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Old 11.06.2020, 10:26
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Colleague has asked me to be a guarantor for an apartment

Hi all!

I've been in Switzerland for almost 10 years now, and have been working in a stable, comfortable job throughout. I have a young colleague who joined our team a year or two ago. She grew up in "France voisine" and has been struggling to find an apartment in Lausanne since she was hired. At one point she found a room in an apartment with three male roommates, but it ended badly. She is back at her parent's house in France and commuting to work, while still looking for an apartment here.

She works part time (60%) and has realised that in order to secure an apartment she needs a Swiss guarantor. As her family is in France and her friends in Switzerland are all young, she has asked me to be her guarantor. I've looked into it and am not comfortable with the idea, as I could be on the hook if she doesn't pay. We both have civil service jobs so I know her employment situation is very secure, but personally I don't know her that well. At the same time, I remember how hard it was to settle in Switzerland and want to help her.

So, I was looking for some help with a few questions.
1) Has anyone ever acted as a guarantor in Switzerland? Is there a way to do it without taking any risks?
2) I also work 60% and am not sure that I could even act as a guarantor. She told me she needs a salary 3x the amount of monthly rent in order to secure an apartment. I haven't seen anything stating that the same rule applies to a guarantor, but I definitely don't make enough to cover 3x her rent AND mine. I'd be happy to have this excuse to say no!
3) If I refuse, are there any other options can she pursue? It's been so long since we settled here I can't remember how we did it!

Thank you to anyone who has some advice to share, and have a great day!
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Old 11.06.2020, 10:37
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Re: Colleague has asked me to be a guarantor for an apartment

Normally, yes, landlords look for stable income to be 3x rent, otherwise it's just too risky

Guarantors are usually family members, for instance a parent that guarantees the rent for an adult child, or employers very rarely. As a "friend", it's a difficult position to be a "guarantor", as you are effectively taking on the risk of the contract and you need to have a way to recover the cost if things go wrong. Many things can go wrong - even with all the goodwill in the world, accidents can happen, insurance may not cover everything, people may lose jobs, etc.

Otherwise, usually landlords ask for 3 months stable salary history, if she has a civil service job that pays the 3x rent, and 3 months employment history, she should not need a guarantor. If she doesn't yet have the 3 months, maybe it's just a case of finding temporary accommodation until
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Old 11.06.2020, 10:44
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Re: Colleague has asked me to be a guarantor for an apartment

Tell her to find a room that fits her financials.

I would do it for my best friends and close family if it would still leave me in a comfortable financial situation, but never for a colleague.
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Old 11.06.2020, 10:58
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Re: Colleague has asked me to be a guarantor for an apartment

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Hi all!

I've been in Switzerland for almost 10 years now, and have been working in a stable, comfortable job throughout. I have a young colleague who joined our team a year or two ago. She grew up in "France voisine" and has been struggling to find an apartment in Lausanne since she was hired. At one point she found a room in an apartment with three male roommates, but it ended badly. She is back at her parent's house in France and commuting to work, while still looking for an apartment here.

She works part time (60%) and has realised that in order to secure an apartment she needs a Swiss guarantor. As her family is in France and her friends in Switzerland are all young, she has asked me to be her guarantor. I've looked into it and am not comfortable with the idea, as I could be on the hook if she doesn't pay. We both have civil service jobs so I know her employment situation is very secure, but personally I don't know her that well. At the same time, I remember how hard it was to settle in Switzerland and want to help her.

So, I was looking for some help with a few questions.
1) Has anyone ever acted as a guarantor in Switzerland? Is there a way to do it without taking any risks?
2) I also work 60% and am not sure that I could even act as a guarantor. She told me she needs a salary 3x the amount of monthly rent in order to secure an apartment. I haven't seen anything stating that the same rule applies to a guarantor, but I definitely don't make enough to cover 3x her rent AND mine. I'd be happy to have this excuse to say no!
3) If I refuse, are there any other options can she pursue? It's been so long since we settled here I can't remember how we did it!

Thank you to anyone who has some advice to share, and have a great day!
Why would you agree to this? She is a colleague, not family or even a close friend. It's her responsibility to find something in her budget/means and not fair of her to even ask you. If she defaults on any payments etc then you are liable and why would you explose yourself to that risk? Politely decline.
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Old 11.06.2020, 11:20
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Re: Colleague has asked me to be a guarantor for an apartment

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Hi all!

I've been in Switzerland for almost 10 years now, and have been working in a stable, comfortable job throughout. I have a young colleague who joined our team a year or two ago. She grew up in "France voisine" and has been struggling to find an apartment in Lausanne since she was hired. At one point she found a room in an apartment with three male roommates, but it ended badly. She is back at her parent's house in France and commuting to work, while still looking for an apartment here.

She works part time (60%) and has realised that in order to secure an apartment she needs a Swiss guarantor. As her family is in France and her friends in Switzerland are all young, she has asked me to be her guarantor. I've looked into it and am not comfortable with the idea, as I could be on the hook if she doesn't pay. We both have civil service jobs so I know her employment situation is very secure, but personally I don't know her that well. At the same time, I remember how hard it was to settle in Switzerland and want to help her.

So, I was looking for some help with a few questions.
1) Has anyone ever acted as a guarantor in Switzerland? Is there a way to do it without taking any risks?
2) I also work 60% and am not sure that I could even act as a guarantor. She told me she needs a salary 3x the amount of monthly rent in order to secure an apartment. I haven't seen anything stating that the same rule applies to a guarantor, but I definitely don't make enough to cover 3x her rent AND mine. I'd be happy to have this excuse to say no!
3) If I refuse, are there any other options can she pursue? It's been so long since we settled here I can't remember how we did it!

Thank you to anyone who has some advice to share, and have a great day!
The answers are all in your post.
And it's not "could be on the hook" it's "you will be on the hook".
If there was a way to do it without taking a risk, landlords wouldn't ask for guarantors.
The "rule" for the rent not being higher than a third of the salary is a normal demand by landlords in Switzerland.
She will either have to get a place for 1/3 or her salary or work more (should be easy as she's at only 60% ).

There is a saying "man muss sich nach der Decke strecken" something like to cut one's coat according to one's cloth. She's an adult, it's time for her to enlarge the cloth so it pleases her and not have it provided and by a stranger at that.
Obviously it is possible for her to stay with her parents - although maybe not her dream situation - but it's up to her to make her dreams come true.

Don't feel guilty about this, your answer should simply be "sorry, I'm not in a situation to help you with this". Because you are obviously not.
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Old 11.06.2020, 11:35
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Re: Colleague has asked me to be a guarantor for an apartment

Just don't do it. I've heard of many examples where this went badly wrong.
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Old 11.06.2020, 12:20
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Re: Colleague has asked me to be a guarantor for an apartment

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Why would you agree to this? She is a colleague, not family or even a close friend. It's her responsibility to find something in her budget/means and not fair of her to even ask you. If she defaults on any payments etc then you are liable and why would you explose yourself to that risk? Politely decline.
I have not agreed to it, nor do I want to. I am seeking advice and asked three questions allowing me to respond to her in a kind and helpful way, without taking on an unreasonable risk.
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Old 11.06.2020, 12:28
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Re: Colleague has asked me to be a guarantor for an apartment

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She works part time (60%) and has realised that in order to secure an apartment she needs a Swiss guarantor
As a student I shared a flat for 4 years. It's hard, but I could only afford that


Guarantors need to be Swiss residents with income in Switzerland or abroad. So, family members are excluded. As others explained before, the guarantor is liable for 100% of the rent and damages in case of non-payment. So, if your rent payment and hers is above 30% of your income, well....it's not excuse, it's a fundamental reason to say no.

It is also relevant to question why a guarantor is needed. Young people in Switzerland rent flats by themselves without problems. So, is she able to cover the rent deposit of 2-3 months? Is she resident of Switzerland or France (frontalièr status)?.

I also remember how hard was to settle in CH and several people helped me. But, frontalièrs sometimes want to have their cake and eat it. So, one things is helping newcomers settle in CH and a whole different one is helping them to optimize their taxes. Perhaps knowing a bit more about why a guarantor is needed will help you to get rid of the guilt of saying no.
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Old 11.06.2020, 12:28
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Re: Colleague has asked me to be a guarantor for an apartment

Why doesn´t she ask her parents for the money to pay the Kaution/surety ? Should be put on a separate bank account.
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Old 11.06.2020, 12:31
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Re: Colleague has asked me to be a guarantor for an apartment

1) No. No. Remember that you cannot get out of this commitment unless all involved agree.
2) The 1/3-rule has its merit. Regardless if you are accepted, you personally must be able and willing to finance a second home.
3) Earn more. Work more. Lower expectations and find something cheaper. There are some affordable apartments in Orbe.

Unless it is very close family (children or parents) I would never be the guarantor. Expect that you will have to pay, landlords are not stupid.

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Why doesn´t she ask her parents for the money to pay the Kaution/surety ? Should be put on a separate bank account.
The Kaution/suretycan be be max three rental payments. It takes much longer than that to evict a tenant. A guarantor would be on top of the Kaution/surety which for sure will be set at 3 months.
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Old 11.06.2020, 12:41
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Re: Colleague has asked me to be a guarantor for an apartment

Given her situation (60% contract - you have not said if this is her choice) she should forget about getting an apartment and sign up for this group on Face Book "LAUSANNE à louer - bouche à oreille". There are all sorts of shared apartments in Lausanne advertised with all women or mixed. This way she avoids the previous problem she had.

When her financial situation is "more stable" she can re-visit the apartment idea.

As the others have mentioned, you should not be handing out guarantees for non-family members.
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