The enforcement of a rent reduction is more complex than one would assume at first glance. In this FAQ we have compiled the most common questions and answers addressed to us.

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In Switzerland, tenants are generally entitled to a rent reduction if the mortgage reference rate falls. This is determined quarterly by the Federal Office for Housing. The reference interest rate has fallen sharply in recent years and has been a mere 1.25% since 3 March 2020. If you have not received a rent reduction since that date, it is likely that you will be able to claim one from your landlord.
If interest rates fall, the landlord's interest burden will also fall. The legislator wanted to ensure that this lower interest burden would at least partially benefit the tenants. Moreover, the reverse is also true. If the interest rates rise, the landlord basically has the possibility to increase the rent.
The system is not unfair to the landlord. Overall, we rather think that the system discriminates against the tenants. As a tenant one should use therefore absolutely the means available by law. Also, the fairness of the system requires that the tenants know their rights and are able to enforce them to a sufficient extent. We are happy to help you with this last point.
Certain landlords automatically reduce the rent when the reference rate falls. However, the vast majority do not do this on their own initiative and are not legally obliged to do so. This may be because they are unaware of the legal situation, forget it, or because they want to achieve the highest possible return on their rental property. Whatever the case, if the landlord does not become active on his own initiative, it is in any case worthwhile for the tenant to actively demand a rent reduction.
A rent reduction can generally be claimed if the reference interest rate has fallen since the last rent fixing. But be careful, the date of the rental agreement is not always the same as the last rent fixing. Similarly, not every change in the rent is a binding rent fixing. For example, a reduction in the rent is only relevant for the calculation of the reference rate applicable to the rental agreement if the reduction has been determined in a court decision (including the decision of an arbitration authority). If you fill out our questionnaire, we can determine the last applicable rent fixing for you and thus ensure that you receive the rent reduction you are actually entitled to.
You can also claim your rent reduction yourself. There are various tools available on the Internet to calculate your claim and to support you in doing so. Especially worth mentioning are the documents and information provided by the tenants' association. What we offer is sending you a personalized letter for FREE and if you wish, we can also send the letter to your landlord for you. Thus, if you chose our services, you don't have to download any letter templates, personalize those templates or go to the post office to send a registered letter (which generally alone costs CHF 5.30).
The landlord is entitled to various remedies as to how he can defend himself against a rent reduction. One of the most common methods is to offset the reduction claim against a flat-rate cost increase. In addition, the landlord has a variety of other legal remedies available to him. Unfortunately, it can also happen that your landlord tries to defend himself against the reduction by unfair means. For example, also the charging of a flat-rate cost increase is not legitimate in all cases. We are working on a tool with which you can check the legitimacy of such a lump sum cost increase and hope to be able to give you access to it as soon as possible.
With a cost increase, the landlord claims that his costs have increased, especially for the operation and maintenance of the property. This is in principle only legitimate if the costs of the landlord have actually increased. If a landlord however claims a flat-rate cost increase, this has nothing to do anymore with his actual costs. Rather the landlord in this case tries to charge a flat-rate, e.g. 0.5% of the net rent per year. With this he could reduce the reduction claim of the tenant even if his actual costs have decreased. Although the Federal Court has ruled that claiming a flat-rate cost increase is generally not legitimate (see BGE 4A_88/2013, E 4.1), it is still accepted by various arbitration authorities and cannot be prevented in all cases.
Most landlords in Switzerland know the legal situation and won't even think about terminating your agreement. If your landlord would still try to do so because of the reduction request, it would be a so-called "revenge termination" (Art. 271a para. 1 lit. a CO). This is not only contestable, but in principle also punishable (Art. 325bis para. 2 StGB).
Our service includes first of all the creation of your personal letter for rent reduction and the possibility that we send it to your landlord on your behalf. Our service package does not include the receipt of responses from your landlord to the reduction request or the forwarding of such responses to you. If we send your letter for you, we will make your landlord explicitly aware that he must address his response to you and not to us. Responses sent to us will not be processed.
That is quite simple. You just have to fill out our questionnaire, i.e. answer a few questions and enter your name and address and that of your landlord. After we have received your information, we will analyze if and how much you are entitled to a rent reduction. If you are entitled to a reduction, we will automatically send you a personalized letter, which you can send to your landlord to claim your rent reduction. This service is FREE. If you want us to send the letter to your landlord, we can do this quickly and easily for you. You don’t even have to go to the post office and send the letter by registered mail (which would cost you about CHF 5.30). For sending the letter we charge a small fee of CHF 9.90.
If you instruct us to send the letter on your behalf, you give us a power of attorney. We are thus authorized to send the letter to your landlord in your name. The granting of power of attorney is valid without any form requirements. This means that you do not need to sign a physical declaration. It is sufficient if you give us your consent online via our service. Please make sure that you give us the necessary powers of attorney of all tenants who have signed the rental agreement. Thus, if other tenants have signed your rental agreement, you must obtain their consent in advance.
A power of attorney can be issued in Switzerland without any formal requirements. This means that it can be verbal or even implied (i.e. without an explicit declaration). If you instruct us to send your letter to your landlord on your behalf, you are granting us the necessary power of attorney. Our system ensures that you are fully informed about this power of attorney (the box containing the power of attorney must be checked to complete the order). Your landlord may not know that a power of attorney does not have to be issued in writing. If he doubts the granting, let him know that you have given it to us and refer him to these FAQs.
According to the law, the tenant must submit the reduction request in writing (Art. 270a para. 2 OR). In principle, this means that you must sign a printed letter by hand and send it by post, for reasons of legal certainty preferably by registered mail. This seems outdated in today's digitalized world. We have a so-called qualified electronic signature. According to Art. 14 para. 2bis CO, this is considered to be in writing and allows us to send a legally valid reduction request to your landlord by e-mail. This is also the reason why we require a valid e-mail address of the landlord.
If your request for a reduction was sent via us, it meets all formal requirements despite delivery by e-mail and is therefore legally enforceable. It is true that the reduction request must be made in writing in accordance with Art. 270a Para. 2 CO and that this generally means that a physical letter must be sent. The request for reduction sent by us however was signed by us using a Qualified Electronic Signature (QES). According to Art. 14 para. 2bis CO, the QES is equivalent to a handwritten signature. Therefore, the letter sent by us is considered to be in writing within the meaning of Art. 270a para. 2 CO and, as already mentioned, meets the legal requirements. Since we are the first platform in Switzerland to offer this service, it may be that your landlord does not know this. This is despite the fact that we explicitly point this out to landlords in our letter. Show your landlord this FAQ if he is still unsure about the legal validity of our letter.
In this case it depends on your landlord whether he accepts such a request for reduction or not. If he does not do so, he may not give you an answer or point out to you that he will only take action if he receives a "written" request as defined by law. It should also be noted that your landlord must grant you the right to reduce your rent to the next possible termination date. This means that you should only try to send an e-mail if you do not miss a cancellation date. Otherwise you might have to pay the old and higher rent for several more months.
After the rent reduction request has been sent to your landlord, he has 30 days to reply to you. If you do not hear from your landlord within this period, it is advisable to contact him again. If this is not possible, or if you receive a negative answer from your landlord, you have the option of initiating an arbitration proceeding. However, we recommend that you first contact your local tenant organization to find out whether this is advisable in your specific case. If you want to initiate an arbitration proceeding, you must do so within 60 days of submitting the reduction request.
It is possible that your landlord does not agree with the rent reduction requested by you. As mentioned above, he or she may have certain counterclaims. If such a counterclaim is not legitimate, we recommend that you talk to your landlord about this. If this does not help, you should contact your local tenant organization. Please note that if you want to take legal action against your landlord, you are bound to certain deadlines. If you wish to initiate arbitration proceedings against your landlord, you must do so within 30 days of receiving a response from the landlord or, if you do not receive a response to your request, within 60 days since the request for reduction was made.