Paying your rent seems like a no-brainer. And yet, what should be a priority for tenants is not always so. Defaults can occur, which impact the landlord’s income. The “litigation” department of the management company will then engage in dialogue with the tenants while looking after the interests of the landlord. The latter will thus avoid exposing himself to worries, particularly legal, and lose money sometimes considerable.
As part of the management mandates entrusted to it, Comptoir Immobilier offers a complete “litigation” service. This integrates all debt collection procedures. Its mission is to defend the interests of the owner and to advise him on the legal means of action available. However, through dialogue and negotiation with tenants, many situations find a favorable outcome without having to resort to legal action.
Unless otherwise agreed, rent is payable monthly and in advance, i.e. it must be paid by the beginning of the following month. Following a first reminder without response, the tenant receives a formal notice by registered letter, with a deadline of 30 days. The agency – which represents the landlord – must specify in this letter the amount of the debt claimed, its due date and the deadline granted. It will also contain the warning that if payment is not made within the time limit, the lease will be terminated early.
If on the expiry of the stipulated period, the tenant has not paid the entire arrears of rent, the lessor shall have the right to terminate the lease agreement, subject to a 30-day notice for the end of a month. Otherwise, where the tenant has paid the outstanding amount within the comminatory period, early termination for non-payment is excluded. Where the tenant persists in non-payment, the management will send a notice of termination of the lease.
Simultaneously, the collection procedures are initiated. At the end of these, a requisition for prosecution (seizure) can be made or if not, a certificate of default is issued. The legal department also deals with any other proceedings, such as requisitioning of inventories (furniture and objects), particularly for commercial premises and co-ownerships. This step gives a right of retention to the landlord.
In most cases, the situation is resolved at this stage of the procedure. However, if the tenant does not leave the apartment after the lease ends, it will be necessary to resort to evacuating the tenant by taking the matter to the appropriate courts.
It is important to follow certain conditions to ensure that the steps taken are in accordance with the law. In particular, it will be necessary to find out the marital status of the tenant. Indeed, if the latter is married, the notice of termination, as well as the official letter of termination of the lease, must be sent in separate envelopes to each of the spouses. The same applies when several tenants share the apartment: the letters are to be sent to each of them, separately.
The staff of the “litigation” department play a role of support and advice: what can or is the owner allowed to do? Mediations – tenant-landlord – aim to find amicable settlements. Some solutions, such as payment instalments, can be put in place, sometimes requiring the support of the relevant social services. The management team must demonstrate a human touch, while remaining firm on the tenant’s obligations. The “litigation” department keeps the landlord informed of all stages of the ongoing procedure, through regular reports.
The “contentious” files relating to housing or commercial surfaces (Geneva, Vaud, Valais) are handled within the same IC department. The latter is also responsible for monitoring payments relating to co-ownership charges. The team has in-depth legal knowledge that is regularly updated in accordance with current practices and procedures. Financial and administrative skills are also required. Staff members are required to attend hearings at the Tribunal des baux et loyers and the Commission de conciliation en matière de baux et loyers (TBL-CCBL); thus representing and defending the interests of the owners. A complex set of tasks that a private individual would find difficult to accomplish.