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Tenancy law

Tenancy law is governed by the eighth section of the Swiss Code of Obligations. It is subdivided into three chapters:

I. General provisions

Articles 253 to 268b concern all leases relating to movable assets and real property

II. Protection against unfair rents or other unfair claims by landlords in respect of residential and commercial leases

Articles 269 to 270e

III. Protection against termination of residential and commercial leases

Articles 271 to 273c

Order concerning leases and agricultural leases in respect of residential and commercial premises

The 27 articles of this order supplement tenancy law and govern the following, among other things:

  • Incidental expenses and heating costs and itemised statements
  • Setting and adjustment of rents
  • Changes to leases
  • Authorities and conciliation

Framework contract applicable to French-speaking Switzerland: The declaration of general binding force of the joint provisions of the French-speaking part of Switzerland's framework contract for leases lapsed on the expiry of the deadline of 30 June 2020

The jointly-agreed clauses were declared compulsory for French-speaking Switzerland by the Federal Council and cannot be altered or removed. They govern the following, among other things:

  • Payment of rent
  • Deposits
  • Property status assessment
  • Defects in properties
  • Inspections and visits
  • Works
  • Insurance
  • Subletting
  • Return of properties
  • Family homes

General Law on housing and the protection of tenants of 4 December 1977 (LGL)

The LGL is a Genevan law which concerns properties for which rents are subsidised by the state and properties which are subject to the General Law on Development Areas. Rents are set by the Cantonal Housing Office.

Various laws concerning leases and property management

Civil Code (CC)

  • Rights of individuals
  • Civil status
  • Legal entities, associations, foundations
  • Family law, separation, divorce, marital property systems
  • Representation of persons who lack legal capacity
  • Succession
  • Rights in rem
  • Ownership
  • Land ownership and condominium ownership
  • Easements and land charges
  • Real and movable securities
  • The Land Register

Code of Obligations (CO)

  • Creation of obligations
  • Effect of obligations
  • Termination of obligations
  • Terms of obligations
  • Assignment of debts and debt assumption
  • The different types of contracts (e.g. sale, loan, employment, agency, guarantee, etc.)
  • Commercial companies and cooperatives
  • The Trade Register, company names and commercial accounting

Federal Law on debt enforcement and bankruptcy

  • General provisions and organisation
  • Debt enforcement
  • Orders to pay and objections
  • Continuation of enforcement
  • Enforcement through the realisation of securities
  • Enforcement through seizure
  • Enforcement through bankruptcy
  • Realisation
  • Special provisions concerning rents and leases
  • Composition proceedings

Code of Civil Procedure

  • Jurisdiction of courts
  • Procedural principles and admissibility requirements
  • Conduct of proceedings, procedural steps and time-limits
  • Conciliation
  • Ordinary proceedings
  • Simplified proceedings
  • Remedies

The above list is not exhaustive. Property managers must also consult other legislation.

© Esther Lauber, Real Estate Trustee with Advanced Federal Diploma of Professional Education and Training, real estate manager

 

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