Renting in Switzerland: What financial info can my landlord ask for?

A small wooden house on the grass
Can your landlord ask you for personal financial details in Switzerland? Image: Pixabay
Landlords have the right to ensure prospective tenants can afford the rent, although there are certain questions which are off limits. Here's what you need to know.

Anyone wanting to secure a rental property in Switzerland will have to jump through several hoops before they get into their new home. 

Simply finding a flat is difficult enough – particularly in larger cities – as you will need to stand out from an ever-growing crowd to prove you should be the lucky one to move in. 

Renting in Switzerland: The questions your landlord can and cannot ask you

It might sound relatively obvious, but a landlord can only ask for information related to the person’s stay in the flat. 

This is not properly defined, but Switzerland’s Immowelt describes this as “information a landlord needs to actually select a tenant based on objective criteria”. 

Can a landlord ask me about my income? 

Your landlord does not need to receive a copy of your annual earnings, however you can be asked your rough earnings – i.e. a bracket like CHF90,000 to 100,000.

Landlords can also ask for a percentage figure as to how much your rent comes to out of your total earnings.

Landlords will be able to ask for proof of income, but only for the purposes of clarifying the financial circumstances of the tenant.

Generally, landlords will not want your rent to be higher than a third of your earnings, although the ultimate decision rests with the landlord him/herself.

EXPLAINED: The hidden costs of renting in Switzerland

Landlords can also ask for debt certificates from the previous two years from independent agencies which determine an individual’s credit rating.

Landlords can also ask for information about how your previous tenancy ended.

Information on financial information not relevant for the apartment, i.e. contracts and ownership of other properties and anything else not related to a tenant’s capacity to pay the rent.

Can a landlord as for a confirmation of having no debt from a previous landlord (Mietschuldenfreiheitsbescheinigung)?

In Germany and Austria, landlords will often ask for a Mietschuldenfreiheitsbescheinigung – which is the German name of the certificate from a previous landlord which says you don’t owe them any money.

While this is relatively common place elsewhere, in Switzerland the previous landlord is under no obligation to provide this certificate – and a tenant is also under no obligation to show it.

However, as with everything in this list, such a certificate is likely to help convince a landlord that a tenant is trustworthy.

A landlord looking at two identical applications is likely to decide in favour of the tenant who has provided a Mietschuldenfreiheitsbescheinigung rather than the tenant who hasn’t.

If your landlord will not provide you with one – or asks for a large sum of money to get it – you can provide this information to your prospective landlord.

Member comments

Become a Member to leave a comment.Or login here.