Landlord-tenant communication: is a relationship crisis inevitable?

Landlord-tenant communication – More tenants than owners live in Swiss households. The relationship between tenants and landlords is not always straightforward. Communication is usually the problem. While many tenants feel that they cannot reach the landlord quickly enough, landlords are often overwhelmed by the numerous requests from their tenants. But what can help?

A good solution to such a relationship crisis is to appoint a professional property manager. In the following article, you can read more about the various communication problems from the perspective of tenants and landlords. We give you tips for “first aid” and explain why a professional administrator can be the best solution for both sides.

Communication – problems between tenants and landlords

Did you know that many tenants and landlords in Switzerland do not know each other personally? Sometimes real estate owners and investors are even hidden behind companies. Tenants often do not know who to contact in case of doubt. However, contact must be made quickly, especially in the event of damage to the home.

Both landlords and tenants have important obligations. For landlords, this includes the obligation to be available to the tenant for important matters. The landlord should also help if there are conflicts between the tenants. However, this is not always the case and a relationship crisis arises between landlords and tenants, turning the tenancy into a stressful time.

Nevertheless, it should not be forgotten that a good relationship is always in both parties’ interests. With good communication, landlords can look forward to reliable and long-term tenants, while tenants know that they are in good hands. Communication problems should therefore be resolved as early as possible.

Mediation as a starting point

A dispute between landlord and tenant can usually be resolved out of court. Especially if the conflict has arisen from communication problems, a transparent discussion can help.

In Switzerland, there are competent arbitration boards in every canton. These authorities work with the mediation process. Here, both sides are listened to and led into dialog together. In most cases, this helps to find a solution to the problem and to introduce better communication models in the long term.

Our professional property managers also take care of legal cases for just CHF 69 per month and accompany you all the way to the arbitration authorities. You can find more information about our real estate management in the unique Swiss subscription model here.

In addition, both tenants and landlords can obtain support from a competent Swiss association. There are numerous offers here to get advice from like-minded people. The support of a lawyer and going to court should only be used as a last resort. But why do communication problems actually arise between tenants and landlords?

Tenant problems

Tenants generally have a strong position in Switzerland. The law is on their side and protects them from “assaults” and unfair trials. Nevertheless, there are some situations where inadequate communication can make the relationship with the landlord difficult.

From the tenants’ point of view, the following communication problems lead to a relationship crisis with the landlord:

  • Lack of transparencyIf the landlord cannot be contacted, does not provide clear information and does not help in an emergency, this is a major problem for tenants.
  • TerminationA
    Termination by the landlord
    is only permitted in a few cases. Even if the termination is unacceptable, the landlord can make life difficult for you with his attempts.
  • Rent increase: There must also be good reasons for rent increases. An increase without giving reasons often leads to a lack of transparency and tiresome correspondence.
  • Return of the depositOnly under certain conditions may landlords retain the deposit at the end of the tenancy. Landlords are not always aware of this, which is why you sometimes have to chase the security payment.
  • Housing damageDefects in the apartment must be rectified by the landlord in most cases. However, as many landlords try to ask tenants to pay for this, this can lead to conflicts. Remember to always take photos as evidence and keep a detailed handover report.

All of these potential points of conflict can be resolved quite easily if you have a friendly relationship with the landlord and approach them with open and honest communication. However, if you don’t know your landlord at all or are faced with an anonymous company, you will find this difficult. As a tenant, you should therefore take care to clarify your contact person and their availability from the outset and also maintain them.

Dispute between tenants

Disputes can arise not only with the landlord, but also with other tenants. Unfortunately, there are always neighbors who make noise, have loud arguments in the courtyard, play loud music at night, slam the doors, smoke right outside the window, constantly barbecue on the balcony, dispose of garbage incorrectly or even engage in criminal activities.

The stairwell is also a frequent point of conflict between tenants. Read this article about the house rules for stairwells to find out what you can and, more importantly, what you can’t leave there.

In principle, the landlord is responsible for getting the neighbors to comply with the house rules. This is not always possible and some landlords like to avoid this unpleasant duty. This in turn presents tenants with a difficult situation: a friendly conversation with the neighbor as a first step is recommended, but does not always help.

Problems for landlords

Landlords don’t always have it easy either. Especially for Landlord newcomers renting out properties is an overwhelming job that almost always takes more time than expected. In addition, there are constant inquiries from tenants to which you may not always have an answer. Nevertheless, as the landlord, you are the first point of contact who must also deal with the following potential conflicts:

  • Rent arrears:
    If the tenant does not pay
    you directly lose your income. You should therefore follow up any arrears immediately and find out why the tenant is not paying or has reduced the rent.
  • Damage to the apartment: In the event of defects or damage to the rented apartment, you usually have to step in. Disputes often arise when it is unclear whether the tenant is responsible for the defect or not.
  • Dispute over keeping petsSome tenants keep pets, although this is not allowed. Conflicts quickly arise, especially with large, loud or odorous animals.
  • Subletting: Tenants may only sublet the apartment
    if you have expressly permitted this. Otherwise, subletting is one of the few reasons for termination without notice.
  • Operating cost accounting: Particularly often the
    service charges
    conflicts between landlords and tenants. As a landlord, you should therefore inform yourself well about your obligations and your rights with regard to billing.

First aid for relationship crises between landlords and tenants

There are a few tips for both landlords and tenants that can quickly resolve the conflict in terms of “first aid”. First of all, this means not acting out of emotion. Calm down first before seeking contact. This makes it possible to argue objectively and thoughtfully.

Nevertheless, it is important to act as quickly as possible. This applies in particular to acute faults or urgent faults and defects. Both sides should document the communication and the defect well in order to safeguard themselves. A neutral witness can help to avoid a conflict.

Communicate in writing wherever possible to leave a paper trail. In this way, you can protect yourself against any later complaints and can refer to the agreements. This is already important for the rental agreement. In addition to a clarifying discussion, support from the tenants’ association or the homeowners’ association can also help with mediation. In addition, the aforementioned arbitration authorities, lawyers and other mediators are also helpful.

The long-term solution: Hire a professional property management company

To prevent a relationship crisis between landlord and tenant from arising in the first place, it makes sense to involve a professional property management company from the outset. This allows the landlord to devote himself to other things and not always have to be available. Tenants are assigned a contact person who is familiar with all issues relating to the tenancy and who is always ready to listen.

The following advantages and disadvantages result from working with a professional property manager:

Advantages of a real estate manager:

  • Discharge of the owner
  • Experience with all topics relating to the tenancy
  • Direct contact for tenants
  • Responsibility for maintenance and repairs
  • Overview of all finances
  • Tenants and landlords are more satisfied

Disadvantages of a property manager:

  • Administrations are not always transparent when it comes to effort and costs
  • Time spent searching for a good administrator

A good management company should be familiar with your region, make a fair financial offer for property management and have good valuations. As a landlord, take your time to find a suitable agency. Their primary aim should be to satisfy both the tenant and the landlord. Observe in a detailed preliminary discussion whether the provider attaches great importance to this and also demonstrates good communication.

Do you have questions about renting or letting? Or would you like support with tenant matters and are looking for professional property management at fair and transparent prices? We would be happy to provide you with a free consultation – simply contact the Properti team!

All data are without guarantee. The information on these Internet pages has been carefully researched. Nevertheless, no liability can be accepted for the accuracy of the information provided.


More about the author


Properti – we offer simple and understandable real estate expertise. Thanks to our many years of experience and focus on industry trends, we always have our finger on the pulse and can provide our clients with the most important information on real estate.

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