WCGW: Purchasing an apartment that already has tenants

They live there for 20 years, the contract says the notice period is 3 months (my plan would be to move in after that).

There are a bunch of risks with this:

  1. I guess I will have to deal with returning them deposit at the end of the notice period?
  2. how to know what will be the state of the apartment when I move in?

Who is responsible if something is broken between today (when I saw the apartment) and May when I move in?

Hope you didn’t buy yet as worst case as you are not yet aware of what this situation implies to you. You will likely fae a long journey until you move in. Once the flat is yours, you may send them a termination for “own use” from your end. They may however defer the effective date. Given we have a flat shortage, it is likely that they will get some deferral. If they are pensioneers - it could be that you wait even longer. Personally, I would probably estimate a 9 months + time until you can move in plus some court hassle beforehand.

Once you buy the flat, the risk of anything that breaks is yours. This clearly unless there was any damage that goes beyond wear and tear. But there, it doesn’t matter when you bought the flat - the Tennant is responsible for that anyways. Given that they lived there 20+ years and assuming not many rennovations since, I would take the conservative assumption that most infrastructure has expired its lifespan. Meaning that any new paining done and the like will be on you.


This is why you typically buy with vacant possession.


Don’t buy unless you are buying for the renting revenues. Unless the tenants have already expressed their desire to leave, you will certainly not be able to live in that flat before long (speaking one year+ and with lots of painful procedures).

It depends what and how it breaks.

  1. It broke on its own and it’s less than CHF 200 to repair (e.g. the shower head) → the tenants have to pay to repair it
  2. It broke on its own but is more costly to repair (e.g. the oven) → the owner has to pay for repair
  3. The tenants “broke” it but it’s normal wear and tear (e.g. marks on the wall, a few scratches in the parquet floor) → if the owner wants this to be repaired, they have to pay for it
  4. The tenants broke it but it’s not wear and tear (e.g. a chunk of the bathroom sink broke off) → there is a mutually agreed upon lifespan table, and when something breaks the tenants only have to pay for the years the item would still have been good for. E. g. for a bathroom sink it’s 20 years I believe, and if they break it after 15 years, they only have to pay 25% of the costs to repair it. IMPORTANT: the owner has to prove the sink is only 15 years old (e.g. providing the bill from 15 years ago), otherwise the tenant doesn’t have to pay anything. So when buying the flat, make sure the current owner has kept these documents and can give them to you.

Be careful with this, it can take up to 4 years (a worst case scenario) according to the law.

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Wow, amazing.

This prompted me to google for some examples. I found a few here: Microsoft Word - tab_erstreckung.doc (mietrecht.ch) (despite the misleading title it’s a PDF).

With these examples in mind you’re maybe able to move in in May … just not this year, if you’re unlucky it’ll be May 2028.

Good luck!

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