Communal Areas and Other Topics
Laundry room, bikes and bins
You can find useful information on the websites below:
- A few questions and answers on the use of laundry facilities in buildings (in French only)
- Bike thefts are common in Geneva. We therefore strongly advise you to buy a good lock.
- Ask your régie if there is a bike room in your building.
- Be aware that some régies regularly clear their bike rooms: you may be asked to put your name on your bike, and unidentified bikes are impounded.
- Household waste
- How to sort your trash
- Sorting and recycling household waste
- How to sort your kitchen waste (in French only)
- Waste-related pictogrammes (in French only)
Electrical appliances must be taken to an electrical goods store for disposal.
Other bulky waste (generally furniture) is disposed of on call in Geneva. Some communes organise bulky waste collection once a month.
You can also take your bulky items to a waste collection centre or second-hand shop if they are in good condition.
The radio-television fee is the public service contribution for electronic media. This tax is compulsory for all homes and is equivalent to an annual bill of CHF 335. SERAFE will contact you. It will be informed of your arrival when the OCPM issues your residence/work permit.
For more information, visit https://www.serafe.ch/en.
Works and maintenance of premises
Regarding your duties concerning the maintenance of the accommodation, the “General conditions and rental rules and practices” stipulate the following:
B. Tenant’s obligations
Once in possession of the premises, the tenant is obliged to use them with care and to keep them clean and in good condition. The minor maintenance, cleaning and repair work required for the normal enjoyment of the rented accommodation, for which the Tenant is responsible in accordance with the law, includes the following:
- installing and removing double windows;
- replacing broken or damaged windows;
- maintaining the woodwork and floors (the mechanical sanding of these damage caused by stippling, burns, scratches and major stains are not considered to be normal wear and tear;
- replacing worn tap gaskets, jet breakers, hoses, worn switches, sockets and fuses, light bulbs and fluorescent tubes;
- replacing worn cords and straps on roller shutters and blinds, even if they were already worn when you took possession of the flat;
- folding down roller shutters in case of bad weather;
- greasing locks, hinges and pins on doors, windows and shutters, tent frames, etc;
- maintaining the sanitary installations, stoves, refrigerators, washing machines, sockets, electrical plugs and cords, etc., owned by the landlord;
- unblocking drains, pipes and drains to the communal sewer;
- keeping clean and removing snow or ice from balconies, canopies, verandas and pavements belonging to the rented premises;
- reporting to the lessor any appearance of pests or rodents such as bedbugs, cockroaches, ants, mice, rats. The lessor shall take all steps to exterminate them, at the expense of the tenant at fault if necessary; the tenant may not object to the disinfection of their flat when it is carried out in the general interest of the building;
- having the chimneys and flues swept regularly, in accordance with legal requirements;
- keeping paintwork in a good state of cleanliness; regularly washing and cleaning kitchens, WCs and bathrooms.”
You can contact your régie to help you find a professional and check who is responsible for the work.
For works that are not your responsibility, and for any emergency, you must always notify the régie of the problem in your accommodation as soon as possible.
In the event of an emergency outside office hours and at weekends, you must call the emergency companies (listed on the notice board at the entrance to the building). If the building has a concierge, ask them for help. Please assess the seriousness of the problem because the cost of the work will be higher than normal, as it will be carried out outside normal opening hours.
For work carried out by the régie, it will send you a “work order” with details of the company or companies it has appointed. Depending on the extent of the work, several companies may be asked to provide quotes.
You will need to make an appointment with the company or companies to arrange a meeting so that they can carry out the repairs directly, or prepare one or more quotes and then carry out the repairs.
If you miss an appointment you have made with a company and they are unable to access your flat on the date and time agreed, you will be billed for the company’s travel costs.
For information on authorised work, click on the links below:
- Renovating apartments
- As a tenant, am I entitled to demand renovation?
- Can you install safety work as a tenant?
There are a few rules to follow when it comes to accommodation keys in Geneva:
- When you move into a place, you will be given a certain number of keys. When you leave the place, you must return the exact same number of keys that were given to you.
- It is therefore advisable to leave a spare key with someone you trust (concierge, colleagues, neighbours, etc.). If you have a door that locks automatically and you forget your key whilst outside, you’ll have to call a locksmith. This will cost you several hundred francs. You can find a list of locksmith companies that act quickly on this page (in French only).
- If you wish to add a lock to the door of your accommodation, you will need to obtain permission from the régie. Landing doors are often fireproof and can only be drilled into by a professional to avoid damaging the fire protection.
- Many buildings use secure keys that can only be copied with the permission of the régie/owner. If you lose a secure key, you should immediately notify your régie. If you have contents insurance, it may cover the cost of duplicating your keys in the event of a theft.
The golden rule of good neighbourliness in Geneva is tranquillity, discretion and respect:
- When you arrive, we recommend that you introduce yourself to your neighbours and to the concierge, if there is one.
- Please respect the rest periods between 10 p.m. and 7a.m. and between midday and 1p.m., as well as Sundays and public holidays. For more information, you can download the brochure “Living in Switzerland” on this page in the language of your choice.
In Geneva, “neighbourhood parties” (« fêtes des voisins » in French) are often organised to give residents the chance to share a convivial moment with their neighbours and get to know each other. If you’d like to help out or take part in these events, just take note of the information on the posters in the alleyway of your building.
For more information about neighbourhood parties: