Moving House in Geneva

Make sure you carry out these essential tasks when moving house in Geneva...

There are some essential things that need to be done when moving house in Switzerland. Here are some tips and points on all that must be done and when.

The first thing when moving house within Geneva, notify the foreigners department (Service Etrangers et Confédérés) at the Office Cantonale de la Population (OCP) within 14 days of moving. If changing cantons, the OCP in Geneva must be informed of departure and the OCP in the new canton must be informed of arrival.

  • Geneva OCP (in French)
    At: 88 route de Chancy, 1213 Onex
    Tel: +41 (0)22 546 48 88
    email
  • To find a local office elsewhere in Switzerland: Click here

The following documents must be provided:

  • Residence permit
  • A passport photo of each person moving
  • A completed change of address form, filled in with the name and birth date of all concerned, the former and new address and the date it changed
  • Proof of payment
  • The change of address form can be downloaded: Click here (PDF in French)

When changing cantons or leaving Switzerland the local OCP must be informed, and all taxes due should be paid to the Administration Fiscale Cantonale.

Services

Electricity, gas and water

When moving it is important to check that the electricity, gas and water is turned off at the old address and that it works at the new one.

At least three working days before a change of residence contact the Services Industriels de Genève (SIG) to take a final reading and close the meters, or complete the forms provided online for this purpose.

Note: Moving in - a deposit may be required when registering for electricity, gas and water for the first time.

Telephone and Internet

Contact Swisscom, the national provider of fixed line/land line telephones. Swisscom will send a contract by post which should be signed and returned.

Swisscom will need a copy of the residence permit and a one-off payment for the line connection fee. Foreigners who do not have a C type permit will also have to pay a deposit.

The line will be connected within two or three days.

  • Customer service Tel: 0800 800 800
  • Customer service from abroad Tel: +41 848 800 811
  • Register a change of address: Click here

The Swisscom website has comprehensive information in English on all the products available for private use (fixed line connections, ADSL Internet) and online ordering options.

Post

Post can be forwarded to a new Swiss address for a period of one year. This service can be requested at the local post office, or it can be arranged online. Contact Swisspost at least three working days before the move.

  • For information on forwarding mail: Click here
  • To find the address of the local post office: Click here and enter a postcode in the Search for Post offices box

Swisspost Customer Service line has an English-speaking service open Monday to Friday 07:00 to 19:00 and Saturday 08:00 to 13:00.

  • Tel: 0848 888 888

Radio and TV connection

In Switzerland you have to pay TV and radio licence fees, so when moving home it is necessary to contact Billag, +41 (0)844 834 834 or fill in the online form: Click here (in French)

Driving and vehicle registration

Foreigners moving to Switzerland have one year to exchange their driving licence for a Swiss one or take a Swiss driving test. If moving from one canton to another, or within Switzerland, holders of a Swiss driving licence should contact the local Road Traffic Office (Service des Automobiles et de la Navigation). The vehicle registration document must be updated with the new address.

The following documents are required:

  • Proof of identity
  • Residence permit
  • Vehicle registration document (permis de circulation)
  • Driving licence
  • Proof of new address

If changing cantons, the Geneva number plates must be returned and the vehicle must be reregistered in the new canton.

Taxes

Tax authorities are automatically notified of a change of address by the resident's registration office. There is no need to contact them with details.

Insurance

Insurance companies must be notified of a change of address. Home insurance can be transferred to a new property, but if the new home is dramatically different in size it may be necessary to have a reassessment made.

Children

Teaching staff and the school authorities will need to prepare and transmit a child's school records. They should be notified some time in advance.

Bank and Subscriptions

Notify the bank of change of address and remember to cancel or supply change of address details for any subscriptions services.

Moving from rented accommodation

In Switzerland, the legal minimum notice for an open-ended rental contract is three months but in some contracts this can be up to six months. A rental agreement must be terminated by letter sent by registered mail (lettre recommendé or Einschreiben) and must be signed by all the tenants named on the contract. It is vital that the notice of termination reaches the landlord in good time (at least one day before the beginning of the notice period). If the tenant wishes to leave before the end of the contract he must bring three possible tenants interested in the apartment, and if one of these acquires the apartment the tenant may leave early.

The vacated property must be left completely clean. There are cleaning companies specialising in a service for people moving and it is recommended to use this service.

A rental contract will state whether the property must be redecorated before the tenant moves out.

Redecoration can include the following:

  • Filling in holes
  • Repainting
  • Repairing damages to tiles or wooden floors

When moving into a rental property, inspect for any defects with the landlord and write down everything, otherwise the tenant will be charged for all these repairs and may not recuperate all of their deposit.

The Association Suisse des Locataires (ASLOCA) can advise tenants having problems.

  • ASLOCA (in French)
    At: 12 Rue du Lac, Eaux-Vives 1211 Geneva
    Tel: +41 (0)22 716 18 00
    email

Keys

Rental contracts list the keys given to a tenant. If any of the keys have been lost, the tenant has to pay for the locks to be changed. It's not allowed (without the landlord's permission) to simply have copies cut as the keys are numbered and recorded.