For members


Renting in Switzerland: Can a landlord ask if I am vaccinated? 

The unvaccinated are restricted from a range of activities, but is it relevant when applying to rent a home?

Keys sit against a blank background
Can your landlord ask you if you are vaccinated in Switzerland? Photo by Jozsef Hocza on Unsplash

Anyone wanting to secure a rental property in Switzerland will have to jump through several hoops before they get into their new home. 

Simply finding a flat is difficult enough – particularly in larger cities – as you will need to stand out from an ever-growing crowd to prove you should be the lucky one to move in. 

Finding a flat in Switzerland: How to stand out from the crowd

Towards the end of the process however, your landlord has the right to ask you a range of questions before you move in. 

We’ve covered these more broadly in the following explainer, which looks at the nature of the questions which a landlord may ask – and those which a landlord may not. 

As we discussed, Swiss tenancy law says questions of a certain nature are off limits. 

Perhaps surprisingly, if you are asked a question which is off limits, you are permitted to be untruthful in your answer. 

Click the following link for more information. 

Renting in Switzerland: The questions your landlord can and cannot ask you

Can my landlord or prospective landlord ask me if I am vaccinated? 

The law does not make direct reference to whether or not your landlord can ask for Covid vaccination status in applying for a flat. 

Under Swiss law however, a prospective landlord is not allowed to ask about your health status, i.e. if you have any diseases or pre-existing conditions. 

Therefore, as asking about general health information is largely restricted, presumably a landlord would not be permitted to ask a question about Covid vaccination status.

In this case – as was illustrated above – a tenant would be within their rights to provide an untruthful answer.

If you have however already provided an answer – i.e. said you are unvaccinated when a landlord may prefer vaccinated tenants – a prospective landlord can reject your application and will likely not face consequences.

This is because a landlord does not need to provide a justification as to why one tenant was chosen over another. 

As The Local reported in November 2021, a seller went back on a verbal promise to sell their home when they found out the buyer was vaccinated.

‘They might die’: Swiss homeowner refuses to sell to vaccinated buyers

Even though Swiss law forbids discrimination based on one’s vaccine status, this applies to public entities and employers only.

However, when it comes to transactions between private individuals, “the seller can refuse to sell to you just because he doesn’t like your face”, said a legal expert quoted by Swiss news outlet Watson.

“This is contractual freedom”.

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For members


Where to find property in Switzerland for under CHF 500k

Switzerland is not known for being a cheap country and property prices are higher than in other European countries, but it's still possible to find property bargains, some for even under CHF 100k.

Where to find property in Switzerland for under CHF 500k

Property prices are rising in much of Europe and Switzerland is no exception. As the average salary is high in Switzerland, finding homes for under CHF 1 million in some parts of the country becomes almost impossible.

Even when you do find cheap properties, they are sometimes quite literally too good to be true. For example, Switzerland’s famous one-franc home scheme had to be scrapped after nobody signed up. The cheap homes were, actually, too expensive when considering the costs for renovation or even how remote they were.

READ ALSO: Six no-gimmick websites that help you save money in Switzerland

Some of the properties in the scheme weren’t connected to the electricity grid, sewer system or even roads.

So, where can we find cheap(er) homes in Switzerland – that are still liveable or could be excellent investments for those who enjoy fixer-uppers (or huge DIY projects)?

Not an easy search

To find these gems, we used a property website that allowed us to search for real estate in the whole of Switzerland (instead of just a few main cities) and showed us homes with at least three rooms.

The price limit was set at CHF 500,000 (while our colleagues in Germany had theirs set at €100k, but, hey, this is Switzerland).

As of August 2022, we found 203 houses and 80 apartments following these criteria on sale.

Most of these definitely need some fixing up, but you can still snatch a home for under CHF 500,000 with lovely views of lakes and mountains or big terraces and gardens.

Going through the addresses with some of the properties, some things stand out:

Head for the border – most of the most affordable places are in Italian-speaking Switzerland. However, you can also find some of them in the French regions. In both cases, they are located very near the border with France or Italy.

Forget about cities – All the properties we found are quite far from the major cities of Zürich, Bern, and Geneva, which makes sense as the cost of living tends to rise in those regions. If you’re looking for a cheap home, you’re highly unlikely to find one in city centres.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Why is Switzerland so expensive?

Consider property type – It is also worth mentioning that there seemed to be a distinction between the homes in the west and those in the south. In the French region, there are more apartments and newer properties, with some outstanding options.

While in the Italian south, most of the properties are houses – and you need to inspect well because some will need a lot of work.

Research services – You should definitely check carefully the property’s location – some are not connected to basic services or even roads.

Renovation costs – Almost all of the properties we found were ‘renovation projects’. Some can turn out to be very good investments, but it takes time and work to renovate. Before buying, get an estimate of the likely works so you can see whether the property really will save you money in the long term, and be honest about your level of DIY/building skills and how much work you are willing or able to do.

Extra costs – Besides renovating costs, you must be mindful of property taxes and other living costs and how much they are in the region where you are buying property. Prices can vary quite widely depending on the canton, so research well.

You can check all our Property in Switzerland stories here.