Per legislation, a rental unit is to be handed over on the last day of the rental period. However, many rental contract forms contain special annotations regarding the handover appointment. In any case, check the rental contract for the condition in which you must hand over the flat. Report early any possible damage to the management and your liability insurance.
If you employ a cleaning company to take care of the final cleaning, be sure to obtain a handover guarantee. In case deficiencies with the cleaning are identified during the handover, you will not have to pay for additional cleaning.
To be on the safe side, note the meter readings for gas, electricity, heating and hot water. This information can help in the case of disagreements.
By all means, turn over the key only after all open issues with the old flat have been settled. Once the handover has taken place, you no longer have the right to enter the flat.
At the handover, the landlord must immediately report to you any deficiencies for which you are responsible. No obligation exists to sign the handover record. In case you are not in agreement with the contents of the record, you should decline to sign it.
If the landlord requests that you pay for a portion of worn down furnishings, he is obligated to provide the age of the furnishings in question. On the website of the Tenants' Association of German-Speaking Switzerland (in German) you can find a list of the average life expectancy of furnishings, flooring and wallpaper.
The landlord is also responsible for proving in what condition he handed over the rental unit, that is, if a deficiency was already present when possession was taken over. Therefore it is exceedingly important to document all deficiencies in writing when moving in. In so doing, you are better prepared for any eventual disagreements.
Handover of a new flat
When taking over a new flat, create a check-in list in which all flaws and defects are listed in detail. Also indicate when these defects will be fixed. In this way you can protect yourself from being charged for damages that were caused by the previous renter. In case a check-out list had been created at the termination of the preceding rental lease, the landlord must make this available to the new tenant if requested.
You can find an appropriate turn-over sheet (in German) on the website of the Tenants' Association of German-Speaking Switzerland.
The landlord must take care of larger defects. Agree in writing with the landlord by what date this will be resolved. Insist that smaller defects, such as a broken electrical outlet, are fixed by your move-in date.
In case additional defects become apparent only later, you can report these by registered mail to the landlord within a certain time period, which is usually between 10 and 30 days depending on the lease agreement.