New reference rate – will my rent automatically be lower?

If the reference rate decreases, you can claim a decrease in your rent. Here, we explain what you must consider.

The answer in detail

Answers regarding a change in the reference rate

First of all: The reference interest rate is the average interest rate of all mortgages in Switzerland. Your rent is based on the reference rate, provided you have not agreed otherwise in your rental agreement. If the reference rate decreases, you are entitled to a decrease in your rent (but not in ancillary costs). 

The reference rate decreased, but your landlord has not responded?

Here, we answer questions regarding your right to a decrease in rent and explain what steps you must take. 

Landlords are not obligated to reduce rent of their own accord. For this, you must submit an application. To find out if you are entitled to a decrease, we advise the following: 

  • Review your rental agreement, find the listed reference rate, and compare it with the current reference rate. (On February 16, 2021, the reference rate was 1.25%.) If the reference rate defined in the latest amended version of the contract is higher than the current rate: You can submit an application for rent reduction to your landlord. Our template can help.
  • The decrease is possible in compliance with the notice period from the next termination date. 
  • The landlord can offset the reduction against rising costs and inflation (change in the country index). Entitlement to a reduction in rent is thus lower than the effective decrease in the reference rate. The Swiss Tenants’ Association has a calculator on its website which you can use to calculate the reduction. 
  • Send your application for a rent reduction to your landlord as a registered letter. Request a statement within 30 days. 
  • Wait for your landlord’s response.
  • Depending on their response, additional steps can be considered. Obtain advice on the matter in good time. You can appeal an unjustified rejection of your application to the arbitration office. The deadline for this is 30 days after receipt of the rejection.

If your landlord does not respond, the deadline is a maximum of 60 days after you sent your application. The application can be submitted at any time. However, it takes effect only after the next termination date in compliance with the termination periods. 

Important documents
Sample letter request rent reduction