Tenancy law is very comprehensive. Anyone who doesn't pay attention can quickly run into trouble, sometimes even with financial consequences. Here's some information about the most important topics.
by Gabi Hophan
Tenancy law dictates not only what a rental contract must contain, how you must proceed when giving notice of termination and what you must attend during an apartment handover. It also dictates other duties and rights of tenants and landlords. Those who want to avoid trouble (and expense) should get all pertinent information in plenty of time and/or at least thoroughly read what they're going to sign (even the small print).
The Swiss Tenants' Association (www.mieterverband.ch) acts in the political interests of tenants and answers related questions. In addition, the cantonal branches offer legal consulting, which is free of charge for association members. You can find plenty of information on their website.
The Swiss Homeowner's Association (HEV Schweiz)
HEV (German Website) is dedicated to promoting and supporting home and property ownership in Switzerland. HEV provides legal information about issues such as those dealing with condominiums, tenancy law as well as disputes with neighbours.
The Swiss Real Estate Association SVIT
The Swiss Real Estate Association SVIT serves as a lobby for the interests of the real estate industry throughout Switzerland. It represents professional real estate service providers who work in property management, sales, development, consulting and surveying.
In every canton there are cantonal, regional or communal conciliation authorities. They provide advice to tenants and landlords. In case of disputes regarding a rental contract they attempt to find an amicable settlement. In certain cases (e.g. termination or extension of tenancy or the use of rental deposits) they can make a ruling.
Services of the conciliation authorities are free of charge. If you go to www.mietrecht.ch and enter your town or postcode, you can find the conciliation authorities responsible in your area concerning rental issues.
The following links provide more detailed information on the topic of tenancy law:
At www.gesetze.ch you can find the online German version of the Swiss Code of Obligations (for tenancy law, look under «Achter Titel»).