Nightlife venues have been shut down in Zurich since the lockdown came into effect in mid-March.
On Tuesday, Gastro City Zurich – the peak body representing clubs and bars in Switzerland’s largest city – told its 3,000 members that they should no longer pay rent from April onwards, unless a mutually agreeable solution could be found with individual landlords.
Urs Pfäffli, President of Gastro City, told Swiss daily 20 Minutes “our members simply cannot pay the rent”.
“In this crisis, it is up to the landlords to offer a hand.”
“As an association, we want to set an example and drive the discussion.”
Pfäffli said that the lockdown has created a situation where the rental properties are no longer fit for purpose, meaning that a complete or a considerable rental deduction is necessary.
Stéphanie Bartholdi, from the House Owners Association of Switzerland – a peak body representing landlords – said that any venue choosing to follow the advice of Gastro City risked eviction.
“It doesn’t make sense to stop paying the rent,” Bartholdi told 20 Minutes. “Otherwise the tenant is risking termination due to late payments.”
Bartholdi said the rent could not be legally avoided as the landlords’ obligations had been complied with.