Dialogue is often the most efficient way to solve neighbourhood problems. However, when these efforts fail, the law provides protection to the tenant.
According to Art. 257f II CO, the tenant must show due consideration for others who share the building and for neighbours. The tenant must respect the privacy and tranquillity of its neighbours and must refrain from undue interference. In particular, the tenant must refrain from:
- making noise;
- generating unpleasant odours;
- immoral behaviour;
- insulting his neighbours;
- breaking the building regulation;
The rules governing leases allow the tenant to intervene only towards the landlord. If the latter fails to take appropriate action, the tenant may, depending on the particular circumstances, terminate the lease and/or seek a reduction of the rent, or even claim for damages.
The troublemaker, for his part, faces early termination of the lease by the landlord if, despite written warning from the landlord, the tenant continues to act in breach of his duty of care and consideration, in such a way that continuation of the lease becomes unconscionable for the landlord or other persons sharing the building. The landlord may terminate the lease subject to a 30 days notice ending on the last day of a calendar month (Art. 257f III CO).
The tenant may also act directly against his neighbour under the general rules governing neighbourly relations in the Swiss Civil Code (Art. 679 and 684 CC, Art. 926 CC).