Since September 2008, the mortgage reference interest rate for the whole of Switzerland is set by the Federal Office for Housing. Since then, it has fallen from 3.5% to 1.25% (as of today).
Prior to September 2008, the reference interest rates were set on a cantonal basis. They were at a very high level then as well.
Your landlord can increase your rent if the reference interest rate increases. Conversely, he must grant you a reduction in your rent if the reference interest rate falls..
The reference interest rate was last reduced on 3. March 2020. If you have not received a rent reduction from your landlord since then, you are probably paying too much rent.
If the mortgage reference interest rate falls by a quarter of a percent (e.g. from 1.5% to 1.25%), you are generally entitled to a reduction of 2.91% of your net rent (net rent = your monthly rent without any additional costs such as heating, water, etc.). The rent reduction will apply from the next termination date of your rental agreement (the notice period is usually about three months).
Although you are entitled to a rent reduction whenever the reference interest rate is lowered, there are unfortunately still landlords that do not grant you this reduction on their own initiative. Rather, you must act yourself and request the reduction from your landlord in writing.
5MinuteLawyer has developed a simple system that creates a letter for you to request the rent reduction from your landlord. All you must do is answer a few questions. The letter will be created for you within seconds and is completely FREE.
According to the law (Art. 270a para. 2 CO), you must present you request for a rent reduction in writing to your landlord. This generally means that an e-mail does not suffice. Thus, generally you are required to write the letter to your landlord, print that letter, sign it and go to the post office to send it by registered mail.
We at 5MinuteLawyer are of the opinion, that the requirement to send a physical letter to get a rent reduction is unnecessary and inefficient, especially in a time like today, when e-mails are widely accepted for business purposes. Therefore, we offer you a more practical, time-saving and secure solution.
Swiss law has equated the so-called qualified electronic signature (QES), to a handwritten signature (Art. 14 para. 2bis CO). With the QES, PDFs can be legally signed and sent to the recipient by e-mail. A request for a rent reduction sent in this way has the same legal effect as a hand-signed letter sent by post.
Most tenants do not have their own QES. Therefore, we offer you to send your letter to your landlord in your name. By accepting our terms & and conditions you will give us the necessary power of attorney (which doesn’t need a handwritten signature to be legally valid).
Especially if you have a professional landlord, it is likely that he will try to lower your reduction claim. Landlords often try to offset the reduction claim with a so-called flat-rate cost increase.
Flat-rate means that the landlord does not disclose his actual additional costs. Rather, he simply claims that his costs have increased by e.g. 0.5% of your net rent. If your landlord does this, your reduction claim may be lowered, but you will still have a reduction claim. Although this practice is very common, we calculate your reduction claim without a flat-rate cost increase, because we want to show you the maximum possible reduction claim.