Moving in Switzerland

10 things to do before moving out of a Swiss apartment

Comments4 comments

Here are some practical tips for moving out of your apartment in Switzerland, from terminating your lease to forwarding your post.

1. Notify the landlord
The notice period required is quite lengthy, generally three months and when you give notice it must be in writing, preferably by registered post. However, landlords may be flexible about the period required if a new tenant is ready to move in or indeed if you live in an area where available properties are scarce.

2. Fix any damage
Check the condition of the property against the Move-in Inspection report and repair any damage or make good any loss to avoid deductions to your security deposit. The level of cleanliness required can be very high so it may be best to have the apartment professionally cleaned. However, if you are doing this make sure you make payment conditional upon a successful handover of the apartment.

It is the landlord’s responsibility to produce a Move-in Inspection report so if one doesn’t exist and there is damage you may find the burden of proof lies with the landlord. The majority of Swiss rent rather than own their properties (70 percent), so the law often favours the tenant rather than the landlord. If you have evidence of the property’s poor condition, such as photographs, this will be taken into consideration in any subsequent arbitration.

3. Move-out Inspection Report
This takes place on the day you are moving out, once the furniture has been removed. It will be written by either the landlord or by the management agent. You should be there when the inspection report is done to avoid any disputes about the state of the premises. Move-out inspection reports are governed by the ‘Code des obligations’, which includes an obligation on the part of the landlord to notify the tenant of any defects for which he is deemed responsible, so you will be made aware of any issues very quickly.

4. Advise the authorities
Contact the commune in your current place of residence. Do this in plenty of time, as you may have to advise them in person. You will also have to tell your new commune but you can wait until after you have moved before you do this. You can find out more from the Residents’ Registration Office.

You may also have to obtain a new residence permit if you are moving to a new canton and you can obtain further information from the Federal Office for Migration. In addition if you have a B permit you will need to inform the Office Cantonal de la Population (OCP).

5. Service providers
Let all utility or service providers know that you are leaving including those supplying: electricity, gas, television, telephone, Internet services, insurance etc. In the case of water, gas and electricity your bill may transfer with you to your new address, if you continue to live in Switzerland. Don’t forget to also advise Billag, the organisation responsible for radio and TV licenses.

6. Re-direct your post
You can opt to forward your mail to your new address by contacting Swiss Post and completing a change of address form. This should be done at least 7 days in advance.

7. Vehicle
As your vehicle registration is linked to your address, you will need to contact the cantonal office for vehicles to change your vehicle registration. This can often be done online, although you will still need to forward the corresponding documents.

Don’t forget you will also have to get your driver’s license changed to your new address, although again, you can do much of this online

8. Keep your bank account open
This will allow you your landlord to forward your deposit (less any deductions for damages). Additionally, keeping your account open will enable any subsequent transactions to be processed, such as refunds from utility providers or tax authorities. Remember though to cancel any standing orders or direct debits.

9. Get your deposit returned
This must not exceed three months rent and should have been lodged by the landlord in a bank account in the tenant’s name. Once both you and the landlord agree the deposit will be returned to you, less any deductions but with the addition of any interest.

10. Return the keys
Don’t forget to give these back, either directly to the landlord or to the management agent. You may be entitled to a day’s statutory leave to help with moving so take advantage of this if you can. Once you have handed the keys back, you’re done!



Expatica Ask the Expert
Find a property in Switzerland using Expatica's housing search.


Expatica Ask the Expert
Need advice? Post your question on Expatica's free Ask the Expert service to see if we can help


Comment here on the article, or if you have a suggestion to improve this article, please click here.

If you believe any of the information on this page is incorrect or out-of-date, please let us know. Expatica makes every effort to ensure its articles are as comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date as possible, but we're also grateful for any help! (If you want to contact Expatica for any other reason, please follow the instructions on this website's contact page.)

Captcha Note: Characters are case sensitive
The details you provide on this page will not be used to send any unsolicited e-mail, and will not be sold to a third party. Privacy policy .

3 Comments To This Article

  • Tiziana posted:

    on 11th April 2018, 13:25:28 - Reply

    We had lived at Park Tower in Zug for three years and moved out recently and relocated to Asia. We have got a cleaning company "PUA AG" to do professional cleaning with "Abgabegarantie" delivery guarantee for us. Unfortunately, it turned out unprofessional and dishonest to us after we have left Switzerland two weeks ago as they did not close the dowel holes and nail hole and even not to arrange services for the dishwasher/washing machine/dryer as they have promised and agreed to do so before we leave. Further, the management company acting for the landlord tried to ask us to pay some "tear & wear" items such as strips on the wall, traces of furniture grinding, filter of steam exhaust, laundry dryer, joints in the bathroom etc. and will send us a final bill before they refund us the security deposit. This is totally ridiculous and unacceptable. As mentioned above, I would like to report this to the authorities, do you have contact of the Residents' Registration Office in Zug ? Thank you.
  • googlemail posted:

    on 4th August 2016, 06:32:35 - Reply

    Fantastic post I like it. Keep it up *

  • Jessica posted:

    on 6th January 2013, 22:52:44 - Reply

    Hey guys,

    I moved recently to Geneva and I found out that the best way to get a decent place at the begining is to take a room in a sharehome for the following reason:

    1) very difficult to find an accomodation in Swiss cities, such as Geneva or Zurich;
    2) expensive flats / houses
    3) best way to meet and socialize with sharemates

    I find my place thanks to a site that is called:
    That's a pretty good one that will help you out finding a nice room at leat for the begniing of your stay in Switzerland. Good luck