Maintaining rental properties
Most lease agreements state that the tenant is responsible basic property maintenance in Switzerland. If there is damage or the property is not well looked after, the tenant is liable for repair costs. The rental contract could be affected. Examples of property maintenance responsibilities, most of which are mentioned in the standard cantonal lease terms, are listed below.
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Property maintenance as defined in rental agreements
In apartments and houses:
- Bathrooms and kitchen must be well ventilated
- Taps should be decalcified
- Rubber joints of electrical appliances should be changed
- Blinds should be kept in working order
- Filters (ventilation, dishwasher, hub) should be kept clean
- Freezers should be emptied and cleaned regularly
- Drains must be unblocked
In houses or freestanding buildings:
- Snow is to be cleared off the roof
- Heating system must be checked and cleaned annually, burner cleaned and boiler decalcified
- Chimney swept
- Pipes and gutters cleaned
- Drains emptied
- Garden to be maintained including: leaves cleared, hedges trimmed, lawn treated once a year, plants and lawn watered, trees trimmed, pool kept clean and in working order
Tenants are obliged to inform the landlord or agency in the event of damage to the property.
Essential tips for property maintenance
- Check with your real estate agency which maintenance and technical services are included in the contract
- Where required, set up maintenance contracts with home maintenance service providers
- Stickers on heating systems etc. have the contact information of the company responsible for maintenance. The agency can also provide a recommendation
- Contact information for the real estate agency and maintenance services should be kept at hand
Wear and tear resulting from normal usage is acceptable, but damage resulting from lack of maintenance or neglect will be the tenant's responsibility. If there is any deterioration, it is the tenant's responsibility to inform the landlord or agent. With regular maintenance, a building will last longer and overall costs and repairs will be cheaper.
In apartments, basic maintenance responsibilities are not very time consuming but in houses they can quickly get out of control. Setting up and managing maintenance contracts can avoid this.
Understanding your maintenance responsibilities
- You pay for maintenance and superficial repairs but not major repairs. Should these be necessary, the maintenance company will invoice the landlord
- In some lease contracts, the landlord chooses maintenance companies
- In some lease contracts, part of the house maintenance (hedge trimming, boiler/burner) is to be undertaken at the landlord's costs. However, it is advisable to remain informed of your responsibilities