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If you want to rent out your flat in Geneva, it is important to consider the following points:

Different forms of rental contracts

For subsidised flats located in the development zone and for old renovated flats, rents are controlled by the government for a few years and you must use the pre-printed forms and apply the relevant regulations. For non-subsidised flats, you can draw up the rental agreement yourself or use the agreement form provided by the real estate trade associations.

Setting the rent

The rent must be set in accordance with the tenancy law and regulations. The rent must be reasonable and at least allow you to cover your costs. A rent is considered unreasonable if it provides the landlord with an excessive return or if it results from an excessive purchase price. Rents for subsidised dwellings or flats in the development zone are controlled by the state and cannot be freely set by the landlord, even if they are lower than normal market rents.

Common costs and tenant's costs

The common costs of the condominium are already included in the rent and cannot be passed on to the tenant, e.g. ongoing repairs, ongoing maintenance, building insurance costs, etc. The heating and service charges in the condominium tenancy agreement usually include the costs for heating and hot water and sometimes the cable TV subscription. Most condominium managers keep two separate accounts: one for the costs of the condominium's common expenses and one for the heating and service charge account. If the two accounts are kept separate, it is easier for you to determine the costs to be charged to the tenant. The costs can be included in the rent. You can also calculate a flat rate based on the average heating and service charges for the last three years. If you use one of the two methods, you do not have to prepare an annual statement. The third option is to prepare an annual heating and service charge statement and agree monthly payments on account with the tenant.

Special clauses

Special clauses must be compatible with tenancy law, otherwise they are void.

Preparing the flat

Under tenancy law, the landlord is obliged to hand over the flat in a condition suitable for the purpose of the tenancy. Renovations and repairs may be necessary before the tenant moves in.

Finding a tenant

Finding a tenant takes time. You can take care of it yourself or hire a property management company. Once you have found a potential tenant, it is necessary to check his or her application, especially creditworthiness, before committing to signing a lease. In this regard, I refer you to my article and video on choosing a tenant.

Flat handover protocol

When the tenant moves in, you draw up a handover protocol in the tenant's presence. If you rent a furnished flat, you should add a detailed inventory.

 © Written by Esther Lauber, Real Estate Trustee with Advanced Federal Diploma of Professional Education and Training, real estate agent in Geneva, translated from French to English with DeepL

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