Lease Law: My apartment has a defect that was not known to me when I signed the lease. Can I consign my rent?

You are happy: you have signed your lease agreement and are finally moving into your new home. But suddenly… Oh no! You discover a defect, of which the landlord has not informed you. What do you do now? Can you ask him to solve the problem?

Unknown defects are a frequent problem in tenancy law. Indeed, the tenant can ask the management to repair a defect that appeared during the rental period. This is more complicated if the defect was already present when the lease contract was signed. 

Indeed, if the tenant knew about the defect of the leased property at the signature, this right disappears! The challenge is therefore to prove that you had no way to know about it. 

You will have to prove that the defect is legally valid: if you cannot use an object and/or your property properly, then yes, it is a defect! 

Then collect the evidence: letters, e-mails, testimonials, which show that you were not informed about the defect. Lessors love to challenge, so be prepared!

We advise you to call a lawyer, so that he can help you assess your situation and put the odds in your favor.

Follow the usual procedure for any defect in a rented property:

  1. Send a registered letter to the management, where you inform them of the defect, explaining, with supporting evidence, that it was impossible for you to know of its existence at the signing of the lease. Set a deadline for the defect to be settled and threaten them with consignment.
  2. If your letter remains unanswered, you can fill out a deposit form with the competent cantonal authority. Learn more in this article!
  3. The tenant will have to start a conciliation procedure within 30 days of the deposit of the rent.

 

It is highly likely that the landlord will challenge your knowledge of the defect and take you to court. We advise you to be represented by a specialist lawyer, so that you can win your case. 

Lawrence answers all your questions and assists you in your legal steps!

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