This article helps you to apply for rentals of the right amount, and provides tips to reassure the real estate agency (gérance in French) of your solvability, so you hopefully obtain that rental you love.

Did a real estate agency ask you for your salary statements for an apartment or house to rent in Switzerland? If so, you might know how the data is sensitive and difficult to compare. So what did you do? You most probably indicated the required income information in your rental application without wondering more. But did you have the right salary for the property you wanted in comparison to other applicants? We asked a few Swiss agencies what they thought when developing the most robust rental application on Immodating. To increase the solvability of your application, here are are few tips:

1) Apply for places with a rent of less than the third of your net income

A real estate agency or owner will look completely differently at the same candidat in function of the property he is applying to. Based on our enquiries with régies, it appears that a net income of 3 times the rent is absolutely required to obtain a place to rent. This criteria is usually necessary because – like a bank – a rental agency evaluates whether the rent might represent too high a burden based on your salary in which case any financial issue you might have would impact your ability to pay the rent. The net income (after AVS-etc deductions) before taxes is usually used. Lets take an example:

  • Alfred is a tenant candidate with a gross income of 7’000 CHF per month which translates into 6’000 CHF per month net income after AVS deductions (before taxes), with 12 months of salary, hence 72’000 CHF yearly before tax.
  • He first finds an apartment with a rent of 2’200 CHF (hence 26’400 CHF yearly). Bad news, his chances to obtain the place are low as his income is only 2.7x the rent (6000 / 2200) while a minimum of 3x is recommended (equivalent to 6’600 CHF income).
  • Conscious of his salary, he finds a smaller apartment with a rent of 1’500 CHF. His income will now be fully adequate at 4.0x the rent. His chances to obtain the flat are now significantly increased.

2) Add a guarantor to your application

You don’t have a high enough income for the property you want to rent? No problem. The analysis of your solvability depends on the capacity to pay the rent of the people written on the lease. Why should you be alone on the lease? Submit your rental application with a guarantor to the real estate agency régie. Whether it’s a partner, wife/husband, friend, or your parents, the income of the guarantor (or ‘garant’) will be included in the calculation of your solvability. This person doesn’t need to be living in the rental, but she will need to sign the lease with you.

  • Alfred hesitates to apply for the above apartment. His income of 6’000 CHF per month may not be enough for his dream apartment which has a rent of 2’200 CHF. Should he apply? He can but his chances are low. His income is only 2.7x the rent (6000 / 2200) which is below 3x.
  • He better apply with a co-applicant, garant, who has a salary of 4’000 CHF for example. His chances for the apartment will increase massively with their combined income of 4.5x the rent (10000 / 2200).

a) When adding a guarantor to your rental application when applying for an apartment to rent, the rental agency will ask you for a copy of ALL the usual documents for that additional person (identity documents, proof of revenues, office des poursuites, etc.). This tip will therefore have a big impact on the quality of your application in terms of solvability but will require some extra administrative work too for you. Is it worth a shot? Up to you to decide.
b) The guarantor MUST reside in Switzerland. Indeed, the agency will have an extremely hard time to recuperate unpaid rent from people residing abroad. As a consequence, they do not accept guarantors residing abroad.

3) Attach as many proof of income as possible

The amount of revenues is significant enough that some people tend to exaggerate it … until they have to provide the proof of them! Real estate agencies hence require for the proof of your salary/income.

  • As employee, the documents are usually the 3 last salary slips, your work contract, your yearly income statement, etc.
  • As independent, this is your tax declaration.
  • As unemployed, your monthly statement from Office de L’Emploi.
  • As retired, your statement from AVS or equivalent in your country of origin.
  • Etc.

​While all this information is very personal, it is key to convince agencies of the existence of the income. Adding more of them is preferable because – like at school – having several sources confirms the information. These documents will have to be attached both for the applicant and the guarantor.

4) Prove your solvability even further than the Proceedings statement

Real estate agencies do not fully trust empty Proceedings statements (“Attestations de Poursuites”). That’s because they are confronted with individuals who cheat by moving residence hence appearing “clean” in their new commune. An empty proceedings statement is therefore not enough to prove your absence of proceedings. Immodating therefore allows you to order the Solvabilité+ Certificate to attach to your rental application for proving your solvability across cantons.

Of note, real estate agencies also use other factors when deciding upon a candidate as we were explaining on our post on the basics of the rental application and on the attestation de poursuite in Switzerland. We hope these tips were helpful and that you will be able to generate a Killer Rental Application for that apartment you want to live in!

Do you have tips on the right income for renting? React in the comments below! And if you liked this article, please remember to share it.