Lease Agreement in Switzerland
Some practical and important aspects in the context of lease
Foreign citizens who intend to reside in Switzerland normally conclude a lease agrement as their first accommodation.
The lease can be for a fixed term (e.g. 6 months), as well as for an indefinite period (it remains in force until either party notifies the other that they wish to terminate it).
The lease does not require a special form or the signature of both parties. However, for obvious reasons it is advisable to draw up a written contract and have it signed by both parties (landlord and tenant).
For lease termination, on the other hand, it is mandatory that the same - if given by the landlord - be communicated through the use of a special form, prepared by Canton Ticino. The tenant, on the other hand, is not obliged to use it.
Often the landlord asks the tenant to provide a "guarantee" to cover claims arising from the lease (rent, damage to the leased property, expenses, etc.). If this guarantee is given by the tenant in money, Article 257e CO applies, which limits the amount of the guarantee to three months' rent. If, however, the parties agree on another type of guarantee (e.g., a bank guarantee), there is no limit to the amount of the guarantee, provided that the amount is still reasonable and there is no manifest disproportion or abuse of the landlord's position of power respectively weakness (or need) of the foreign tenant. If the guarantee is given in money (maximum three monthly payments, as provided for in Art. 257e CO), the landlord is obliged to pay the amount received at a Swiss bank, opening a (deposit) account in the name of the tenant; failure to comply with these formalities has as a consequence for the landlord criminal sanctions (!), according to the applicable law in the Canton of Ticino.
Upon handover of the leased property, it is strongly recommended that the tenant check the leased property in detail and report any defects immediately, to avoid the landlord's assertion at the end of the tenancy that the defects arose after handover (thus are the responsibility of the tenant).
In the event that the tenant discovers defects after delivery (during the tenancy) he must repair at his own cost the minor defects (in principle those with a cost of about CHF 100-200), while he must report the others to the landlord immediately so that the landlord can repair them. Should the landlord fail to repair the defect, the tenant has several rights, including the right to demand a reduction in rent.