Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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As soon as you know the termination date. First, advertise the housing offer on the housing platform of the International Geneva Welcome Centre (CAGI). You should also ask the “régie” (real estate agency) to advertise the offer on its website, as doing so is also in its interest. However, you will have to organize any showings of the place. To increase your chances, you can place an ad on a specialized website. And be sure to share the information with colleagues, friends and neighbours – word of mouth can be very effective.

do I go about finding housing? Sign up with the housing platform of the International Geneva Welcome Centre (CAGI) to receive housing offers that you would not necessarily find elsewhere and also to receive offers from the portal: Request email notifications from the website for offers posted on most real estate platforms. Word of mouth also works! Your acquaintances can be a good source of information.

You can ask the lessor if they will accept a “caution” (a type of rent guarantee not requiring a deposit). Be aware that most companies offering “caution”-type guarantees will not work with you if you have a “carte de légitimation”.

Yes, you may decline the offer when you get the call that your application has been accepted. That way, you will avoid any fees.

The “diplomatic clause” is (in principle) part of the general conditions applicable in Canton of Geneva. It involves paying an indemnity for early termination of the lease of up to 3 months’ rent after the keys are returned to the lessor. The inclusion of a “liberatory clause”, which must be requested before the lease is signed, allows the lessee to terminate their lease without penalty as from the second year, so long as a three-month notice period is observed (the language of the clause and the specific terms and conditions may vary).

“Standard” leases: these have an initial term of one year and are renewable on a yearly basis thereafter, unless notice is given at least three months before the (annual) expiry date.

Multi-year leases: these often provide for a three-year term (never less); the rent for the initial period of the lease is fixed in advance. The rules for renewal and termination are usually the same as for standard, one-year leases.

Indexed leases: these have a term of at least five years, and the rent may be adjusted in accordance with the Swiss Consumer Price Index (ISPC) once a year. After an initial term of at least five years, such leases may be renewed for another five years every five years, or for one further year on a yearly basis (depending on the régie or real estate agency), unless notice is given at least three months before the (yearly or five-yearly) expiry date.

Fixed-term lease: often for a period of one year, but can be longer. There is no need to formally terminate the lease on the expiry date, as the end date is known from the start. It is possible to request an extension; however, that request may or may not be accepted by the lessor

Reminder: regardless of the type of lease, it is always possible to terminate a lease early by presenting a solvent buyer tenant; more information.

Your application must include the following documents:
1. the agency’s application form, 2. a copy of your I.D., 3. a copy of your permanent residence permit (“C” permit) or carte de légitimation, 4. a statement certifying your salary or a copy of your last three monthly payslips, and a statement (“attestation de non poursuite”) issued by the Debt Collection and Bankruptcy Office (Office des poursuites et faillites).

Ideally, as soon as you know the desired termination date, but at least three or four business days before the 15th or end of the month preceding the termination notice date.

Founded by the Swiss Confederation and the Republic and Canton of Geneva, the International Geneva Welcome Centre is the single entry point for the support and integration of employees of International Geneva and their families, NGOs and visiting delegates.