How to cancel your lease contract?

Lease cancellation : what are your options as a tenant?

What you need to know if you wish to cancel your lease and move out from your current house or flat in Geneva

A tenant may terminate his lease contract within the timeframe fixed by the contract or by the rules in force in the canton. There are three possible scenarios:

1.Termination on due date (annual option or end of the lease)

This is the simplest case. The tenant must cancel the lease in due time and in writing, preferably by registered mail. The notice period is usually of three months. The cancelation must be received no later than one day before the start of the termination period. Please note: the termination is only valid if it is signed by all parties who originally signed the lease!

2.Early cancelation

If he wants to be released from his obligations in advance (and in particular from the payment of the rent), the tenant must propose a new tenant that the lamdlord cannot reasonably refuse. The new tenant must be creditworthy, provide all necessary documents and be willing to take over the lease on the same terms. The landlord has 30 days to review whether the proposed tenant meets the conditions of the lease agreement and can pay the rent.

In practice, in the case of a “lease takeover”, the tenant will have to publish an announcement, organize visits and collect the files of the candidates. It is recommended to submit several files, at least one month before desired departure date. The tenant will then need to receive confirmation of the date on which he will be released.

3.Early cancelation with “diplomatic clause”

The “diplomatic clause” allows the tenant to terminate his lease contract by the end of the following month without having to find a new tenant. Defined in the General Conditions in force in the canton of Geneva, this clause may be included into the lease contract. It usually applies to members of international organizations and permanent missions who benefit from a legitimation card, but may also apply to employees of multinational companies.

To make use of this clause, the tenant must be transferred out of the canton of Geneva or out of Switzerland by his employer. This also applies when the tenant is dismissed. Proof from his employer will be required.
In any case, a good communication with the landlord or the agency will allow a to manage your departure better.