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Property in Switzerland: A weekly roundup of the latest news and updates

Helena Bachmann in Geneva
Helena Bachmann in Geneva - [email protected] • 9 Sep, 2021 Updated Thu 9 Sep 2021 10:25 CEST
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A picture taken on May 14, 2020 shows two chalet at the Alpine village of Gspon. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

Stay up-to-date on the latest Swiss property news with The Local's weekly roundup.


Increasing rents anger tenants

Rent prices in Switzerland keep rising, with the latest increase of 0.4 percent reported at the end of August.

Rising rents “represent a disproportionate part of a household income”, according to Swiss Tenants' Association.

“Many people have suffered a decline in income during the pandemic and rent is becoming even more burdensome ", the association said, urging landlords to keep prices in check.


New trend in housing: rural regions are more in demand

The increased demand for large apartments away from city centres can be attributed, at least partly, to the pandemic: more people work from home and commute less often to the office.

This is especially the case in Zurich, where there are more apartment vacancies in the city than in the countryside.

However, it is too early to know whether this shift from urban to rural dwellings is sustainable. This can be conclusively assessed only in a few years, according to Zurich’s Statistical Office.

Referendum for easier access to social housing in Geneva

A referendum was just launched in Geneva against the tightening of the criteria for obtaining low-rent housing.

In June, the Grand Council changed the eligibility requirement from two to four continuous years of residency in the canton.

Tenants associations are opposing this decision, arguing that these apartments should be attributed on the basis of need rather than duration of residence.

"This law will have perverse effects for those who live outside the canton and who want to settle in Geneva”, said Carole-Anne Kast, spokesperson for Geneva’s tenant rights organisation.


Applying for an apartment in Switzerland: this how it’s done

Depending on where you live, finding a flat, and a reasonably priced at that, is not easy. And for each one you find, there are more than likely scores of other applicants.

To save time and improve your chances of being considered, make sure you have all the necessary paperwork:

  • Passports/IDs of all adult occupants. If you are a foreign national, have your work and residence permit as well.
  • Employment contract and confirmation of your salary.
  • Filled out rent request form that is usually available online
  • Proof of good financial standing (Betreibungsauszug / Extrait de l'office de poursuite / Estratto del registro delle esecuzioni )
  • Proof that you don’t have a criminal record (Auszug aus dem Strafregister / Extrait du casier judiciaire / Estratto dal casellario giudiziario).

Did you know?

If you are a tenant in Switzerland, you may be liable for some damages to your apartment.

You will be responsible for anything that fits under the classification of “excessive wear and tear” —  things that happen as the result of an accident or a mishap, like a crack in paint or a cigarette burn in the carpet.

The costs of normal wear and tear, however, are borne by the landlord. 

More information can be found here:

READ MORE: What damage do tenants have to pay for in Switzerland?

Useful links

Looking for a house or an apartment in Switzerland or just want a little more information about the property market, then check out the following links. 

Eight things you need to know before renting in Switzerland

Why do so many Swiss prefer to rent rather than buy their own home?

Where are the hardest parts of Switzerland to find an apartment?

The property roundup is new addition and we’d welcome any feedback or suggestions for areas it should cover. Please email us at [email protected]



Helena Bachmann in Geneva 2021/09/09 10:25

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