If you are interested in an accommodation you will need to visit.

The process differs from one real estate agent to another. Some will send a person to visit the place with you. Some will ask you to arrange a visit with the caretakeror the actual tenant. Others will ask you to pick up the keys and will let you visit the place on your own.

Following the visit, if you are still interested by the accommodation, you will have to submit your application to the lessor.

For more information you can consult the leaflet
"Looking for accommodation" 
edited by USPI Genève

the application must include the following

  • Registration form giving your personal information
  • Certificat de salaire (salary certificate or the last three salary slips). You will get these from your employer.
  • Copy of a valid ID (passport, ID card, legitimation card, driver's permit).

Now that you have the accommodation...

You will have to sign the lease agreement (bail à loyer), pay a rent guarantee or blocked bank deposit, and have an état des lieux (moving-in inspection).

  • Le bail à loyer (lease agreement)  is a very important document, since it ties you to the landlord for a relatively long period. You should therefore understand all its terms, particularly those concerning cancellation or the contract. You can order a copy of the lease contract and general conditions (only in French) for houses, apartments and commercial premises on the CGI Conseils web site.

Since 2001, a diplomatic clause has been inserted systematically in leases in Geneva for those holding a legitimation card. In Vaud, you must request such a clause in the lease.

The CAGI housing service will gladly look over your lease, if you wish.

  • Rent guarantee or bank deposit: the landlord is entitled to require a financial guarantee from the tenant.
    More here...  
  • Move-in inspection: this establishes the general state of the accomodation with the landlord.
     More here...

If needed you can find more information on the
cancellation of leases on the website The Swiss Portal



Office fédéral du logement OFL
Conseils et astuces
Logement et santé
Brochure "Le logement en Suisse" en 16 langues
Le Portail Suisse(FR-EN-DE-IT)


Applying for a particular accommodation does not mean that you will get it ! Some real estate agents ask for an administrative fee when applying. This will not be given back if you finally decide not to take the accommodation.