temporary accomodation, I was asked to get one and I have a Phobia!!!!!! Anyway, I did (cried while doing it disgusted) and was told the same thing. The funny thing is that I lived on the 5th floor and these came flying! If I were you I would move out, unless you really like the place (despite all you have told us) but the roaches are there to stay...THe worst thing is I got a response with some cockroach pictures!!!!!
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Old 01.03.2010, 18:52
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Re: what action can we take against this ridiculous situation with the landlord?

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if moving in zurich was so easy as you say, we would've already 100times.
please, anyone with... similar issue and got rent reduction, rightful procedure(writing letters etc)???
Sorry to hear about your situation - the drilling must be driving you bonkers. Re the cockroaches, I had an ant problem (really bad!) some time back and my ex landlord was uncontactable for a good number of days (I rented directly from him) as he was on a long sailing trip. When I managed to get hold of him, his first suggestion was to use insect repellent which I already did to no avail. I was furious initially as he didnt seem to care about the seriousness of the matter (I even took photos and mailed it to him) but he insisted that I tried again another time. I had no choice but to take his advice and used another brand of repellent - miraculously, the problem was eradicated. Have you tried Baygon? I got them from the Apotheke and it works wonders.

Also, you mentioned that the Mieterverband said that you might get a rent reduction. Cant the person who counselled you help you with the next steps??
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Old 01.03.2010, 19:09
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Re: what action can we take against this ridiculous situation with the landlord?

yeh~ eventually the roaches went away with tons of anti-insect products, thanks for the info tho'.
about the Mieterverband... you get free consultation twice if you are a paid member. we already used once(told us to come back with reply mail) and are waiting for that reply from the real estate agent which seems unlikely to get. i got a bit impatient and just had to ask for any additional advice with firsthand experience here.
thanks a lot for responding~ and i'll try Baygon next time^^
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Old 01.03.2010, 19:12
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Re: what action can we take against this ridiculous situation with the landlord?

It seems to me that with roach infestation and noise pollution you can get the city authorities involved. In general it's best to get the government to deal with landlords and employers who are nonresponsive to reasonable complaint.
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Old 01.03.2010, 19:14
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Re: what action can we take against this ridiculous situation with the landlord?

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Dear all,
We would like to ask for any kind of advice on the major issue we have with our landlord at the moment.
We moved into this apartment in october 2008.
And since then the landlord himself with his wife have been doing the renovation of the building(other apartments) until december 2009.
That was for about a year and half including WEEKENDS!!
There are 10 apartments in this building and more than half was empty when we moved in and they started to renovate one by one.
Didn't you wonder why half of the apartments were empty? Don't say you didn't notice because there would have been no names on the mailboxes or the doorbells and that would have been a sure indication. Warning bells would have gone off for me, but then, this is what I do for a living, find places for people to live.

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Do any of you have experience like this?
Please help!!!
I have no experience like this but you should take the case to mediation, ask for compensation retroactively and permission to move with one month's notice and no requirement to find a nachmieter (which sounds like it will be impossible) as soon as you find something.

Agents who represent owners and rent apartments on their behalf look after their interests, not yours. Good luck.
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Old 01.03.2010, 19:19
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Re: what action can we take against this ridiculous situation with the landlord?

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I have not experience like this but you should take the case to mediation, ask for compensation retroactively and permission to move with one month's notice and no requirement to find a nachmieter (which sounds like it will be impossible) as soon as you find something.
Why impossible? As I read it, the landlord's DIY project is over (ended back in December) so all is presumably peace and quiet by now.
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Old 01.03.2010, 19:38
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Re: what action can we take against this ridiculous situation with the landlord?

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We are totally ignored and fed up and frustrated and helpless.
What could be the next step? What does the swiss law imply?
Would there be any democratic and reasonable resolution for helpless tenant like us? I'd rather donate that refund for the people in need then just leave it and move out as my husband wants. He just gets too stressed out dealing with trouble like this.
Do any of you have experience like this?
Please help!!!
So if I'm understanding you correctly:
- roaches are gone
- noises and dust and short-notice water cutoffs are gone
- it is all about MONEY now
--- in particular, about recovering money you have already paid
----- which (I assume since you signed the rental contract) was money you could afford to pay

So there is frustration, yes; a sense of injustice and helplessness, yes; but actual day-to-day trouble from this? Not so much any more.

Sorry if this sounds harsh - believe me, I am not belittling your situation or trying to discourage you from proceedings against your landlord - but thought maybe a bit of perspective would help keep yours and hubby's blood pressure in check in the meantime.
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Old 01.03.2010, 19:38
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Re: what action can we take against this ridiculous situation with the landlord?

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I am sorry for all you are going through, I had a similar problem (about the roaches) with my temporary accomodation, I was asked to get one and I have a Phobia!!!!!! Anyway, I did (cried while doing it disgusted) and was told the same thing. The funny thing is that I lived on the 5th floor and these came flying! If I were you I would move out, unless you really like the place (despite all you have told us) but the roaches are there to stay...THe worst thing is I got a response with some cockroach pictures!!!!!
i know exactly what u mean, i'm roachphobic too--;;;
we are eventually moving to a new apt (took us almost a year to find and GET one, we were really lucky with this one) but since we filed a complaint officially by mail as advised, it would be an ongoing issue.
And u know things are pretty slow in Switzerland

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Didn't you wonder why half of the apartments were empty? Don't say you didn't notice because there would have been no names on the mailboxes or the doorbells and that would have been a sure indication. Warning bells would have gone off for me, but then, this is what I do for a living, find places for people to live.
there was no indication that the apartment was empty.all the mailboxes and doorbells had names(switched them when the new tenants moved in after renovation, the last one just last months) we figured out gradually when they renovated one by one months after months.
sorry i'm not up for that <u should've blabla...> that's just soooo easy to say. but good luck with what u do for a living. be sure to check all the neighbors if they do really exist behind locked doors with nametags

Last edited by vwild1; 01.03.2010 at 23:25. Reason: Merged 2 successive posts into 1
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Old 01.03.2010, 20:42
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Re: what action can we take against this ridiculous situation with the landlord?

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there was no indication that the apartment was empty.all the mailboxes and doorbells had names(switched them when the new tenants moved in after renovation, the last one just last months) we figured out gradually when they renovated one by one months after months.
sorry i'm not up for that <u should've blabla...> that's just soooo easy to say. but good luck with what u do for a living. be sure to check all the neighbors if they do really exist behind locked doors with nametags
It's not difficult to find out if apartments are occupied. I do what is needed to protect my clients so that they don't end up in situations like yours. You didn't check out the building carefully enough - end of story.
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Old 01.03.2010, 20:48
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Re: what action can we take against this ridiculous situation with the landlord?

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It's not difficult to find out if apartments are occupied.
Indeed. You should stand outside with a notepad and observe their comings and goings for at least a week before signing the contract.

That's what I did!

The injuction expires next week, and I'll be able to move in, too!
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Old 01.03.2010, 20:54
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Re: what action can we take against this ridiculous situation with the landlord?

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Indeed. You should stand outside with a notepad (----)and observe their comings and goings for at least a week before signing the contract.

That's what I did!

The injuction expires next week, and I'll be able to move in, too!
And pen .You forgot the pen I waited 60 years to do this to a school teacher
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Old 01.03.2010, 21:08
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Re: what action can we take against this ridiculous situation with the landlord?

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It's not difficult to find out if apartments are occupied. I do what is needed to protect my clients so that they don't end up in situations like yours. You didn't check out the building carefully enough - end of story.
and of course,
it's not that difficult either to know that the owners would do the renovation themselves for a year and half. just ask around and u'll be told - just another story.
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Old 01.03.2010, 21:09
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Re: what action can we take against this ridiculous situation with the landlord?

Yes, but... is the work still going on or what?
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Old 01.03.2010, 21:26
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RE: what action can we take against this ridiculous situation with the landlord?

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and of course,
it's not that difficult either to know that the owners would do the renovation themselves for a year and half. just ask around and u'll be told - just another story.
There was another forum member, like you, who also made derogatory comments about my work. Well, not that long ago that same member posted how miserable they are where they are living and wanting to move, which considering the location came as no surprise to me.

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Yes, but... is the work still going on or what?
Seems it was finished in December 2009.

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Dear all,
We would like to ask for any kind of advice on the major issue we have with our landlord at the moment.
Almost forgot, great first post and welcome to the forum.

Last edited by vwild1; 01.03.2010 at 23:30. Reason: Merged 2 successive posts into 1 (forgot one)
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Old 01.03.2010, 21:33
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Re: what action can we take against this ridiculous situation with the landlord?

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There was another forum member, like you, who also made derogatory comments about my work. Well, not that long ago that same member posted how miserable they are where they are living and wanting to move, which considering the location came as no surprise to me.
Dear me. I shall try and remember to say only nice things about you in future, lest my neighbors turn nosy and all my pipes leak.
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