Taking over a rental property


Taking over a rental property involves certain obligations and it is important to ensure that you are not held responsible for any prior defects.

The property handover consists of a rigorous assessment of the state of the property at the moment where you become the lease-holder. The real estate agency will complete documents in the local language which result in contractual and maintenance responsibilities for you

To avoid pitfalls and potentially costly mistakes, it is highly recommended to fully understand the handover process and the documents that you will be required to sign following the property assessment. This may mean obtaining the support of a professional who understands the local language and the real estate market


  • Collect all documents required for entrance inspections
  • Check all utilities are connected
  • Report any damages

Need to know

  • The entrance inspection report forms part of the lease contract and documents the condition of the property at handover
  • The handover of the keys will only take place once the following steps have been completed:
    • Lease contract signed by all parties
    • First month's rent paid
    • Security deposit set up and paid
    • Proof of third party (personal) liability insurance 
  • Upon your departure from the property you will only be liable for damages caused by you, not general wear and tear resulting from normal usage of the property
  • Any damage resulting from a lack of maintenance on the tenant's part will be his or her responsibility

How to proceed

  • Make an appointment with the agent/landlord to meet at the property. You will need between 1 and 3 hours depending on the property size
  • Bring a camera, pen and paper and stickers to put your name on the letter-box and door
  • Bring all documents to prove rent payment, lease signature, insurance and security deposit
  • During the inspection be sure to check the following items:
    • Check that defects are clearly listed on the inspection report
    • Take pictures of damages, marks and scratches
    • Identify all keys and check that they all work
    • Check basement storage
    • View reserved parking spaces
    • Open and close blinds
    • Switch on electrical appliances
    • Check light fixtures
    • Check dishwasher filters
    • Look for bathroom ventilation
    • Check the fridge and freezer
    • Look for holes and other damage to the floors, doors and door frames, window frames and wall tiles
    • Check the condition of garden, balconies and terraces, as well as other outdoor areas that are your responsibility
    • Check the general condition of the property for cleanliness, etc.
  • Ask questions to clarify your responsibilities in regards to maintenance of appliances
  • After the inspection, continue to note and report other items of concern to the agency/landlord in writing and, in the event of no reaction on their behalf, by registered mail
  • Ask questions to clarify that all utilities are connected 

Expected timeframe

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.

After the handover you have 10 days to report any defects that were overlooked or omitted on the day of handover in writing with photographs. Depending on the damages (if any), repairs may take several days or sometimes weeks to be completed. Patience is required.

Where to find help

Relocation service providers can help you find permanent
accommodation and support you throughout the process.

Relocation service providers will:

  • help you ensure that the agent/landlord is applying standard Swiss practices in the handover process
  • provide guidance in steps and timelines working up to the handover
  • clarify tenant contractual and maintenance responsibilities during the tenancy
  • accompany you at the property handover and explain the proceedings
  • review the documents provided at the handover to ensure you avoid potentially costly mistake

How can you ensure you aren‘t wrongly held responsible for pre-existing damages?


Let the experts handle it for you

Carole Javet and her team of relocation consultants at Packimpex will secure the home you want anywhere in Switzerland. You can also count on them for support with essential settling in services.



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