Accommodation

Most people in Switzerland and the canton of Vaud live in rented apartments or individual houses. It is also possible to buy a property.

For more information on finding accommodation, please refer to "Finding accommodation".

For more information on buying land and construction, please refer to "Land and construction".

Rental apartments range from single-room studios to apartments with several rooms, in towns or in smaller places. In the canton of Vaud, the number of rooms stated in an advertisement does not include a kitchen, which is often habitable, or bathroom. A two-room flat, for example, consists of an apartment with a bedroom, living room, bathroom and kitchen. A half-room often indicates a hall or small usable room.

When renting accommodation, you are subject to lease law, which governs the rights and obligations of the tenant and the landlord. The lease agreement always states the premises involved (e.g. 4-room apartment, No.12 on 1st floor), the purpose of the premises (e.g. for habitation only) and any other areas included (cellar, loft, etc.). The duration of the lease is always shown in years, months and/or days, complete with the dates when the agreement comes into force and expires.

The law distinguishes between two principal types of lease:

  • Limited or fixed-term leases: the agreement expires at the end of the period or on the agreed date.
  • Open-ended leases: the agreement only expires when appropriate notice is given by the tenant or landlord. However, the minimum term of a renewable lease may not be less than three months.

The lease is generally concluded for a period of one year. The starting and finishing dates are stated in the agreement. You are committed to the agreement and are expected to pay 12 months' rent. You are usually required to provide a deposit amounting to several months' rent (1 to 3). For more details and advice on how to rent accommodation, see  "Finding accommodation".

  • Renewal and termination

When the agreement expires, the lease is renewed for another year without notification. This renewal is automatic and does not require specific consent.

If, on the other hand, you wish to terminate your lease, you need to send a termination letter to the landlord giving three months notice. Your letter must reach the landlord on the last working day of the month preceding the notice period at the latest. Furthermore, any termination letter needs to be sent by registered post.

  • Premature termination

If you give notice of at least one month to the 15th of the next month or the end of the month before you leave, all you have to do is write a letter to your landlord stating the date of termination and introduce a suitable candidate willing to take up your lease at the terms currently in force and with the agreed expiry date.

Information

In order to identify crisis situations, undersupply and oversupply, facilitate investment in the residential construction sector and provide transparent information, in 2005 the canton of Vaud set up an accommodation portal known as the "observatoire du logement".

In addition, for a modest annual fee the Swiss tenants' association – ASLOCA – can provide tenants with information and assistance in the event of disputes with the landlord.