Rental lease : 8 best practice tips

Although the share of owners is growing, there are still more than half of households in Switzerland that are tenants. To seal the rental agreement between a person and their property, a rental lease is signed. What are these fundamental elements that compose this agreement? 

The rental contract or rental lease is the contract agreement that binds a tenant to the owner or their management company, and by extension, their apartment or house for rent. This document relates to the rented property and contains essential information to guarantee the smooth running of the rental. This contract governs the way in which the owners offer the property for rent and the way in which the tenant pays the amount for the rental, which is more commonly called the rent. The Swiss Civil Code governs the rights and obligations of both parties. A cantonal regulation, specific to the region where you live, can supplement the document. 


In good form 


You don't become a tenant in a snap of your fingers. The lease agreement may orally exist, but is not recommended to rely on this only. Indeed, in Switzerland, the  lease is done in writing and there is even an official form specifically designed for this. The style may vary. 


Best foot forward 


The rental guarantee is the way to show your future landlord or management that you are a good tenant. When it comes to guarantee for a rental apartment, you will have to pay an amount representing a maximum of the equivalent of 3 months' rent. For commercial premises there is no set limit. The choice you have is to opt for the payment of this sum in the form of a bank deposit, or to sign a surety contract with a company such as First Caution. 


Charges included  


If you are currently looking to rent your new nest, you have probably consulted a multitude of property advertisements for rent. In most cases, you are told the rent, with or without charges included. These extra charges relate to heating costs and hot water. It is therefore essential to mention the value of these charges in the lease contract, so that the total amount to be paid is fully detailed. In addition, the management or the owner can invoice you for these charges in the form of a flat rate or installments. In the first case, you agree on an amount with the lessor, which you pay each month, regardless of the actual amount of the charges. In the second case, you are billed a monthly installment and at the end of each year you receive a statement which indicates your exact consumption and therefore whether you have paid too much or too little. 




Subletting is a topic that sparks a lot of uncertainty. This topic should be dealt with in the lease contract and discussed clearly with your management or your landlord. 


Subletting the property that you are renting may be problematic if: 

  • You derive a financial profit from this subletting and, by definition, you ask your “sub-tenant” to pay a rent higher than the sum concluded in the lease contract.


  • The sub-tenant misrepresents the use of the rental. For example, when your sub-tenant intends to open a dog beauty salon in your apartment. This can cause external nuisances both for the neighborhood and for the management.


  • You live elsewhere when subletting.


  • You fail to communicate this information to your agency; either the identity of the sub-tenant, or the conditions of your contract. 

Finally, despite the fact that you are subletting your property, you remain the owner of your own rental and you are fully responsible for it. This is why a transparent discussion with your management or the owner will save many conflicts. 


And the roommate in all this?  


Shared accommodation is a way to share your rent cost and live under the same roof with a roommate. In the case of a flatshare, all tenants have similar rights and obligations and each person signs the lease agreement. 


Pay for your repairs 


In the lease contract, we talk about "minor maintenance". These are repairs that you could do yourself, without the help of a professional. One thinks for example of a shower hose that needs to be descaled. Minor renovations include all amounts up to CHF 150.- Fr. So, there is no need to transform into a mason for the weekend just to save some costs. 😊 


Termination of the rental lease  


Notice periods are extremely important elements of a tenancy agreement. When you cancel your rental, it is essential that you do so in writing and send the notice by registered mail. In Switzerland, there are “cantonal” termination dates which may vary. There are, therefore, no legal rules for terms of a rental termination, but follow good etiquette and refer to the outlined process found in your lease contract. 


What if you cancel prior to the tenancy term? 


This can be done under certain conditions. If you wish to leave your apartment prior to the term in the tenancy agreement, you will have to find an "ideal candidate" to replace your occupation. This new renter should be reliable and inclined to agree to the same conditions of the lease, as you did. This solvency is verified by means of pay slips and also by providing an extract from the prosecution office. In addition, "being inclined" to subscribe to the same conditions as the former tenant means that the new renter is happy to maintain the nature of the rental property as a dwelling.


By going through Properstar, you will benefit from exceptional offers from our partner FirstCaution


Receive information on our partner FirstCaution's flexible rental guarantee.



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