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Putting together a rental application - Full checklist

An excellent rental application makes all the difference when looking for a apartment. It is vital to know how to meet to the requirements of landlords and letting agents, and to give them the correct information.

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Céline Frey
August 06, 2020

Have you visited an apartment you like? Generally speaking, the property management company will ask you to fill in a registration or rental application form. With the rental application form, you enclose personal documents.

What is a rental application?

A rental application contains personal information to enable the property management company to select a suitable tenant for a particular dwelling from among the applicants.

For example, they make sure that you will be able to pay your rent, that you have the legal authority to sign a lease agreement, and that you will be a good neighbour to the other tenants. Your rental application is like a job application when it comes to signing a lease agreement to rent an apartment.

Why submit a rental application?

Your property management company may request information about your financial situation and solvency to determine whether your financial resources will be enough to cover the rent.

In Switzerland, submitting a rental application to a rental property management company or landlord is the normal process for signing a lease agreement.

What is included in a rental application?

The rental application usually includes the documents described below. Of course, the forms may vary from one property management company or landlord to another. When you find the apartment you wish to rent, ask the property management company directly what documents you require.

For your rental application, you will need the following documents:

  • Application form:
  • Normally you can find it on the property management company's website.
  • Identity documents or residence permit:
    For Swiss citizens: photocopy of your identity card (front and back) or passport
    For non-Swiss nationals: your permit (B, C, G or L) and your residence permit
  • Extract from the local debt collection register: ideally not more than six months old. Request an extract as soon as you start your search as it may take a few days to receive it.
  • Proof of income. The property management company or landlord wants to know that you will be able to pay the rent:
    For employees: the last three pay slips,
    For self-employed individuals: the last two tax returns.
    If you receive social security benefits: proof of that you are a beneficiary.
  • A rental guarantee certificate to show the property management company that you will be able to provide a rental guarantee when you sign the lease agreement.
  • A copy of your civil liability insurance policy for your current apartment. This document is not requested by property management companies, but it is a bonus to include it in your rental application. Property management companies find it reassuring to know that you are covered in the event of accidents.

Do you have a rent guarantor?

Submit your rent guarantor’s documents. Submit the documents described above.

Planning on sharing an apartment?

Each flatmate will need their own documents. Each flatmate submits all the documents described above.

A tip from our experts

There is no magic formula for the perfect rental application, as each property management company operates differently. But we have found that being quick helps. If you see an apartment you like, do not wait to fill out a standard rental form there - bring completed documents with you or submit them as instructed.

Plan your visit and how you will submit your rental application:

  1. Put together all the necessary documents in advance: you can be faster when submitting your rental application if you already have copies of documents and extracts from the local debt collection register. For example: have a folder on your computer with all your documents and some hardcopies at home of your complete application.
  2. Find out more about the property management company: can you fill in the form online? Do you need to send the documents by email? Or do you have to hand over your rental application in person?

For example, if you visit an apartment in the evening after work, submit your rental application the next morning or fill in the online form immediately if you can.

In some Swiss cities, there may be several dozen potential tenants* for a single apartment. The property management company will not wait to receive your application before choosing tenants.

Why do I need a rental guarantee certificate?

The rental guarantee certificate shows the property management company that you are solvent. You show the property management company that you will be able to provide them with a rental guarantee if you sign a lease agreement.

The rental guarantee certificate is particularly useful if you find yourself in a situation that casts doubt on your ability to pay, e.g.

  1. Excerpt from the local debt collection register that contains debts,
  2. You are a student
  3. You are a Social security benefits recipient

At Firstcaution, we will help you, regardless of your circumstances. If necessary, we will draw up a personalised application for your rental guarantee when you sign a lease agreement.

Where can I get a certificate from the debt collection register?

To get a certificate from the debt collection register, you must go to the local debt collection register in the canton where you are registered. For example, if you are registered with the Lausanne office of social services, you will contact the debt collection register for Lausanne.

Some debt collection registers will let you apply online while others will require you to attend in person with your identity documents.

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