Good to know / FAQs
Number of rooms
The number of rooms indicated for an apartment includes the living and dining area and the bedrooms. The kitchen and bathroom are not included. A 3-room apartment therefore comprises 2 bedrooms, 1 living/dining area plus a kitchen and bathroom.
Important: To obtain a residence permit in Bern, you must be able to prove that you are inhabiting in "appropriate" accommodation. This is calculated on the basis of the number of people in the family minus 1. A family of four therefore requires a 3-room apartment. Couples require accommodation with at least 1.5 to 2 rooms!
Inventory (kitchen and washing machine)
For the most part, accommodation in Bern is rented unfurnished. Kitchen fittings are generally present (fridge, oven, cupboard, sink unit).
In an apartment building, several tenants often share a washing machine. Use of the machine is governed by a washing schedule. In modern buildings, apartments often have their own washing machines.
After visiting an apartment, interested parties complete an application or registration form. Various personal details must be entered: age, marital status, employer, salary, residence status, personal liability and household contents insurance. An excerpt from the debt collection register will also be requested. This is a form of proof of whether you are solvent or in debt.
Anyone who has just moved to Switzerland is not registered in the debt collection register. You must explain the situation to the landlord. (Is there a similar authority in your country of origin? Perhaps it could provide you with some form of certification.)
Rental agreement and deposit
Before moving in, you will be required to pay a deposit: This varies between one, two or maximum three months' rent.
Personal liability and household contents insurance
A personal liability and household contents insurance is also advisable for apartments. This can cover damage caused in the rental accommodation. In rental agreements, proof of personal liability insurance is often mandatory!
The house rules often govern rest periods or use of the common areas. Read your rental agreement and the accompanying house rules carefully.
Handover of the apartment and defect report when moving in
When moving in, a handover and defect report is prepared with the landlord. This indicates the precise condition of the apartment upon moving in. Damage caused after your arrival must be reported to the landlord.
You must pay attention to the period of notice indicated in the rental agreement! It is often not permitted to give notice within the first 12 months. Giving notice as of December 31 is also not allowed. Anyone wishing to terminate a rental agreement in advance must propose a suitable replacement tenant.
Final cleaning and handover report when moving out
The apartment must be returned to the landlord in as clean a state as it was found in upon moving in－and that means much more than "broom-clean" or well-swept! If the apartment is not properly cleaned, the subsequent cleaning will be invoiced by the landlord.
Tip: If you can afford it and are willing to, employ a cleaning service. Numerous service providers are specialized in this service segment!
The tenants' association (Bern section) provides information about rights and obligations in a leasing relationship. You must nevertheless be a member to receive special legal advice. Website of the Bernese Mieterinnen- und Mieterverband in German only!
Radio and television in Switzerland are subject to the payment of 1 CHF per day. Find out more on the webpage of Serafe (German, French, Italian, English).
Note: Every household has to pay the fee regardless of which radio and/or television program services (e.g. non Swiss programs) are consumed.
"Living in Switzerland" information sheet
The Federal Office of Housing publishes this information sheet in 16 languages. (see right hand column)Tips for being on good terms with your neighbors (PDF, 1.0 MB) Tips for rubbish (PDF, 300KB)