Switzerland offers relief for those struggling to pay rent

Amid the Covid-19 epidemic in Switzerland, with hundreds of thousands of people partially unemployed, paying rent may become a major burden. But there is relief in sight.

Switzerland offers relief for those struggling to pay rent
Swiss tenants can delay their rent payments. Photo by Photo: FRED DUFOUR / AFP

According to State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), 750,000 people in Switzerland are partially unemployed.

This number translates to about 15 percent of the population, but the figure is even higher in Ticino, where 39 percent are working only part-time.

Since many of these people may not be able to pay their rent on time, the Federal Council has extended the deadline in the event of delayed payment  from 30 to 90 days.

This means that tenants who are late paying their rent due to coronavirus control measures will have 90 days instead of the usual 30 to settle arrears in rent payments due between March 13 and May 31.

READ MORE: UPDATE: What you need to know about the coronavirus crisis in Switzerland 

However, the Swiss Tenants Association (ASLOCA), said the extension may actually backfire because many tenants “will not be able to find the financial resources to settle the arrears without going into heavy debt”. 

The best solution to avoid debts may be “an amicable agreement between the landlord and tenant”, said Cipriano Alvarez, chief lawyer of the Federal Housing Office.

Can you still move during the pandemic?

According to most lease terms in Switzerland, you can only give notice to move  on April 1st, July 1st and October 1st. Which means you have to vacate premises a day before.

March 31st therefore  is an official moving deadline in many Swiss communities and usually means more than 50,000 people move house before the deadline.

The Federal Council said moves are still allowed if proper hygiene and social distance rules are respected. Moving companies and property managers must ensure that they are able to meet these guidelines, the government said.

But the ASLOCA said the decision to allow moves is “incomprehensible and absurd”.

“The health of tenants, especially vulnerable groups and the elderly, will not be adequately protected”, the group pointed out.

READ MORE: Tenant in Switzerland? Here's how to apply for a rent reduction


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Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival cancels concerts of unvaccinated British artists

Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival announced on Friday that it was forced to drop the acts of four UK-based artists from its summer program because they haven’t been fully vaccinated yet.

Switzerland's Montreux Jazz Festival cancels concerts of unvaccinated British artists
British singer-songwriter Rag'n'Bone Man was dropped from Montreux Jazx Festival. Photo: GUILLAUME SOUVANT / AFP

The move was done in order to comply with current Covid-19 entry rules into Switzerland, which state that from June 26th, travellers from outside the Schengen zone, including Brits, will only be allowed to enter Switzerland if they have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from the virus. 

READ ALSO: Switzerland relaxes travel rules for vaccinated Americans and Brits: What you need to know

British soul singer Rag’n’Bone Man who was one of the headliners for the 2021 edition of the festival, which starts on July 2nd, will now no longer be able to attend due to not being fully vaccinated.

Other unvaccinated acts based in the UK who were also dropped because of the new entry rules include Inhaler, Alfa Mist and the Yussef Dayes Trio.

The artists have already been replaced with other performers from around Europe including Italian singer Zucchero, Woodkid, Dutch songwriter Benny Sings and Danish jazz trio Athletic Progression.

In a statement on June 25th, festival organisers said they were trying to make sure that the concerts of the other UK artists would continue to go ahead, however it is tricky because of fears over the Delta strain of the Covid virus, which has now become dominant in Britain.

“Whether or not these artists can come depends on their vaccination status and that of their touring entourage, as well as their ability to quarantine at the start of their European tour or before their concert at Montreux,” they said.

The Montreux Jazz Festival is one of just a small handful of big music festivals in Switzerland that will still go ahead this summer. Other music events such as St Gallen Open-Air, Paléo and Bern’s Gurten festival have been cancelled for the second year in a row, due to ongoing fears over the Covid-19 virus.

READ ALSO: UPDATE: What rules do European countries have for travellers from the UK?