7 August 2020, text: Tobias Mani, photo: Unsplash
Angela N., who runs a hairdressing salon, was experiencing real hardship when she called Coop Rechtsschutz for help in late March. The measures imposed by the federal government to combat the COVID-19 pandemic forced her to shut down her hairdressing salon from one day to the next. She was able to apply for a short-time working allowance for her three employees. But how was she supposed to pay her monthly rent of 4,050 francs without any income?
Her landlady was prepared to extend the payment period and presented her with a corresponding agreement. But it also included a clause acknowledging Angela N.’s obligation to pay the rent, which is why Coop Rechtsschutz advised her against signing it. Based on the documents submitted, it became apparent in a personal talk that the rental payment wasn’t the only problem: the entrance to the salon was not adequately protected against the weather.
Coop Rechtsschutz informed Angela N. of her rights. But she wasn’t happy with the idea of having a lawyer represent her interests. After 20 years in the same district, she had built up a broad customer base and didn’t want to risk burning her bridges with her landlady. So, she met with the latter – without a lawyer, but after receiving a thorough briefing from Coop Rechtsschutz.
Angela N. was able to convince her landlady that rapid clarification of the rental payment obligation was crucial to the survival of her business. But the legal situation was extremely unclear and as yet no uniform line from the courts on pandemic-related cases. A decision by the supreme court or a political solution to the problem could be a long time coming – and time was of the essence in the current situation. She also drew her landlady’s attention to the lack of weather protection at the shop entrance.
As the two had enjoyed a conflict-free rental relationship for years, the landlady ultimately saw her way to reducing the rent by 80% during the lockdown period – a very gratifying result outcome for Angela N.
The agreement prepared by Coop Rechtsschutz was signed the next day. The hair salon’s survival was secured and calm restored to the rental relationship between the two parties.