Abusive rents

Housing space is becoming increasingly scarce, especially in the centers of major Swiss cities. If demand exceeds supply, the price rises. At least that's the economic principle. In the housing market, this would have devastating effects on our society. For this reason, various measures are taken in the Swiss Code of Obligations to prevent abusively high rents or claims by the landlord.

Abusive rent is an excessive rental income. It is not abusive if the rent:

  • is customary in the locality or quarter
  • is to be justified by higher costs on the part of the landlord
  • compensates for a previously granted rent reduction
  • compensates for the increase in the cost of invested capital
  • does not exceed an extent determined by the landlords' or tenants' association

If the landlord wants to increase the rent, he must inform and justify this with the prescribed form. Furthermore, he may not threaten or pronounce any termination in this context. The tenant has the possibility to dispute the rent. A rent challenge can be carried out within 30 days after moving into the residential premises and a reduction of the rent can be applied for. The landlord is obliged to disclose the rent of the last tenancy. If the increase is higher than 10%, the new rent is abusive and must be reduced by the arbitration authority. Another reason for a challenge to the initial rent would be personal or family emergencies, on the basis of which the rental agreement had to be signed.

A request for a reduction of the rent is also possible during the rental period. If the tenant suspects the landlord of an excessive income due to cost reductions, he can demand a reduction of the rent in writing within 30 days and, if necessary, call in the arbitration authority after a further 30 days. In the event of rent increases or other unilateral changes to the contract, it is also necessary to go to the arbitration authority within 30 days to contest the new rent.