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Landlords Beware! Court Rules Geneva Woman Was Gouged, Reduces Rent By 70%

A federal court in Switzerland rules that rent should not be based solely on market conditions, but on how much the landlord originally paid for the property.

Geneva is asking: how much is this worth? (Jean-Michel Just)
Geneva is asking: how much is this worth? (Jean-Michel Just)


GENEVA – Renters of the world unite! Switzerland's Federal Court has sent a "strong signal," according to one lawyer, to landlords across the country (and beyond??) when it ruled in favor of a Geneva tenant who claimed she was being gouged on her monthly rent. The plaintiff won the right to a 70% reduction on her rent when the judged ruled that the monthly price should be calculated according to what the owner originally paid for the property.

Here are the facts of the case: the woman moved into the two-room, 48-square-meter (517 sq-ft) flat in 2004, and within the legal deadline of 30 days she contested the monthly rent of 1,500 Swiss francs ($1,650). Her landlord had acquired the property in 1988 by buying a share of the company that owned it for 79,500 francs ($87,500).

"Return on investment should be the basis for determining how high the rent should be, not the going rental rates in the neighborhood," read the ruling, according to the local paper Tribune de Genève . The federal judge reduced the rent by 1,090 francs to 410 francs.

Felicitas Huggenberger, general manager of the Zurich Tenants' Association (MV), said that the decision showed that "having the courage to contest a starting rent is worth it." The court decision applies to all Switzerland, where tenants can contest their rent within 30 days of moving in. But the tenant must be able to document key figures about the property in order to make a case. "The difficulty is establishing proof," says Huggenberger.

Read the original article in German

Photo - Jean-Michel Just

*Newsbites are digest items, not a direct translation

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Violence Against Women, The Patriarchy And Responsibility Of The Good Men Too

The femicide of Giulia Cecchettin has shaken Italy, and beyond. Argentine journalist Ignacio Pereyra looks at what lies behind femicides and why all men must take more responsibility.

A protester's sign referring to the alleged killer reads: Filippo isn't a monster, he's the healthy son of the patriarchy

Matteo Nardone/Pacific Press via ZUMA Press
Ignacio Pereyra

Updated Dec. 3, 2023 at 10:40 p.m.


ATHENS — Are you going to write about what happened in Italy?, Irene, my partner, asks me. I have no idea what she's talking about. She tells me: a case of femicide has shaken the country and has been causing a stir for two weeks.

As if the fact in itself were not enough, I ask what is different about this murder compared to the other 105 women murdered this year in Italy (or those that happen every day around the world).

For the latest news & views from every corner of the world, Worldcrunch Today is the only truly international newsletter. Sign up here .

We are talking about a country where the expression "fai l'uomo" (be a man) abounds, with a society so prone to drama and tragedy and so fond of crime stories as few others, where the expression "crime of passion" is still mistakenly overused.

In this context, the sister of the victim reacted in an unexpected way for a country where femicide is not a crime recognized in the penal code, contrary to what happens, for example, in almost all of Latin America.

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