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Litigation is not predictable. When they happen, the management should not only deal with the legal procedure. It should try to find an amicable solution.

Search for an amicable solution

Negotiations during disputes should start as soon as possible and can often lead to satisfactory results. Of course, amicable settlement is not always easy for both parties involved and is only possible if both are willing to find a solution between themselves. Even if a procedure is already underway, discussions can be initiated between the landlord and the tenant.The property manager leads the negotiations between the landlord and the tenant. If an amicable solution is found, he draws up an agreement. This agreement is signed by both parties. He checks a possible repayment plan if the tenant is in arrears with the rent.


In the canton of Geneva, the property manager can be mandated to represent the landlord before the Conciliation Commission for rental leases and before the rental lease tribunal. He must be familiar with the three different types of procedures for disputes relating to tenancy law: the ordinary procedure, the simplified procedure and the summary procedure. The civil procedure is regulated in the Swiss Code of Civil Procedure and its cantonal laws. The property manager prepares the files and provides the necessary evidence and documents. He must do this work even if an owner hires a lawyer. If the property manager represents the owner, he or she must draft the motions and prepare for the hearings.

Late payments

In case of non-payment of rent, the tenant's notice of default and, if necessary, termination are necessary and the property manager starts the prosecution procedure. Sometimes eviction proceedings have to be initiated. If the tenant rents commercial premises or if the debtor is a landlord, the building manager can also exercise the right of retention. In the event of bankruptcy or a composition agreement of the debtor, the supporting documents must be submitted to the Bankruptcy Office or to the relevant commissioner If a debtor is a co-owner, a legal mortgage can be entered in the land register.


Depending on the size and complexity of the dispute, it may be advisable to engage a specialist lawyer. The property manager cannot represent the owner in court proceedings for disputes that do not concern tenancy law.

Other disputes

Disputes may also arise between construction companies and owners if the work is not done properly or to enforce the construction guarantee. Litigation is also possible with neighbours, insurers, beneficiaries of building rights, etc. In all cases, the building manager first tries to negotiate an amicable solution before instructing a lawyer.

Avoiding disputes

Disputes are unpleasant and stressful for all concerned. Try to avoid them. A careful examination of the prospective tenants is absolutely necessary before concluding the lease. The lease and its annexes must be drafted in a correct and precise manner to avoid any misunderstanding. The law and regulations must be respected by all parties. If problems arise, they should be discussed as soon as possible.


 © Written by Esther Lauber, Real Estate Trustee with Advanced Federal Diploma of Professional Education and Training, real estate agent, property broker and manager in Carouge Geneva, translated with (free version), in case of doubt, the French or Germain version should apply