Every country has its own quirks when it comes to moving house, and Switzerland is no different. From the anxiety inspiring handover of the property to the typical 90 day notice period required - with April 1 and October 1 being the "official" dates for giving notice, - Switzerland has its share of unique policies...
We've asked our friends at the Zurich start-up Mila, an online service marketplace, what their top tips were when moving out of a rental apartment in Switzerland. Here is their advice:
Make Sure to Give Notice in the Required Time Frame
By law, tenants must give their landlord 90 days notice that they intend to leave a rental property. In the Zurich area, the official notice dates are April 1 and October 1, while in other regions of Switzerland, the trend is for 11 dates in total: At the end of each month - except for December 31.
If tenants break their contract early, they will either need to find a replacement tenant (subject to the landlord's approval), or continue paying the rent until the notice period expires. Note that a rental agreement must be terminated with a letter sent by registered mail (Einschreiben) and must be signed by all the tenants named on the lease.
Fixing or Repairing any Damages
Before tenants move out, they must ensure that the property is in the same condition as when they first moved in. Any damage to the property must be repaired - this includes patching and painting over nail holes, repairing scratches to wooden floors, and removing any scuff marks from walls.
Tenants are often surprised at what is considered “fair wear and tear” when it comes to moving out. But the rule of thumb is that tenants must ensure simple things like nail holes, the cleanliness of the walls, and anything that was broken has been fixed.
DIY vs. Hiring Professional Movers
Consider whether or not you will need professional movers. In order to find a mover you are comfortable with, it is a good idea to get at least three quotes. In those quotes, we are told to look carefully at what the movers are proposing to do. Are they simply moving the boxes you pack from your old flat to your new one? Or will they also pack for you?
Mila cautioned us to take a close look at quotes that come in much lower than any others. While it may be tempting to go with the cheapest movers, they may not be entirely professional.
Ali Uddin, owner of San Transport moving services on Mila, told us: "Make sure to agree on a fixed price for the move, and to ensure that if they damage anything in the move, they guarantee to either pay for it or fix it."
Consider Calling in Professional Cleaners for "Endreinigung"
The level of cleanliness required of tenants moving out in Switzerland strikes fear in expats and Swiss nationals alike. The proper term for the needed deep clean is Endreinigung.
How clean is clean?
Exit inspections have been compared to forensic examinations of crime scenes, with tenants reportedly spending up to six or eight hours cleaning a three room apartment! What a hassle.
Landlords or property managers have been known to inspect whether taps have been decalcified, the top of the toilet closets has been dusted, and carpets have been shampooed (and not just vacuumed).
The Swiss Association of Tenants strongly recommends that tenants hire a professional cleaning company. Of course, the quality of cleaning firms can vary. Eminel Tito, owner of Eminel Cleaning on Mila, said: "A reputable, profession cleaning company will conduct the Endreinigung for a fixed price with a guarantee on their services. They will agree to be paid only upon a successful handover of the property."
Be Sure to Attend the Exit Inspection
Typically, the "exit inspection" occurs on the day that you move out, once all of your belongings and furniture have been removed. Either the landlord or the manager of the property will arrive equipped with the inspection report from the move in, and will go down the checklist one by one to ensure that everything is clean and undamaged.
You should be present at the time the inspection is done to make sure that no nasty surprises turn up in your absence. You will be required to sign your agreement to the report, which will detail whether you have anything left to clean or fix - and the amount of money they are proposing to take to cover these repairs or clean-ups.
Have you moved from a rental property recently? Let us know your tips in the comments below!
This just in: Spring Promotion
To try out cleaning services, Mila is having a Spring Clean promotion. You can get three hours of cleaning for CHF 50. Bookings can be made until April 30, 2014, and the services must be redeemed by June 30, 2014.
Why not enjoy the Zurich spring and let someone else do the cleaning?
(This is a guest post by mila.com, the Swiss marketplace for local and trusted services; photo credit by Top Cleaners)