Securing a rental property
You have successfully passed the application process and are now entering the next phase with the real estate agency.
The following explains what you need to know about accepting, reviewing your lease, signing the contract and making the necessary payments to ensure the property is ready for your arrival.
- Review and sign lease
- Obtain third party liability insurance
- Pay rent and deposit
Need to know
- Confirmation or refusal: You will be asked to confirm your acceptance of the lease and terms as already stated in your application. Any questions must be clarified at this time. A withdrawal might make you subject to a penalty/administrative charge, especially if it was stated on the application form
- Following your acceptance (even verbally) the lease will be prepared in your name and you will be obligated to pay administrative charges if you change your mind
- All adult occupants must be listed on and sign the rental contract
How to proceed
Prepare for the handover
- Check details of specific conditions applying to your rental as stated on the first page of the lease, including start date, renewal terms, rental costs and additional charges
- Correct any errors and have all parties initial any changes made in the contract
- Sign the contract
- Withdraw any other pending applications you might have with other agencies to avoid costs
Prepare for the next steps that are required for the handover of the property, namely:
- Pay first month's rent. Options for payment include:
- Bank transfer. Allow time for bank clearance or provide written confirmation of bank order to the real estate agency – include lease references on the order
- Cash payment made by postal giro payment slip provided by the agency
- Set up bank guarantee / security deposit as specified in the lease contract, usually equal to (but not in excess of) 3 months' rent. The two options of payment are:
- Deposit of the money in a separate bank account in your name, which is blocked in favour of the owner/real estate agency. You receive interest on this money but cannot withdraw it until released by the agency upon agreeable termination of the lease. The agency will release the deposit only after the exit inspection, and once all damages (if any) have been paid for. The time frame for the release of the deposit is several months up to maximum one year.
- Alternatively, contract with an agency to guarantee the funds and pay them an annual fee for this service. Contact www.swisscaution.ch for details
- Set up third party liability insurance. This is mandatory in Switzerland. See Step 06b, "Third party liability insurance", for full details
- All the steps described in the previous section, "How to proceed", must be completed before the date when you will take over the property
- The property is generally handed over on the day of the lease start date. However, sometimes a property can already be taken over one or two days prior to the start of the lease
Where to find help
Relocation service providers can help you find permanent accommodation and support you throughout the process.
Using a relocation services provider is particularly recommended if you have little time to invest in the search/ application process, and wish to maximise both time efficiency and chances of a successful housing application.
If you do not already have access to a professional relocation services provider through your employer, Hello Switzerland‘s free Relocation Helpline can offer advice and support:
Swiss Relocation Helpline
- free advice from locals
Is your lease contract fair? How can you avoid pitfalls and costly mistakes? We have the answers!
How much does it cost
The price of accommodation varies greatly depending on location and type of accommodation.
- There is no charge to apply for a property. However, only serious applications should be filed as many applications include a clause committing you to a fixed charge should you turn down an offered lease
- A fee of up to CHF 200 may be charged for establishing the lease contract
- A budget equivalent to 4.5 times the monthly rent of the property should be at your disposal in the last weeks running up to the handover date to cover the first month's rent, the security deposit and other minor expenses. This can be reduced to 1.5 months if you use SwissCaution for the bank guarantee/deposit, however there is a charge for this service. It is recommended to use a bank for your rental deposit account, as the account is free of charge
The cost of a professional lease review by a relocation specialist is normally not more than a few hundred francs. This makes sure you understand the terms and conditions of your lease agreement before you sign it, and helps you avoid potentially costly errors.