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Letting a property in Switzerland: a step-by-step guide

Letting your property involves some important decisions about a valuable asset. However, there are still a few stages to the process.Please find below a step-to-step guide for letting your property in Switzerland.

Step 1- Determine if you can rent out your property

If you hold a Swiss passport, you can rent out your property. If you are a foreigner and have a B, C or any other residence permit, please check with a local notary or a qualified real estate agent if this is allowed.

Prior to letting your property, you will need to ensure that you have the appropriate consents from your mortgage provider.

You can obtain detailed information from the Swiss Association of Landlords (Schweizerischer Hauseigentumerverband: HEV Schweiz) on the letting process If you become a member, they will provide you with detailed information regarding the property rental process in Switzerland and also offer legal advice if required.

Step 2 - Choosing a letting agent / property manager

Not many landlords in Switzerland rent out their property privately. They find it easier to work with a local agent who looks for a potential tenant on their behalf and takes care of the day-to-day running of the property. The advantage of using agents is that they are also familiar with all the local laws and regulations so they can advise you best. Please consult the section why use an agent to get a good understanding of an agent's role as well as the agents directory to find a local agent.

Step 3 - Preparing to let your property

To maximise the rental value of a property, there is a lot to do before inviting an agent to assess the correct rental price and starting the viewings. Please consult our tips to prepare your home. First impressions count greatly and help to increase your chances of finding a tenant at the best price.

Step 4 - Valuing your property

If you wish to use an agent to manage your property, please consult our local agents directory. Agents possess extensive knowledge about the local market, and they will be able to show you recent rental properties for comparable properties in your area. However, the Onest website will already give you a good idea regarding the performance of a location/postcode, including median asking prices, prices per m2 as well as number of properties for rent.

Step 5 - Understanding the costs

Before you rent out your property, it is important to understand the costs involved. A tenant pays the rent monthly in advance as well as a 1-3 months deposit (to be held in a bank account in the name of the tenant) before moving in. The tenant will be charged for maintenance & service charges for the building, as well as energy usage. Every year you will have to provide an overview of the breakdown of the costs. If a tenant moves out, you have up to 1 year after his departure to invoice him for outstanding charges. From the monthly rental figure, you will have to deduct letting and property management charges. As to compulsory taxes and local charges, please liaise with an accountant as this will be specific to the property and your personal financial situation.

Step 6 - Contract and notice

There is usually a fixed-term in place, but the landlord does not have the obligation to renew the tenancy agreement. In most cases, the lease becomes indefinite until the moment that you wish to terminate the rental agreement and serve notice. In practice, if a tenant does not wish to move out, eviction can become a lengthy process requiring the legal invention from court.

If a tenant wishes to move out before the expiry date of the lease and he has presented you with a new tenant with the required financial means to take over the lease, in most cases the landlord cannot refuse. If a tenant wishes to sub-let, it is possible, but he requires your permission in writing.

Tenants are protected by the law and compared to many other countries they have many more rights. For instance, landlords can only raise the rent on the basis of well documented arguments. Effectively they would need to demonstrate that the official base mortgage interest rate has increased. If the tenant does not agree to this rent increase, he has 30 days to appeal with the government housing arbitration agency. Tenants wishing to reduce the rent need to follow the same procedure, by showing that the base mortgage rate has been reduced.

Step 7 - Inventory

The tenant is supposed to leave the property in the same condition as when he moved in. Therefore, make sure that there is an accurate inventory report in place as this will be used as a basis for the deposit refund. If in that case there is any damage, the tenant is responsible to pay for repair.

Medair from Onest
Medair from Onest