Research process

In order to find accommodation during your stay, the CAGI proposes an housing platform; this is an excellent starting point, as you will receive offers corresponding to your criteria, as well as other exclusive offers.

Our partnership with the Terra Casa Foundation also allows you to benefit from offers intended primarily for internationals.

Before you find your permanent home, you may need temporary accommodation or a sharing or subletting solution.

There are various research tools, including the press, internet platforms and networking.

On Internet :

Group and forum :

Régies :

Newspapers :

  • “Tout l’immobilier” (Mondays),
  • “Immobilier” paper supplement from the Tribune de Genève (Tuesdays),
  • “GHI” (Wednesdays, free newspaper).

Are you interested in accommodation? The procedure varies according to the real estate agencies.

Some will send an employee on site to participate in the visit, others will ask you to organize a visit with the caretaker or the current tenant, still others will ask you to pick up the keys at the agency and let you visit the places independently.

  We also offer personalized support to heads of missions, general managers and deputies of international organizations. Contact us!

All landlords will imperatively ask that you have visited the accommodation before applying.

Are you interested in the accommodation visited? In addition to the duly completed and signed registration form, the following documents must accompany it :

  • copy of valid identity document (identity card or passport),
  • copy of the legitimation card (or employer’s certificate) or residence permit for foreigners,
  • slips of the last 3 months of salary or copy of the employment contract mentioning the income and possibly the amount or percentage of rent paid by the employer,
  • copy of the non-prosecution certificate (necessary even if you have never lived in Geneva before). Consult the information from the “Office cantonal des poursuites” in Geneva to find out more.
Never submit an incomplete file at the risk that it will not be retained. Some managers (representatives of the lessor) require references (friend, colleague or employer).

Good to know

A couple with a child will have a better chance of obtaining a 4-room apartment in Geneva (2 bedrooms) than a single person or a couple without children. Just as too much income can be a handicap for a relatively low rent (an income of CHF 10,000.- for accommodation at CHF 1,200.- for example).

It takes a minimum of 7 days and a maximum of 1 month before receiving the response from the management. After about ten days, it may be legitimate to contact her to find out about the status of your file. It often happens that the agencies leave an accommodation already allocated on their website, this until receipt of the lease contract signed by the selected tenant. All the people whose file has not been retained will not necessarily receive a response, and they are generally not kept.

Do not hesitate to submit several applications simultaneously, but not in the same management. If you have been selected and you answer that you are still interested in the accommodation, you will receive the lease contract for signature. If you withdraw, you will have to pay the administrative costs of establishing the contract. Attention, the conditions are stated on the registration form and can be very different from one establishment to another.

As soon as you have sent or delivered the signed documents to the management , you are irrevocably committed.

Your application has been accepted and you will receive a lease contract for signature.

Contact us before signing the lease!

We can check your contract, because it is important to understand the terms relating to the termination of the contract, including the diplomatic clause, inserted since 2001 in the lease contracts of the canton of Geneva.

Be aware of the notice period. Generally, it is at least 3 months before the expiry (generally annual) of the lease.

If you have to leave before the end of the contract, it is up to you to find a suitable and eligible new tenant. You can also use our housing exchange for this.

The page “Early termination of the lease and exit inventory” provides more information on this subject.

The lessor will set an appointment to carry out the inventory of fixtures. Be very attentive and demand that any anomaly (mark, stain or hole) be clearly indicated on the report. If defects are not found at the time of the incoming inventory, you may be responsible for repair costs at the end of your lease.
If a furnished object is rented, an inventory of the furniture and its condition is also drawn up.

The entry inventory, like the inventory, must be signed jointly by the lessor and the tenant, who receives a copy. They are an integral part of the lease. Defects discovered later must be reported as soon as possible to the lessor by registered letter (in practice within 10 days after the exit inventory).

You will need to bring to this occasion :

  • proof of payment or the amount of the first month’s rent, charges and fees included,
  • the bank guarantee equivalent to three months’ rent. The amount of the guarantee must imperatively remain in your bank account with an establishment in Switzerland. If you do not have the necessary funds on your account, you can request the services of a surety company approved by the lessor. Also contact our partner Helvetia for more information.

You will also be asked to take out civil liability insurance (RC) to cover any damage you may cause to the accommodation, remember to request coverage with the replacement value of sanitary appliances and broken glass. If you take out furniture insurance, which is recommended, to cover your values against fire, water damage or burglary, liability is generally included.

Some practical advice

  • The inventory must be done if possible during the day in empty premises. The presence of a witness can be useful.
  • The tenant may request a copy of the exit inventory from the previous tenant. This will make it possible to check whether work has been undertaken in the meantime or to demonstrate at the end of his own lease that the thing rented was immediately affected by defects for which he is not responsible.
  • The description of the premises must correspond to their condition. All defects are mentioned in a sufficiently precise and detailed manner. The lessor indicates there all the work that he agrees to do.
  • The tenant may not carry out renovations or work, even at his expense, without the written consent of the lessor.

The keys to a successful inventory


Contact us before signing the lease!
We can check your contract, because it is important to understand the terms relating to the termination of the contract, including the diplomatic clause, inserted since 2001 in the lease contracts of the canton of Geneva.

Other useful information for accommodation

Housing platform
Housing primarily for internationals
Housing types
Subletting contract

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.