I know I've already been harping on about the downsides of Switzerland but dear GOODNESS there's SO. much. MORE! Seriously this place, their ways, their rules and laws or whatever they want to call them. I've just emailed a friend and mentioned some of what is to follow and I thought to myself, there's a post in here. Somewhere. I think. And here it is.

We live in a really lovely apartment. It is a new build, all brand spanking new. All modern and sparkly. We chose a ground floor apartment so that we could have a garden for Joseph and Carys. When I was looking around with the Regie {Estate Agent}, I mentioned my concern about the open plan garden and in particular the seven foot drop from the garden into the drive way. Y'know with toddlers, that could be tricky. He told me he'd chat with the owner and get back to me.

He got back to me. The landlord accepts that it is his responsibity to put a fence on the side of the garden that goes onto the road and is willing to do so. He is not willing to divide the garden between neighbours nor put fencing along the side of the garden but will allow you to put a fence up {where the seven foot drop is} after he approves the materials you will use. Typical Swiss. I thought it was ridiculous but the apartment ticked so many boxes we decided we'd lump it and put a fence up ourselves.

We moved in January and in March the workers showed up. Working. Working on a fence. They started along the side of the garden with the seven foot drop into the driveway. I thought, 'Oooooh, they've realised they were wrong. They've realised that a seven foot drop into the driveway should be fenced off. They've realised it is their responsibility to protect their tenants. Gosh, they're doing a good job... this fence is sturdy. This fence is concreted into the stonework.'

Cut to three months later. A letter arrives. We translate it. The Regie requests a 'contribution' towards the fence. A contribution. Five francs? Thirty francs? How much of a contribution are they hoping for?

We replied. We are unsure what sort of contribution is expected. At no stage was this option ever presented to us. At no stage was it ever suggested that you would put a fence up and request assistance with the financing. The fence is a permanent fixture at a rented property. The fence adds value to the property. The fence belongs to the landlord. We're not willing to contribute. Yours faithfully...

Some time passed. Another letter arrived. It has a pink slip. That's a bill. It's a bill for CHF3000. We translate the letter. The landlord is willing to give you half of the fence as a gift. The other half is billed to you. CHF3000. Half a fence to the tune of CHF3000. That's £2064.75. Erm no. I don't think so.

We replied. No, no. How kind of the landlord to give us half of his fence. Truly, we're touched. How and ever. We will not be paying CHF3000 for half a flippin' fence. We did not agree, verbally or in writing, to a fence being put up. We were prepared to erect our own fence. A temporary fence. One that we could remove and take with us at the time of our departure from the property. We did not agree, either verbally or in writing to paying for or contributing to a fence, a permanent feature, at our rented property. {We weren't quite so facetious but that was the general gist}

And so this has continued... every so often we get another letter with a pink slip and a threat to take us to court. Each time they add a penalty charge for late payment. Each time we reply, enclosing all the previous correspondence. We are not paying for this fence. We are happy to take this to a courtroom. Thankfully we had a bit of assistance with our last reply. Our neighbour has an architect friend who was able to help us out with some official speak and professional insight. A drop higher than two foot requires a fence. We await a response.

These Regies are renowned for being a hateful bunch. They can pick and chose tenants because the demand for property is so high. You literally have to apply to live at a property and they choose you. A very different story to the UK where landlords are just happy to get the rent in. These guys will sting you at every chance they can get. The deposits are huge (CHF11,000 in our case) so moving out of a rental is possibly one of the most stressful things to do. Stressing will we get our money back? They scrutinise every corner of the property. I get it. I appreciate they don't want their properties vandalised. We are landlords. We have a flat in London that is rented out and I'd like to think that it was being respected and well looked after by our tenants. But these guys are ruthless. I mean, c'mon.... we're paying our way here, live and let live!

When it comes to doing their job, we don't see much getting done. Let me tell you this friends. Our rent is CHF3900. That is a lot of money. That is £2685 per month. I know, right!? We haven't had hot water on weekends for over a year. It's sometimes warm but not nice to have a shower in. Not hot enough to wash oven dishes after a Sunday roast. No. Hot. Water. Every weekend for over a YEAR!? That is wholly unacceptable. Our building has five properties and we all experience this issue. We have all complained. Nothing.

Our lawn is a mess, we have a robotic lawnmower that comes out every night but isn't working. Our concierge cut the grass a fortnight ago and the grass was everywhere. All over the kids bikes and scooters, all caught up in the shutters. It just sprayed over everything and the bugger didn't clear it up.

The communal tumble dryer isn't working. It ought to have the filter cleaned by the concierge but the only person who seems to be cleaning it is me.

Have they responded to me? Have they heck!?

The fastest response we have had from our Regie was when we handed in our notice. Alex had emailed them the body of the letter with the letter attached and noted that he had posted it. They replied within TEN minutes 'you need to send the letter by recorded deliver'. EFFIN' JOBSWORTH!

If you've got this far, you're a saint. I hope you don't have much on today.

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