Lease Contract Formalities
When the régie informs you that you have been selected for a flat, you have little time to accept or refuse it and you must respond immediately. If you are unsure, ask for a deadline. In general, 24 hours is reasonable. Beyond that, the régie may refuse.
Once you have accepted a flat, you have made a commitment. The régie will send you a lease contract or ask you to come and sign it in their offices. Sometimes, the Welcome Center will receive the lease contract for you, and we can send it to you by e-mail.
Once you have accepted a flat/received the lease contract, you must:
- Take out a rental guarantee
- Take out a civil liability insurance
- Sign the lease contract and its appendices
- Pay the first month’s rent and administrative fees.
These steps must be completed before the keys are handed over to you or before you move in.
Taking out a rental guarantee
There are two possible options (and both can be done online):
With a bank:
- Open a rental guarantee account with a bank in Switzerland (not with a bank abroad).
- Pay the amount required by the régie into the account (legal maximum: 3 months’ rent, excluding expenses).
- The bank will issue you with a certificate. You must give it to the régie or ask the bank to do this for you.
The rental guarantee bank account is in your name, but the funds deposited are blocked. Neither you nor the régie has access to these funds.
When you leave the flat, if it has not been damaged and you have no unpaid rent, the régie will release the rental guarantee and you will be able to use it freely. Please note that it may take several weeks to release the funds, even if there is no dispute. The maximum period is 1 year.
The Welcome Center has a list of bank contacts at your disposal. Please do not hesitate to ask us for it.
- Check with the régie to see if an insurance company is accepted.
- Fill in their online form.
- Pay the amount requested.
- The company will issue you with a certificate. You must give it to the régie or ask if the company can do this for you directly.
Insurance companies are a paying service and they therefore charge you for their services. A sum of approximately 5% of the total amount of the rental guarantee must be paid to the company each year. When you leave the flat, this money will not be refunded.
You can switch from one system to another. Often, people use an insurance company to start with and then change to a bank guarantee later.
Taking out a (personal) liability insurance
Liability insurance covers the consequences of damage that you have unintentionally caused to others. It is required for most flat rentals.
- Is either an individual or family insurance,
- Must be valid from the start date of the rental contract,
- The premium is around CHF 50-300 per year, depending on your situation,
- The sum covered is in the millions.
Liability insurance is often offered at the same time as insurance for your personal belongings, known as “home contents insurance”. Insurance for your personal belongings is not compulsory.
“Home contents insurance” generally covers the following risks:
- Fire, natural disasters, water damage, glass breakage
- Theft (ordinary or burglary), robbery and assault.
Cover can be taken out only for the home or extended to cover the exterior of the home.
For more details: comparis.ch.
- Make sure that objects and personal effects are insured for their replacement value as new and not for their current value.
- Damage to items stored in cellars is not always well insured against certain risks (water damage, rats, etc.).
- If you own a bicycle, make sure it is included in the insured inventory, including cover in the event of theft outside the home.
- Beware of fast electric bikes, electric scooters or other new electric vehicles: they may require specific insurance.
- If you live in the canton of Vaud, you must take out compulsory ECA insurance against the risks of fire and natural disasters.
You can take out all these insurance policies online.
The Welcome Center has a list of insurance company contacts at your disposal. Please do not hesitate to ask us for it.
Signing the lease and its appendices
You will need to read and sign the lease contract/agreement and the rent setting notice (green sheet) and return them to the régie. If you are not in Geneva yet, you can sign these documents electronically and send them by e-mail. Once you are in Geneva, you will need to return the originals to the régie as soon as possible.
It is very likely that the following documents will also be on file with the régie:
- General conditions and rental rules and practices (some régies ask you to sign and return a copy): this document details the rules in force.
- Personal liability insurance form (may be replaced by an insurance certificate or a copy of the first page of your insurance policy).
The lease contract, the rent setting notice, any signed general conditions mentioned above, proof of rental guarantee and proof of personal liability insurance must be received by the régie before the keys are handed over to you. If they have not been received, the régie is entitled to not hand over the keys to you.
- Naxoo cable TV network form*: if this network is offered to you, refuse it as this system is now obsolete.
- Letterbox and front door labels*: some operators order these for you. Fill in the order form with the names you would like to appear on your letterbox and your flat door. You will receive the labels with the company’s invoice. (to be completed, dated, signed and returned)
- Your bank and contact details* (to be completed, dated, signed and returned)
- LSV form*: if you agree to have the rent deducted directly from your bank account, complete the first part and ask your bank to complete the second part. (Please note that there are other ways of paying the rent: standing order, e-bill). This option is only available if you have a Swiss bank account.
* These documents can be submitted at a later date.
Paying the first month’s rent and admin fees
You will receive several invoices/payment slips (« bulletins de versement ») in French). You must pay the first month’s rent and the régie’s administrative fees before you move into the flat. At this stage, it is not necessary to pay the second month’s rent straight away.
The QR code and/or payment slip will only work in Switzerland, either with your bank or at a Post Office counter. If you’re abroad, ask the régie to send you its bank details for an international payment and make a bank transfer from your bank abroad.