Rental Property in Switzerland: Expert Advice on Contracts, Regulation, and More
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Rental Property in Switzerland: Expert Advice on Contracts, Regulation, and More

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Planning to rent a house or an apartment in Switzerland? Read this first!

Swiss tenancy laws are complicated so you'll want to know all your rights and obligations before jumping in to sign your lease contract. Here are some valuable tips from relocation experts to help you navigate the Swiss housing market with ease.

If you need support finding a home to rent in Switzerland, you can book Home-Finding support from our partner, Packimpex. A relocation expert can apply on your behalf, sky-rocketing your chances to get your dream home in Switzerland.

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The Swiss housing market is competitive

Moving to a new country is stressful, and that's only the tip of the iceberg. Once you arrive in Switzerland, you'll be struck hard by how difficult it is to find a property to rent, especially in the larger cities. And once you do find your dream home, welcome to the complicated Swiss tenancy laws and rental contracts. 

Before you sign your rental agreement, you need to know your rights & obligations

When you find the right property and before signing anything, you need to know your rights and obligations as a tenant to avoid pitfalls and remove any grey areas. If you've never read up on Swiss rental property and how to make sure you get a good deal, now is the time. 

Study your rental agreement carefully. If anything is unclear, get back to your real estate agent and clarify. 

Anyone who is not aware of the laws can inadvertently run into trouble, sometimes with financial consequences which may arise years later once you reach the end of your tenancy.

Have a look at this excellent article on how to handle the actual take over of your apartment

Your main obligation when you take over your apartment is to inform your real estate agency or landlord of any defects, whether you are responsible for them or not. A careful inspection at the handover will save you serious money in the long run, when it's time to hand your property back.

How to Tackle Disagreements with Landlords 

In a perfect world, tenants and landlords are never at odds and everything goes smoothly from the beginning of the lease contract until the dreaded hand over. But we don't live in a perfect world and disagreements happen every once in a while.

You should be transparent with your landlord in order to minimize the number of disagreements. If you report every small accident or damage on time and abide by the lease contract, there will be very few things to disagree on.

When that happens, it's good to know what your legal rights and obligations are. In every canton there are cantonal, regional, or communal conciliation authorities. They provide advice to both tenants and landlords. In case of disputes regarding a rental contract or issues arising during the tenancy, the conciliation authorities attempt to facilitate an amicable settlement.

Terminating Your Lease Contract

Terminating your lease may prove expensive. This is because you must honour the contract until its termination date or continue to pay monthly rent until a new tenant has formally accepted the lease. 

If you are leaving your property earlier than contractually stated, then you will have to find a credit-worthy tenant who formally accepts that they will take over your lease. 

If you are leaving your property within the time stated in the contract, then you will have to inform your Agency or Landlord in a written letter, send by registered post, within the time frame stated in your lease contract. 

Don't forget to check your contracts for utilities and cancel those in due time as well. 

Handing Back a Property at the End of Your Tenancy 

There is a reason why most tenants dread this part. Handing over a rental property in Switzerland has its own complications. Lease contracts typically stipulate that you have to leave the property in the same condition you found it. This means it has to be sparkling clean, with no damages, and with perfectly running equipments.

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How Packimpex can help

Whether you are signing a lease contract and moving to a new property or looking for assistance and support during key handover, our professional team of housing experts at Packimpex can make this transition for you much easier. We have decades of experience with Swiss rental properties, so we know the ins and outs of the market. Why not leverage our expertise instead of spending ages to figure everything out on your own?

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Packimpex assists with every imaginable type of property in Switzerland. From setting up the rental contract and assisting you with translations, through to attending the property handover with the real estate agency or property owner, we cover everything. You can sit back and relax while we do the heavy lifting.

Our housing team is qualified to guide you step by step. We will ensure that you are clear with lease terms and conditions, including cancellation terms. If we are present at the entrance inspection, we will prepare a property protocol with photos (listing all visible damages left from a previous tenant) and liaise with the estate agency to point out and organise repair of any existing damage, noted at the handover or during your initial 10 day move-in period.

You will then be able to enter the tenancy with full awareness of your rights and responsibilities, and you will be protected from any oversights on the part of the estate agent or private owner.

When it comes to disagreements with landlords, we have helped hundreds of expat customers solve their rental property disagreements and we'd happy to help you navigate a similar crisis.

Have a look at our flexible Home-Finding support packages here.

Support when leaving your property

At Packimpex, we will help you to best plan your lease termination and to formulate the lease cancellation letter to the real estate agent or landlord. If necessary, we will help you to find a new tenant through advertising, preparing the apartment for viewing as well as by establishing the application form for your prospective replacement.

In preparation for your departure, we will also assist in cancelling or transferring your utilities and other personal contracts to your new address in a timely manner, ensuring that you are free from any liability from your departure date onward.

Focusing your efforts where it makes the most sense is the key to a successful departure. We will advise you of the exact condition you should be returning the property and what you should consider first when it comes to cleaning based on legal regulations and what has been stipulated in your contract. We offer support and advice on what you can expect with regards to repair costs in order to spare unnecessary energy and avoidable expenses.

Our presence at the exit inspection will help you negotiate any remaining items giving you the peace of mind you need to move on to your future location

Have a look at our flexible Departure Support packages here.


Would you like to find out more about the complex Swiss housing market? What happens after you find a home in Switzerland? How to maintain your Swiss property and why this is so important? Have a look at Everything you need to know about the Swiss housing market