Agency not responding for key handover rescheduling

Hi all,

Thank you for your help in advance. I am handing over the apartment in Zurich canton and have done everything by the book. I sent the letter in advance for September handover. The agency responded with a contact number for the handover person. So I did this even form July 2023:

1) I prebooked the professional cleaning with insurance on the 26'th of Sept 2023 and with their presence on site at the handover date on the 29'th of Sept 2023.

2) I prebooked the handover with the contact person from the agency on the 29'th of Sept.

3) I wanted to be extra sure that all goes fine so I prebooked also a help form mieterverband which sent a person on the site on the 29'th of Sept that also spoke english, as I speak german at only A1 level.

All good and nice started at the handover date, we all met there and the inspection started. I haven't seen this in my life to check all small areas with extra light and carefulness and make the cleaning person do more polishing on the spot, but from what the mieterverband person told me it was normal. Anyway, after 45 minutes of inspecting things the agency representative concluded that the cleaning person didn't do a good job in specific areas (dust on top of balcony doors, and storen on the windows needed more extra cleaning and some calcar in the WC). The person from the mieterverband did his own assessment and concluded that indeed cleaning company didn't do a good job so we all noted down the things that would need new cleaning, as I had a guarantee.

We all agreed verbally that the cleaning company would redo the cleaning during the weekend (30 Sep and 1 Oct) and then I inspect the apartment during the weekend and then me and the agency representative will meet again Monday 2'nd of Oct (the mieterverband person would be on holiday starting Monday and it would be too late to book another one).

Things went south when the agency representative didn't want to sign anything (she said she is not allowed to sign) and didn't want to commit to an hour for Monday saying that she will call me on Sunday morning (today) to set an hour for Monday. Even the mieterverband said he never encountered such behavior and eventualy agreed that I will be called on Sunday and then will see when to come on Monday. I also had to get the keys back and now the keys are with me.

Cleaning company finished, I need to go today Sunday to inspect and pay them and get the spare key from them, all good on that front.

The problem is that the agency representative didn't call me back. I sent a SMS, I called but nothing. I understand it's Sunday and it might be problematic so will have to wait until Monday morning.

Now the question: The mieterverband person said that worst case scenario is that they don't have a new tenant already and they might want to trick me into paying Oct rent as well and delaying the key handover. He advised me that if I have no answer by Monday morning I need to go to the agency myself with a key handover paper and request them to sign and take the keys by Monday 12:00 or it is too late after. TBH I don't want to force anybody to sign anything, would not be in any way ok doing this. So I'm looking for an elegant way out.

What should I do? I would prefer to solve this quietly an without hassle, that's why I did all these things and it's not my fault the cleaning company didn't do a good job from the start. I understand maybe I should have double checked what the cleaning company did one day before handover but I put my trust in SWISS quality (it's my first handover and I'm foreigner).

My plan is to wait until Monday morning, try to call the agency person a few more times until then and if not then on Monday morning call mieterverband again for another confirmation that I really need to go in person to the agency and give them the keys.

Any opinions?

You really need to go in person. Go early and make it clear you will not leave the premises until you get what you want/need. They may threaten to call the cops - tell them to do so so that you can explain your story. Bring a friend if you can.

Not easy I understand you prefer no conflict but you are right, you did everything by the book and they are the ones now who did not do as committed. Sorry you have to go through this.

I agree with kri's advice. Follow the instructions that the mieterverband person gave you: "He advised me that if I have no answer by Monday morning I need to go to the agency myself with a key handover paper and request them to sign and take the keys by Monday 12:00 or it is too late after." I urge you to do what he said, because... well... he knows more than you do about the laws of these matters. Go to the agency in person. Be there at the moment the office opens on Monday morning.

Take with you a list of all the names and contact details of all the persons involved, i.e. everyone who was there at the inspection. Write on there that the cleaners fulfilled all the conditions set by the agency representative the agency representative said she would call you on Sunday to set the appointment time for Monday, but that this did not happen the keys are now with you to be handed over.

Also write a receipt: I, _____________ (Name) of _____________ (agency name) confirm that today Monday 2nd October I have received ______________ (number) of keys from ____________ (your name), of the apartment rented from __________ (start date) until 30th September 2023. and ask the person at the agency to date and sign it.

One other thing: they might not take the keys but still insist on a further inspection. In that case, phone the Mieterverband and ask them what you should do, but give the circumstances you might end up having to go without someone from their side. If you can, try to get the cleaners to be present during such a second inspection. But first try to avoid it. If it must happen, say that it has to be completed by the latest 11h45.

I wonder why if the cleaning was the 26th, why have the handover 3 days later?

It is always better to have the handover as close to the cleaning. If recleaning is necessary, the weekend is less than ideal for this.

The point is if a handover is on a Friday, it leaves little time to put things right especially when it is the last working day of the month.

You arranged the hand over for a friday even though the clean was 3 days before... why? So on the last working day of the month the clean wasn't good enough so not ready to hand back, with no time to recover, you now have to reschedule but are into Oct. Which is a new calendar month, so not a trick just bad scheduling on your part, which may generate additional rental cost.

It's not the agencies fault that the apartment wasn't clean enough to take back. Why did you not do arrange the handover for the 26th, and save yourself this hassle?

I've been involved in enough handovers (my own and for clients) over the years to realise that the best way to ensure it goes smoothly is time.

Yeah as you said, you did it many times and learned..... OP will also know for next time.

OP how did it go?

Hi all,

Thanks for all the replies. So in the end I managed to handover the keys and get an ok for the cleaning. But with lots of hassle around:

So as the agency didn't contact me in time until Sunday mid-day, I manage to contact another person from the mieterverband to go with me Monday morning to give the keys directly to the agency.

Then around 20:30 on Sunday evening I get a call from the agency that they will contact me Monday morning to set another day for handover for Tuesday or Wednesday.

I had to cancel the new meeting with the new person from the mieterverband that I had just booked and decided will go with the process and wait for the agency to reschedule and call me.

Then at 23:30 on Sunday again also I get a SMS form the agency that they scheduled the new handover for Monday at 19:30. I happily responded I will be there.

Next day Monday 19:30 -> hassle started again, the same person started to control everything again from the start, the same idea. I had to polish the things again myself on the spot and clean some windows and window blinds extra (I have to mention that all was spotless even before, but i didn't want to argue anymore). In the end the person said cleaning is ok and signed the list of things as pre-agreed from last Friday.

Even though all ended relatively ok, I can't think of why as a renter I had to go through all this trouble like this and there is absolutely no balance of power between agency and renter. I would imagine that an independent party should say when an apartment is clean enough and not the agency only. Anyway, this was my first apartment, I stayed for 5 years there, never again going to rent something like this without proper conditions of handover from the start. I prefer to stay in a serviced apartments from now on if they will not agree on very specific handover conditions form the start. It simply can't be vague conditions.

Thank you all again for the support and also to the mieterverband team who were very supportive even on a Sunday evening.