Closing and return of the rental deposit

Overview

In 99% of the cases, security deposits are placed on escrow low interest savings accounts. This account is in the name of all tenants and the funds can only be released by the real estate agency or property owner once all matters have been resolved.

Once relieved by the landlord, the tenants will need to instruct the bank to wire-transfer the funds to one of their current accounts and close the deposit account.

 
 
Checklist
 
  • Check with the real estate agency if there is anything stopping them from releasing the full deposit
  • Provide the real estate agency with your bank details so that they can transfer the security deposit to your account of choice
  • File correspondence with the agency and landlord
  • File confirmation of deposit release
  • File your order of transfer of the deposit to current account
  • File any insurance claims

Need to know

In the event of damages for which the tenant would be held responsible, an amortisation will be calculated based on the age of the damaged item (wall, ceiling, door, floor) or when it was last renovated. The landlord has the burden of proof to calculate the age of an item by showing, for example, an invoice from the previous renovation. This means that the tenant is rarely liable for the full cost of the repair.

Should the damage be accidental, the insurance may take part of the financial liability. However, the tenant will remain liable for at least the contractual deductible (excess) stipulated in his/her third party liability policy. In principle, the deductible is owed per damage and not for the whole property.

How to proceed

A security deposit needs to be released at the latest one year after termination of the lease contract.

However, in most cases, if there is no disagreement or no liabilities remaining, it is released within 15 days to 1 month after the exit inspection.

Expected timeframe

Proceed with the exit inspection. Once everything has been finalised, then the real estate agency will provide a signed release form, which you must countersign.

To initiate the release of the rental deposit, present the signed release form to the financial institution where the rental deposit is held.

Where to find help

Relocation service providers can help you prepare for the exit inspection and support you throughout the process.

Relocation service providers will:

  • help you ensure that the real estate agent or owner is applying standard Swiss practices in the pre-exit and exit inspection process
  • provide guidance in steps and timelines working up to the exit inspection
  • clarify tenant contractual and maintenance responsibilities before and during the exit inspection

If you do not already have access to a professional relocation services provider through your employer, Hello Switzerland offers advice and support.
 

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