Extract from the register of prosecutions: why is it essential to rent a property and how to obtain it?

Renting an apartment or house requires having a concrete backrest, especially in Switzerland. Among the documents necessary for the constitution of a rental file there are the identity document, the employment contract, pay slips and the extract from the prosecution register, which is a security measure for the lessor and a decisive criterion. Indeed, the prosecution register document, ensures the lessor on the solvency of the future tenant and their ability to pay rent. So why is the extract from the debt enforcement register essential and how do you get it? We answer in this article! 

What is an extract from the prosecution register? 

In Switzerland, all cantons have an administrative department called the Cantonal Prosecution Office, which is an intermediary between creditors and debtors. This office allows the recording of all payments and provides information on an individual's credit worthiness. The extract from the debt enforcement register will  mention all debt recoveries that have taken place in the past, whether these debts are still being repaid or if they have been settled. At the creditor’s discretion,  a lawsuit may be erased from the debtor's file, so that the certificate is blank. In addition, all possible seizures and acts of default are included in the debt enforcement register extract. 


The Cantonal Public Prosecution Office is empowered to send and notify orders to pay, receive objections and execute seizures. It is this Office that will issue the extract from the register of proceedings that will be requested as part of the signing of a real estate rental contract. 

Why do you need an extract from the prosecution office? 

Real estate rental contracts are rife with files and in Switzerland, before signing a lease and obtaining the keys to your future home, you will have to jump through the hoops to gather many documents. Therefore, take the time to create a reliable, complete and solid file. In addition to the classic information, like your surname, first name, address, telephone number, nationality, marital status, you should include your payslips or employment contract (if you can not provide your last 3 salary slips.) These documents will allow you to justify your level of income, the regularity of your income and especially the fact that you earn three times the amount of rent. The extract from the lawsuit register will assure the landlord that you do not have debts that could prevent you from paying your rent every month, which is the most important objective for you. 


However, if you have outstanding debts, be aware that the landlord will be entitled to refuse to rent his apartment or house to you. On the other hand, if you have no outstanding debt, the extract from the debt collection register will be blank and may be considered as a certificate of non-prosecution. The extract from the debt collection register is therefore an essential document for renting a property in Switzerland.  

How to obtain your extract from the prosecution office? 

If you plan to move and rent an apartment or house, do not wait until the last moment to ask for your extract from the prosecution register. Take the necessary steps before visiting a property for rent with the Prosecution Office.  

An extract usually costs between CHF 17 and CHF 18 depending on the canton, and can only be ordered in writing or in person. You must go to the nearest Public Prosecution Office to obtain your document. You can also apply online, but only if you live in the canton of Geneva. 


If you live in the canton of Geneva, you can order your extract online. Go to the website of the Prosecution Office and click on "Request an extract from the prosecution register" using your e-procedures user account. All you have to do is follow the instructions, enter your personal data, submit your identity card or passport and pay the fee of 17 CFH with your payment card. You will then receive an email confirming receipt of your request and payment. 


You will then receive an email with the reference number of the document, ready to be downloaded within a few days. Also, remember to check your spam and if you do not receive an email after 24 hours then log in again to your e-procedures account. Click on "Download an extract from the prosecution register" with the same user account as the one used during the application. Then enter the reference number received by email to obtain your extract in pdf format. 



To conclude, we advise that you to build your rental file upstream of your apartment or house searches. You will save time and be ready to submit your file directly after seeing the property you loved. It will also show the owner that you are organized, serious in your approach and ready to rent a property. 



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