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Old 29.06.2020, 19:15
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3 year minimum lease period standard for Switzerland?

Hi all - I tried to google this one up, but to no avail.

I have a real estate agent who wants to show me a house this week; however, she specifically mentioned that the contract is for 3 years.
When I told her I can't agree on a 3 year lease term given.. life?
She answered telling me that this is the standard lease term for Switzerland, and that I always have the possibility of subletting (via her!) lucky me...

I see a multitude of issues with this: as I am a newbie I might take a property that is too expensive and then can't find someone as gullible as me to sublet from me. Markets do change, and while supply is low, maybe all of a sudden the UN decides to move out of Geneva and there will be tons of vacancies in the market so I am essentially taking market risk on behalf of the owner.

So question is: am I being lied to by an unscrupulous agent?

On another side note: found the perfect home, told the agent I wanted it on the spot and had my contract, proof of savings, etc... She insisted she wasn't going to present me to the landlord until she had 3 solid offers for the house for the owner to consider!? I miss London already...
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Old 29.06.2020, 19:22
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Re: 3 year minimum lease period standard for Switzerland?

Never heard of 3 years on a contract. We had an initial year on ours when we rented, but then it was a rolling automatic 6 month extension unless we or landlord/agency gave notice (termination notice period was 6 months).

As for the other agency, trying to get the best deal for their client. Will probably tell anyone else interested in it that they've already had an offer for the asking price which they hope will encourage said interested party to up their offer is my guess, even though it's a rental.
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Old 29.06.2020, 19:24
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Re: 3 year minimum lease period standard for Switzerland?

Iíve never been asked to sign up for more than 1 year. There is weird stuff like only certain time of the year that you can leave, 3 months rent as deposit etc, but not 3 year contract.
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Old 29.06.2020, 20:02
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Re: 3 year minimum lease period standard for Switzerland?

They can do what they like, and you don't have to accept it.

Tom
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Old 29.06.2020, 20:06
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Re: 3 year minimum lease period standard for Switzerland?

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They can do what they like, and you don't have to accept it.

Tom
Title of the post "3 year minimum lease period standard for Switzerland?"
Your answer is thus absolutely useless and does not answer the question.
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Old 29.06.2020, 20:12
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Re: 3 year minimum lease period standard for Switzerland?

No it is not the standard, but yes it happens and either you accept it or you walk away.
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Old 29.06.2020, 20:12
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Re: 3 year minimum lease period standard for Switzerland?

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Title of the post "3 year minimum lease period standard for Switzerland?"
Your answer is thus absolutely useless and does not answer the question.
No, the answer is correct. You donīt have to accept it if you do not like it. If the owner wants to let the apartment for a minimum of 3 years, you either accept that or leave it. It is not common though in my experience to ask for 3 years.
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Old 29.06.2020, 20:16
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Re: 3 year minimum lease period standard for Switzerland?

It's standard in my building, I don't know about the rest of the country. Our building manager said the owner wanted more of a community that lasted, and not people moving in and out all the time.
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Old 29.06.2020, 20:24
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Re: 3 year minimum lease period standard for Switzerland?

There is no "standard" minimum leas period.

But if it is for a house 3 years do not sound that out of the ordinary. For apartments 1 year minimum period are pretty normal.

In the end there is always Art. 264 Code of Obligations
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Old 29.06.2020, 20:41
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Re: 3 year minimum lease period standard for Switzerland?

I wouldnít trust an estate agent in Switzerland. They make used car salesmen look good. Honesty is not a term known to them.
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Old 29.06.2020, 21:40
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Re: 3 year minimum lease period standard for Switzerland?

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So question is: am I being lied to by an unscrupulous agent?
Yes
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I miss London already...
Re estate agents in Switzerland... you ain't seen the tip of it yet...
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Old 29.06.2020, 22:23
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Re: 3 year minimum lease period standard for Switzerland?

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I see a multitude of issues with this: as I am a newbie I might take a property that is too expensive and then can't find someone as gullible as me to sublet from me.
Correct, that's a possibility. However, you don't need to sublet via the agent.
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On another side note: found the perfect home, told the agent I wanted it on the spot and had my contract, proof of savings, etc... She insisted she wasn't going to present me to the landlord until she had 3 solid offers for the house for the owner to consider!? I miss London already...
It is useful to limit the duration of your offer. You need to consider the possibility that you're only second-best, and that the agent is waiting for "better" tenants.

That said I would never accept 3yrs minimum. It's anything but standard, and as you say ... "life".

You could up the info on here to see if you're being ripped off, more than one EF member lives in Geneva.
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Old 29.06.2020, 23:10
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Re: 3 year minimum lease period standard for Switzerland?

I have heard of 3-year-long contracts but i wouldn't take one. I know of a family who moved to Zurich and rented a house on a 3 year contract. They wanted to leave before the year was over but couldn't find anyone to take over the lease. Considering how hard it is to find a place in Zurich and most places will have multiple candidates, it was an obvious sign that their place was overpriced.

Even if you leave the country the landlord is unlikely to release you from your contract, so you will have to pay until the end of the contract period.
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Old 29.06.2020, 23:20
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Re: 3 year minimum lease period standard for Switzerland?

Keep looking.
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Old 30.06.2020, 09:02
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Re: 3 year minimum lease period standard for Switzerland?

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Iíve never been asked to sign up for more than 1 year. There is weird stuff like only certain time of the year that you can leave, 3 months rent as deposit etc, but not 3 year contract.
Maybe Seldom but there is. Mine is also 1 year but my friend had a very profitable contract:

5 years contract and the landlord decided to renew after 18 months (flat in front of lake = Burkliplatz).

My friend got 15k to move out
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Old 30.06.2020, 10:23
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Re: 3 year minimum lease period standard for Switzerland?

3 years is not at all a standard contract, but if that's what the owner wants he is entitled to ask for it.

A contact can be for any duration as agreed between landlord and tenant. Short term or long term are all possible.

You could try to agree 3 years, renewable (from both sides) after 18 months for example. He may agree and if you really like the house may be an answer. If not I'm sure you'll find alternatives.
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Old 30.06.2020, 10:41
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Re: 3 year minimum lease period standard for Switzerland?

3 year is usual for commercial properties, or for hard to rent residential ones. For me it is a sign that the property has been vacant for a while and the owner wants to secure income for 3 years.

It would only make sense if the 3 year contract offers a discount over the average prices around, 10 % less? A lower price that properties around indeed helps to sublet, otherwise NO.
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Old 30.06.2020, 10:52
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Re: 3 year minimum lease period standard for Switzerland?

For apartments, 1 year is more common as you have more transients or younger/single people who move more, change jobs, get married. Many people look for houses once they want to settle down with kids.

I would say that a longer lease term is not uncommon for a house. I rented mine out twice now on 5 year contracts as I wanted long term tenants. Those that were not able to commit to 5 years 'because of life' were exactly those I did not want. Churning tenants is an expense and hassle that landlords want to avoid. Ideally, I'd want someone to live there forever.
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Old 30.06.2020, 11:59
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Re: 3 year minimum lease period standard for Switzerland?

In any case it should be a moot point, no?

If you can find people to take over the lease, you should be ok, so the main question then becomes "is it a marketable property?"


In every single apartment I've left, I did it by providing options for the next tenants and not by giving long notice.
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Old 30.06.2020, 12:26
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Re: 3 year minimum lease period standard for Switzerland?

When I was last in that situation the Regie rejected, without giving reasons, of eight of the ten applicants I proposed.

These Bar Stewards would tell callers my flat wasnít available when they were called and specifically asked if they could see it.

Lower than snakesí bellys.
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