More arbitration proceedings – Tenants are increasingly fighting against rising rents – News

  • Tenants are increasingly resisting the higher rents. The arbitration boards have their hands full.
  • New figures from the Federal Housing Office from the first half of 2023 show an increase in arbitration proceedings of over 42 percent compared to the previous semester.
  • The situation is unlikely to ease – there is a risk of a further increase in the reference interest rate on December 1st.

The problem is high in Zurich: the Zurich district’s rent arbitration board has to process 2,300 cases; in the summer there were now over 3,000, says Anna Isabel Altieri, senior clerk of the Zurich district’s rent arbitration board.

Although demand is decreasing, the rental arbitration board has its hands full. “We are in the process of trying these cases,” said Altieri. There are a considerable number of “extra-official transactions”. Tenants and landlords with pending proceedings sometimes reach an agreement on their own.

We continue to plan to conduct negotiations additional days per week.

The arbitration board has increased personnel resources by around 25 percent, says Altieri. If the number of cases remains at the current level, “we expect that the first wave will perhaps be over by spring 2024.”

More staff, more negotiations

However, experts expect that the reference interest rate will be raised again on December 1st. This means that rents could rise again. Will there be another wave of challenges? “If there is a second round in December, the two rounds would overlap, which would make it very difficult for us,” said Altieri.

In Basel they are preparing for another “wave”. The arbitration board for rental disputes in the canton of Basel-Stadt is examining whether “personnel resources could be increased somewhat on a temporary basis,” says the head of the arbitration board, Elena Herrmann. “And in order to cope with the workload, we continue to plan to hold negotiations on additional days per week,” says Hermann.

There was also a sharp increase in the number of rental arbitration proceedings in Basel: from the beginning of June to November 22nd, 517 disputes were received. In the same period last year there were just 30. So far, this rush has been managed, says Elena Herrmann. If there is another rush on the arbitration authorities at the beginning of December, there could also be longer waiting times in Basel.

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