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Lease termination: How to terminate the lease agreement properly

Do you want to move out of your rented apartment? Then you have to give notice to the landlord or the property management. In the case of a legal notice of lease termination, there are several aspects to consider. If you comply with these requirements, you are on the safe side. If you don’t, you could be stuck with costs after moving out. In this article, we will explain everything you need to know to make your termination notice work.

A person on the laptop writing the termination of the lease agreement

How do you cancel the apartment lease?

A lease termination must always be given in writing. The following points should be apparent in the notice:

  • Your name
  • Address of the rented apartment
  • Announcement of termination – A reason doesn’t have to be given, but it is recommended.
  • The desired termination date
  • Handwritten signatures of all main tenants
  • A request to the landlord to confirm the termination notice

Attention: For married couples living together, both parties must sign the termination notice, even if only one of them has signed the lease.

The safest option: terminate the apartment contract by registered letter

As a resident of the rented apartment, you are responsible for notifying the landlord of the lease termination in good time. To avoid any risk, you should send the lease termination inform of a registered letter. Recipients will receive registered letters only against signature or delivery authorization. As soon as the letter is delivered, the delivery is considered to be legally proven. In the case of registered letters, you have the following options:

Registered letter with receipt of delivery: The postman delivers your lease termination notice personally. Reception is acknowledged and you as the tenant automatically receive written confirmation of delivery.

Cancellation with additional personal delivery service: In the case of the personal delivery service, the letter is delivered exclusively to the person named in the address. You can also request a receipt here.

Alternatively, you can also deliver the lease termination personally. Ideally, you should have one or more witnesses who can confirm the delivery, that you have deposited the letter into the letterbox, in case of doubt. However, it is even quicker if you hand over the notice in person and have the reception acknowledged by the landlord in writing.

When do I have to terminate the contract for the apartment?

When giving notice, you must take into account the notice period stated in the lease. The notice period in Switzerland is usually 3 months or more. In most cases the notice period is only shorter for furnished rooms.

If there are no specific cancellation dates, the usual local dates apply. These may vary according to canton and region. Make sure you send the lease termination to your landlord on time. After all, it is not the date on the stamp that counts, but the time at which the letter was delivered to the landlord. The lease termination must therefore arrive at the landlord one working day before the beginning of the notice period.

Extraordinary termination of the rental agreement

Would you like to move out before the agreed termination date? You can give notice outside the agreed notice period, but you must provide the landlord with a solvent and reasonable new tenant. The new tenant takes over the rental agreement with the existing conditions and the landlord has 30 days to check whether the new tenant can fulfill the rental agreement.

Termination without notice by the tenant

There are cases in which tenants may terminate their tenancy agreement without notice. This applies, for example, if the apartment is in a condition that is not in accordance with the contract. If the heating doesn’t work, if vermin infest the apartment or if the water quality is unreasonably poor, the tenant is entitled to terminate the tenancy without notice.

A frequent problem, however, is that there is of course not an exact law for every case. Here usually the appraisal of an independent expert is necessary, which causes additional costs. The landlord can also insist on a deadline for remedying the defects if he doesn’t wish to accept the termination. If you as a resident intend to terminate your lease without notice, it is advisable to seek legal advice in advance.

Termination of a fixed-term rental agreement

In the case of a rental agreement that is temporary, the termination procedure is different: Here it is already clear from the beginning when you will move out and no additional termination is required. However, neither you nor the landlord are allowed to terminate such a lease prematurely for any reason. This also applies if you have signed a waiver of termination. This is only permissible if it is also valid for the landlord. However, a waiver of termination is only possible over a period of four years.

Termination of the tenancy agreement after death

If the tenant of a rental object dies, the rental agreement does not end automatically. Instead, by law, it passes to the heirs. They must then dissolve the lease. Also here the contract is terminated with the legal period of three months on the next local notice date.

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