Renting For Members

EXPLAINED: How to solve a dispute with your Swiss landlord

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
EXPLAINED: How to solve a dispute with your Swiss landlord
Handshake might be all you need to solve a conflict. Photo: Pixabay

It goes without saying that — given how hard it is to find good apartments in Switzerland — you don’t want to have a conflict with your landlord. If you can’t totally avoid it, then you should at least know how to solve it constructively.

Looking to move? Find your next rental apartment here.


Generally speaking, and as Switzerland’s longstanding tradition of neutrality demonstrates — the Swiss try to avoid conflicts and confrontations.

That’s a good practice, whether in politics or in day-to-day life, but sometimes disputes do arise.

What should you do when you and the landlord don’t see eye-to eye on matters related to your tenancy?

You may think (though hopefully not seriously) that each of you should take a Swiss army knife and fight it out with cork screws, little scissors, and other gadgets.

But you should know that your relationship with the owner(s) of your accommodation (and theirs with you) is defined by the law, and all conflicts / disagreements must be resolved within the legal framework.

Therefore, the first thing you should do is familiarise yourself with your rights and obligations, so it is important to read all the documents relating to your rental agreement carefully.

If you have any concerns or questions that are not covered in the contract, address them to the landlords or the management company before you sign the lease.


Typical issues that many tenants are not sure about are who is responsible for repairs, night-time restrictions (contrary to what you may have read, you can flush your toilet after 10 pm — unless it sounds like a jackhammer), laundry rules, and other matters.

It is much easier to hash it all out before you sign the contract, than having to deal with pesky situations afterwards.

What are your options if a conflict does arise during your tenancy?

There are several solutions available — none of which involve insults, threats, or even Swiss army knves:

Be nice

The first, and no doubt the preferable way, is to reach an amicable agreement. That will make it easier for you to continue living peacefully in your apartment, which is not always the case if there are lingering and unresolved hostilities between you and the landlord.

If you know the owner of your accommodation personally, you could set up an appointment to meet over a glass of local wine to discuss the problem face-to-face.

If you usually deal with a management company (as most tenants in Switzerland do), write them a polite letter outlining your grievances, and send it by registered mail.

Next step: conciliation

If you are unable to reach resolution the nice way, either of you can seek resolution from the cantonal arbitration board.

Each canton has a conciliation authority that mediates in disputes between tenants and landlords. You can find one in your region here

Be aware, however, that this process could be time-consuming, and, as any legal procedure, requires a lot of documents and other paperwork.


Is there anyone to help you in a dispute with your landlord? 

There are tenants associations throughout Switzerland, and if you become a member, they can be useful in helping you settle any conflicts and generally will advocate for you (provided you have a just cause, of course).

These groups are divided according to linguistic regions, which means you can easily find one in your area:

Swiss German part 
Swiss French 
Swiss Italian 



Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also