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Renting in Geneva? READ THIS!!!

Apologies for using all caps but this message was intended to be shouted.

If you are looking for an apartment in Geneva you'll have noticed how the search turns out to be a nightmare.  Not only it is difficult to find, but the tenants are usually victim of abuses and the prices are artificially high.

In fact, Geneva is a city inhabited mostly by expats which don't know the regulations here (and often don't even speak French) so they are an easy prey for greedy and ruthless homeowners.

Did you know that you have the right to pay a fair price for your rent, and therefore have your rent lowered if it is overpriced?

Here's how you do it:

1. Don't discuss the rent.  Wait until you have signed the contract and received the keys of the apartment.

2. You should receive an Avis de fixation de loyer with your contract.  It's a green sheet, and it says on the bottom that once you receive it you have 30 days to renegotiate the rent.  If the homeowner/Régie don't give it to you you'll have even more time!

3. Within 30 days (but do this as soon as possible) go to ASLOCA in rue du Lac 12 and submit your case.  It'll cost you 70 CHF per year but you will save thousands!  ASLOCA will examine the characteristics of the flat you're renting and tell you if the rent is overpriced.  If it is, they'll start a legal procedure.

4. In a few months you'll be invited to a Commission de Conciliation where you'll negotiate a lower rent with the homeowner.  Your presence is mandatory, and you'll be assisted by a lawyer from ASLOCA.  Should the negotiations fail you'd need to go to Court, but this rarely happens -- the homeowner know well they are in the wrong so they'll try to avoid it.

5. The new (lower) rent is then applied retrospectively since the signing of the contract, which means that not only you'll benefit from a lower rent from now on but the homeowner/Régie will have to partially reimburse what you paid in the past.

Some important points:

- You can require a rent to be lowered only if it is abusive concerning the characteristics of the apartment (size, number of rooms, floor, age, neighborhood, orientation, etc.).  If you're living in a brand new 6-rooms penthouse in the city center with view on the lake and you're paying an astronomical price for it, it might well be legitimate.  However, rents in Geneva are systematically pumped up by 30% or more, so it will always be worth a try.  Ask ASLOCA.  

- Some Régies/homeowners/relocators write in the contract a clause specifying that you waive the right of renegotiating the rent.  This clause is invalid (and they know it) so you can wipe your ass with it.  The right of having a fair rent is inalienable (provided that you exercise this right within 30 days).  

- It is illegal to throw you out of the apartment because you want to exercise this right.

- Not only you'll feel good because you aren't being scammed anymore, not only you'll save a lot of money, but you'll also help to fight speculation and definitely make Geneva a better place!


 


 

The text you are quoting:

Apologies for using all caps but this message was intended to be shouted.

If you are looking for an apartment in Geneva you'll have noticed how the search turns out to be a nightmare.  Not only it is difficult to find, but the tenants are usually victim of abuses and the prices are artificially high.

In fact, Geneva is a city inhabited mostly by expats which don't know the regulations here (and often don't even speak French) so they are an easy prey for greedy and ruthless homeowners.

Did you know that you have the right to pay a fair price for your rent, and therefore have your rent lowered if it is overpriced?

Here's how you do it:

1. Don't discuss the rent.  Wait until you have signed the contract and received the keys of the apartment.

2. You should receive an Avis de fixation de loyer with your contract.  It's a green sheet, and it says on the bottom that once you receive it you have 30 days to renegotiate the rent.  If the homeowner/Régie don't give it to you you'll have even more time!

3. Within 30 days (but do this as soon as possible) go to ASLOCA in rue du Lac 12 and submit your case.  It'll cost you 70 CHF per year but you will save thousands!  ASLOCA will examine the characteristics of the flat you're renting and tell you if the rent is overpriced.  If it is, they'll start a legal procedure.

4. In a few months you'll be invited to a Commission de Conciliation where you'll negotiate a lower rent with the homeowner.  Your presence is mandatory, and you'll be assisted by a lawyer from ASLOCA.  Should the negotiations fail you'd need to go to Court, but this rarely happens -- the homeowner know well they are in the wrong so they'll try to avoid it.

5. The new (lower) rent is then applied retrospectively since the signing of the contract, which means that not only you'll benefit from a lower rent from now on but the homeowner/Régie will have to partially reimburse what you paid in the past.

Some important points:

- You can require a rent to be lowered only if it is abusive concerning the characteristics of the apartment (size, number of rooms, floor, age, neighborhood, orientation, etc.).  If you're living in a brand new 6-rooms penthouse in the city center with view on the lake and you're paying an astronomical price for it, it might well be legitimate.  However, rents in Geneva are systematically pumped up by 30% or more, so it will always be worth a try.  Ask ASLOCA.  

- Some Régies/homeowners/relocators write in the contract a clause specifying that you waive the right of renegotiating the rent.  This clause is invalid (and they know it) so you can wipe your ass with it.  The right of having a fair rent is inalienable (provided that you exercise this right within 30 days).  

- It is illegal to throw you out of the apartment because you want to exercise this right.

- Not only you'll feel good because you aren't being scammed anymore, not only you'll save a lot of money, but you'll also help to fight speculation and definitely make Geneva a better place!


 


 


TheOmegaManMar 23, 2014 @ 17:17
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Re: Renting in Geneva? READ THIS!!!
Post 1

This is great advice.  Many thanks.  Based on comparis.ch estimates, my rent is higher than the market, especially because the utility fees are collected with the rent (i.e., I pay 29% on top of the rent each month, i.e. 2500CHF & electricity for 3 piece apt in Eaux-Vives).  I did not get a green slip with my lease which I signed in January. Can I request it now? 

The text you are quoting:

This is great advice.  Many thanks.  Based on comparis.ch estimates, my rent is higher than the market, especially because the utility fees are collected with the rent (i.e., I pay 29% on top of the rent each month, i.e. 2500CHF & electricity for 3 piece apt in Eaux-Vives).  I did not get a green slip with my lease which I signed in January. Can I request it now? 


Dessi D, Mar 23, 2014 @ 19:08
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Post 2

I recommend that you don't request it yet; instead, ask ASLOCA as soon as possible.  Remember to show them all papers you've signed.


If you haven't received the Avis de fixation de loyer, the term of 30 days is moved forward from the date it is signed.

The text you are quoting:

I recommend that you don't request it yet; instead, ask ASLOCA as soon as possible.  Remember to show them all papers you've signed.


If you haven't received the Avis de fixation de loyer, the term of 30 days is moved forward from the date it is signed.


TheOmegaMan, Mar 23, 2014 @ 19:17
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Post 3

I have done this process as well, it was relatively easy and painless. The ASLOCA guys are great.  Def. worth paying the yearly membership to support them.  Spread the word.

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I have done this process as well, it was relatively easy and painless. The ASLOCA guys are great.  Def. worth paying the yearly membership to support them.  Spread the word.


Anthony N, Mar 24, 2014 @ 09:03
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Re: Renting in Geneva? READ THIS!!!
Post 4

Hello will be in geneva for a summer school from June 15 to July 5 2014. I will need to rent a cheap student hostel. Any advices please. Drop me an inbox on facebook : Michael Alumuku or my email at idyemike@yahoo.com

The text you are quoting:

Hello will be in geneva for a summer school from June 15 to July 5 2014. I will need to rent a cheap student hostel. Any advices please. Drop me an inbox on facebook : Michael Alumuku or my email at idyemike@yahoo.com


Michael A, Mar 24, 2014 @ 13:00
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Post 5

If you have been pressured into purchasing the furniture in an apartment (in exchange for taking the apartment directly from the Regie and avoiding the sub-let person) do you have to buy it?


Thanks


Laura

The text you are quoting:

If you have been pressured into purchasing the furniture in an apartment (in exchange for taking the apartment directly from the Regie and avoiding the sub-let person) do you have to buy it?


Thanks


Laura


Laura Jane M, Mar 24, 2014 @ 13:14
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Post 6

To add to the first post: another possibility to get your rent lowered is if your flat was renovated and the owner/régie "forgot" to ask for a building authorisation - the law is called LDTR and it fixes the rents for three years following a significant renovation to the level of the previous rent.  If the rent was raised (because the building works took place without the building permit and the owner/régie has to apply for it retroactively) the tenant is entitled to a reimbursement of the difference between the old and new rent that has been paid for up to three years.  


This is all an established process, it is between the council and the owner/régie. The tenant has no process costs, nor further involvement beyond an inital letter to the council.  You don´t even need a lawyer.  See my post at http://www.glocals.com/forums/geneva/where-how-in-geneva/Moved-into-a-newly-renovated-flat-in-Geneva---Your-landlord-r--gie-might-owe-you-money-206513.htm (I just got some money back and I´d promised myself that I´d describe the process if it worked; it seems to be one of those insider tips, even for locals...).


And don´t forget to keep an eye on the interest rates in your contract, compared to current interest rates.  Rates went down slightly in late 2013.  An old post explains the process here http://www.englishforum.ch/housing-general/52854-interest-rate-reduction-possible-rent-reduction.html and see http://www.asloca.ch/?q=node/993

The text you are quoting:

To add to the first post: another possibility to get your rent lowered is if your flat was renovated and the owner/régie "forgot" to ask for a building authorisation - the law is called LDTR and it fixes the rents for three years following a significant renovation to the level of the previous rent.  If the rent was raised (because the building works took place without the building permit and the owner/régie has to apply for it retroactively) the tenant is entitled to a reimbursement of the difference between the old and new rent that has been paid for up to three years.  


This is all an established process, it is between the council and the owner/régie. The tenant has no process costs, nor further involvement beyond an inital letter to the council.  You don´t even need a lawyer.  See my post at http://www.glocals.com/forums/geneva/where-how-in-geneva/Moved-into-a-newly-renovated-flat-in-Geneva---Your-landlord-r--gie-might-owe-you-money-206513.htm (I just got some money back and I´d promised myself that I´d describe the process if it worked; it seems to be one of those insider tips, even for locals...).


And don´t forget to keep an eye on the interest rates in your contract, compared to current interest rates.  Rates went down slightly in late 2013.  An old post explains the process here http://www.englishforum.ch/housing-general/52854-interest-rate-reduction-possible-rent-reduction.html and see http://www.asloca.ch/?q=node/993


J. F, Mar 25, 2014 @ 20:21
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Post 7

Another important tip:


The procedure to go in front of the Commission de Conciliation plus the fees for the lawyer from ASLOCA will amount to a bit more than 1000 CHF.  However, if you have a protection juridique privée it will pay this cost in full.  I recommend the one from TCS which works great and costs around 200 CHF a year; just remember to take it in advance as per their contract they don't cover you for the first three months. 


Even if you don't have or don't want a protection juridique (which is not a smart idea in my opinion) the savings due to the lowered rent will abundantly cover this cost.


 

The text you are quoting:

Another important tip:


The procedure to go in front of the Commission de Conciliation plus the fees for the lawyer from ASLOCA will amount to a bit more than 1000 CHF.  However, if you have a protection juridique privée it will pay this cost in full.  I recommend the one from TCS which works great and costs around 200 CHF a year; just remember to take it in advance as per their contract they don't cover you for the first three months. 


Even if you don't have or don't want a protection juridique (which is not a smart idea in my opinion) the savings due to the lowered rent will abundantly cover this cost.


 


TheOmegaMan, Mar 30, 2014 @ 16:13
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Post 8

Nir, Oded,


do you think you could make this thread "sticky" i.e. make it appear always as the top thread in the Geneva forum?

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Nir, Oded,


do you think you could make this thread "sticky" i.e. make it appear always as the top thread in the Geneva forum?


TheOmegaMan, Jun 28, 2014 @ 11:49
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