In Switzerland, housing owners delegate the management of their buildings to property-management firms. In most cases, it is with these management firms that you will deal. Prepare several files in advance so you can respond quickly when you find a home that suits you.

Look after the presentation of your files, make sure they are complete and legible.

Warning: If you do not live in Switzerland yet or if you have arrived recently, it is highly likely that the authorities will require a guarantor who is resident in Switzerland to co-sign your lease agreement. This guarantor will have to provide copies of his/her residence permit, identity papers, pay slips and a certificate of non-prosecution for unpaid debts.

Link to map of all communes in Geneva and the border area

Beware of scams and fraudulent ads. If in doubt, contact the Welcome Center immediately.



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Placing a housing advert

If you have an apartment that is available (end of lease, rental, sub-rental), please think of your co-workers at our institutions.

You can place a free advert on the housing portal for University staff members.

Placing the housing advert

Place your housing advert by filling in all the fields, in particular the compulsory ones marked with an asterisk (*).

If you wish, you can attach a pdf file, with photos and/or additional information (only one file).

You will receive an email alert when your advert is online, and it is possible the Welcome Center might ring you to check whether the advert is authentic or not.

Your ad will remain on the platform for one month.. You should be aware though that if you aren’t a member of the University of Geneva’s staff, you will not be able to see your ad.

If you also wish to place your ad on the student housing website, please click on the following link: Student housing exchange.


Before sub-letting your housing, you need to ask permission from your property-management firm (‘régie’).

You must also notify the Canton of Geneva’s Office for Population and Migration (OCP) of the arrival and departure of the sub-tenant (form below, in French only).

Form for sub-tenants leaving

Form for sub-tenants arriving

Useful documents:

Standard contract in French-speaking Switzerland (in French only)

Model sub-let contract (available on the  UMS website)

Model inventory and property inspection for furnished accommodation (in English and French)

The University does not to accept any responsibility for the outcome of any dealings you might have with people who reply to your advert.

Logging on to the housing portal

Link to acces the plateforme : logements.welc.ch

If you are a student: Financial Service

Please note that:

The University does not to accept any responsibility for the outcome of any dealings you might have with anyone posting an advert on this site.

The housing is not visited by the University of Geneva and it does not guarantee what is being advertised. You are strongly advised to visit or arrange for someone to visit any properties before entering into a legally binding commitment.

If rent in advance or a security deposit has to be paid, make sure the payment is made through a reputable Swiss bank. Never agree to pay money via a payment system like Western Union.

If you have any doubts about an advert, please alert the Welcome Center immediately by sending an email to: housing@welc.ch.




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Moving in

Before you move in:

1. If you are moving from outside Switzerland, complete form 18.44 and make a list summarizing the household effects moved. You will find form 18.44 and a list template on the following page: Swiss Federal Customs Administration.  

The first page of form 18.44 explains the procedure and lists those documents that need to be presented to the customs office: see point 2 in the Procedures and observations section.


If you are a couple moving in, both parties must sign form 18.44.

If you intend to move other personal effects at some later stage, you must compile a separate list of such effects which will also need to be presented to the customs office.

Although this is not mentioned in form 18.44, the Customs often require your Swiss residence permit or a certificate from the Office for Population and Migration. Please contact the Welcome Center for further information.

- For further information: Swiss Customs Administration

- Please consult the FAQ section

Genevan Association of Removals Firms

Opening hours for customs offices


2. Reserve a parking space for the removals lorry on the road/street (in French only) using traceroute. This will need to be arranged at least one week before the date you move in.

3. Arrange for your electricity and gas supplies to be connected: Services Industriels de Genève (SIG) (page on moving house is in French only, but much of SIG’s site is in English). This will need to be arranged at least three days before you move in.

4. A licence fee is charged for radio and TV. There is no need to register, the Serafe company will invoice you. Please check the invoice carefully as mistakes have been reported. This tax is CHF 335 per year.

5.If you live in the canton of Vaud, you must take out ECA compulsory insurance against the risk of fire and natural disasters.

Property lease


The lease contract will be sent to you or an appointment will be made for you to go to the firm’s offices to sign. You will need to provide:

- A certificate of third-party liability insurance: further information here.


- Cost of having nameplates made for the letter box and the front door

- Deposit for the pre-payment card for use of the laundry room

- Administrative expenses for drawing up the lease agreement

NB: If you refuse to accept a lease agreement, you may still be invoiced for administrative expenses.

Household Insurance and third-party liability

Proof that you have taken out third-party liability insurance cover will be needed when you sign your lease agreement in Geneva.

Click on the following links for an outline of what third-party liability insurance covers:



Third-party liability insurance is often offered together with insurance cover for your personal effects, known as contents insurance.

Please refer to the “contents insurance” paragraph on this page.

Model of Liability insurance : click here


- Fire, damage from natural causes, water damage

- Glass damage (if you are a tenant, you do not need to take out the property glazing cover)

- Theft following a break-in (e.g. locks are forced or a window smashed to gain entry to your apartment)

- Robbery following a mugging (e.g. you are attacked and robbed)

- Ordinary theft or robbery (no mugging or sign of break-in) – cover can be arranged for the home only or be extended to cover outside the home.

You will need to check personal items and effects are insured up to their replacement value as new and not their actual value.

If you own a bike, you need to check it is included on the insured inventory, including to cover for theft of your bike outside the home.

If you live in the canton of Vaud, you must take out ECA compulsory insurance against the risk of fire and natural disasters.

Rent guarantee - Two options

Rent guarantee bank account:

-You can open a rent guarantee account with your bank (see the relevant section on Everyday life ).

-You pay into the account the amount that your property-management firm will ask you to pay. It cannot be more than 3 months’ rent excluding charges.

-The bank will then provide you with a document to be given to the property-management firm.

This rent guarantee bank account is in your name, but the funds deposited are blocked. The money will be unblocked with the express consent of the property-management firm once the lease agreement is terminated. The property-management firm does not have any access to these funds.

A rent guarantee contract drawn up with a specialist company:

-Firstcaution or Swisscaution

-Fill in the form

-Pay the sum requested

-The company will then send you a rent-guarantee certificate or will send it directly to the property-management firm.

A sum corresponding roughly to 5% of the rent guarantee will have to be paid each year to the company. It is an insurance premium. When you leave the apartment, this money will not be reimbursed to you.

Inspection on moving in

This inspection is very important. Make sure you carefully inspect the property with the property-management firm’s employee to document any faults detected in the inspection report.

If, in the first fortnight after moving into your property, you notice any faults, you should notify the property-management firm immediately of these in writing.

You will find in this link a checklist (French only) to prepare for the inspection on leaving. This checklist may help you to prepare for the inspection on moving in.

Waste, noise and co-neighbours, defending your tenant rights, etc.
Extrait du Registre des poursuites (also referred to as Attestation de non poursuite)

The régies require this document. It is a certificate confirming that there is no legal procedure against you for unpaid debt in Switzerland.

Although this document may not seem relevant for someone coming from another country, we would advise you to get it. Please keep in mind that the régies are dealing with many applications. So they will first check if the applications comprise all the required attachments and remove these that they consider uncomplete.

This certificate can be ordered on-line : https://www.ge.ch/poursuites/demander-extrait-du-registre-poursuites .




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Interesting websites

Beware of fake and misleading adverts. If you have any doubts about an advert, please alert the Welcome Center immediately. The University Hospital of Geneva and the University of Geneva have each developed an in-house portal with a housing swap/exchange for their staff. If you have been taken on by HUG, ask a future work-colleague to browse the Intranet for the small ads section. If you have been taken on by the University, but do not yet have your requisite IT access, send an email to housing@welc.ch to apply for a code to access the University’s housing Intranet.
















Firms specializing in letting furnished accommodation
If you are sub-letting, you can find some useful documents here

Model sub-let contract (available, in French only, on the ImmoScout 24 website and ASLOCA website)

Standard contract in French-speaking Switzerland (in French only)

Model inventory and property inspection for furnished accommodation (in English and French) : Welcome Center – Inventory

Model contract for sub-lets and inventory forms (French/English/German) available on the UMS website




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All necessary documentation

As soon as you are interested in a property, contact the property-management firm to arrange to visit it. Generally speaking, property-management firms will only take seriously those potential tenants who have visited the property.

If you like the property, send the complete set of required documents to the property-management firms – these will be:

- a supporting letter from your line superior at work (optional, but advisable)

- a copy of your last three salary slips or a copy of your employment contract, proof of appointment or certificate from your employer

- a certified declaration (French only) that you are not involved in legal proceedings for unpaid debts

- a copy of your residence permit (or proof of the application for a permit)

- a copy of your identity papers

- the completed registration form for the property-management firm

Websites specializing in property ads

How to find accommodation : USPI

Listing of property-management firms and real-estate agents in Geneva

Listing of properties for rent from main specialist sites : Comparis

Portal for advertising property for rent in Geneva

Engaging the services of a relocation agency

One route for guaranteeing a successful outcome and access to a broader range of available properties: you could sign on with a relocation agency. They can charge fees of a few thousand francs or the equivalent of one or two months’ rent.

Follow the next link for a list of agencies that are members of the Swiss Association of Relocation Agents (SARA).

Don’t hesitate to contact the Welcome Center if you would like a list of the addresses of agencies we work with.