Finding accommodation to rent in Switzerland Find a place to rent

Competition for mid-range accommodation in Switzerland is tough. These guidelines will help you stay ahead of the game.

Finding accommodation to rent in Switzerland

Where to look, how to apply, how to avoid pitfalls, and understand the lease contract? Over 95% of Switzerland's rental market is run by real estate agencies who work for the landlords. Most are reliable and professional, but it is advisable to develop insight into the rental property market in Switzerland.


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.


Required documents when applying to rent

  • Passports/IDs of all adult occupants
  • Statement of absence of debt (e.g. Betreibungsauszug (DE), Extrait de l'office de poursuite (FR), estratto del registro delle esecuzioni (IT)) from cantonal website 
  • Work contract and/or confirmation of salary from your employer
  • Work and residence permit
  • Lease request forms (download from the agency's web site or obtain at the agency)


All adult occupants must be listed on and sign the rental contract. This is to protect all parties and guarantees that the lease is not terminated without common consent. All tenants are also to be individually informed if the lessor intends terminating the contract. Once a lease is signed, withdraw any other pending applications to avoid being charged a penalty.


Essential things to do when looking for accommodation

Looking for a property to rent


Tips for viewing and applying to rent:

First impressions count. The agency will filter applications and only forward selected ones. Agencies want reliable tenants who pay on time with gross earnings of around 18-25% of the rent. Quiet and respectable tenants are preferred. 


Applying for a lease

  • Prepare numerous copies of your full rental application file before beginning the search process
  • Complete the lease request form and personally submit it or post it as soon as possible
  • Make sure contact details are clearly provided
  • If viewing the apartment with the exiting tenant, leave them a copy to send to the agent. Ask for the name of the contact person at the agents and send them a copy for double security
  • Follow up a couple of days later, to be sure that your form has been received and is being processed, but remain polite and patient
  • Only apply to one apartment per agency




Reviewing the rental lease

Standard lease terms vary according to canton. Ensure that you understand the cancellation terms of the contract which can amount to up to five years of commitment.


The lease contract is in the canton's official language. Although most of the lease terms are covered by federal and cantonal law, the minimum lengths of leases and cancellation terms can vary. It is possible to be released from a contract if you present at least one candidate who formally applies to take over on a specific date. This is valid throughout Switzerland and will work if your apartment is correctly priced. After the lease is signed, the next steps are preparing for the handover and applying for utilities and telecom/ internet.


Before the handover


For further assistance in making applications or understanding and negotiating rental agreements, Packimpex Destination Services offers personalised, practical and efficient resources.


Vocabulary helper




Record of debt collection


Attestation de non-poursuite

Agency lease request form


Formulaire d'agence











Miete / Mietzins




Author: François Enzler

After more than 10 years’ experience in relocation in Switzerland, François is now heading the Packimpex Academy which provides over 30 different training courses specific to the needs of the relocation industry. His experience of the daily challenges faced by relocation consultants flows directly into the training courses designed and led by the Packimpex Academy.

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