Property Jargon

A guide to useful words, terms and phrases relating to buying or renting a house or apartment in Switzerland...

When reading the French-language property-related classified advertisements in newspapers and magazines, it can help to know some of the key jargon terms.

Commonly-seen words and phrases:

French English explantion
2, 3, 4 pièces 2, 3 or 4 rooms (plus kitchen and bathroom)
maison 4 pièces 4 roomed house plus kitchen and bathroom
T1, T2, F1, F2 etc. Technically, an apartment (T) or house (F) with the specified number of rooms (pièces), although you can find T being used for houses and F for apartments too.
à rafraichir to be redone
ancien (anc.) old building (built more than 20 years ago)
année de la construction year built
armoires murales wall cupboards
arrondissement (arr) district/borough
ascenseur (asc) lift
balcon (blc) balcony
assurance habitation home insurance
branchement lave-linge washing machine outlet
cabanon stone building with a roof on it (local usage)
calme quiet
caution damage deposit (rental property)
cave cellar
+ charges rental price excludes building charges
chambre (ch, chbr) bedroom
charges comprises (cc) including building charges
charges locatives monthly fees for collective amenities
chauffage collectif (shared) heating included in building charges
chauffage gaz gas heating
concierge/gardien superintendent
copropriété shared property (apartments)
coin cuisine breakfast nook
cuisine (cuis) kitchen
cuisine americaine open-plan kitchen
cuisine équipée equipped kitchen
cuisine agencée built-in kitchen
cuisine aménagée fitted kitchen
de plain pied single storey/bungalow
dépendances outbuildings
dépot de garantie rental deposit
digicode security door
dossier de candidature rental application form
douche (dche) shower
en 3 niveaux 3 storey
en bon état in good condition/repair
entrée (ent) entry
étage (et.) floor
état des lieux condition of property upon moving in or leaving
exclusivité available with this agent only
exposé sud south facing
frais d'agence inclus (FAI) inclusive of agency fees
frais de Notaires legal fees
garage (gge)/box garage
gardien (gard) caretaker
hauteur sous plafond (HSP) ceiling clearance
honoraires d'agence agency fees
HT (hors taxe)
without VAT
immeuble (imm) building or residence
immobilier real estate
jardin (jard.) garden
jumelé semi
largeur (larg.) width
logement meublé furnished rental or property
logement vide unfurnished rental or property
loyer rent
maison d'amis separate guest house
maison mitoyenne semi-detached house
meublé/équipé furnished
neuf all-new construction
nombre de pieces total number of rooms including reception and bedrooms
nombreux (nbx) many
parking parking place included
pièce (p) room
pierre de taille (pdt) stone building
placards/penderies built-in cupboards (no hanging space in a penderie)
porte (pte ) door
préavis notice of intent to vacate premises
prix (px ) rent
quartier (quart) district/neighbourhood
rangements built-in cupboards
récent built in the last decade
résidence (rés) building
restanques terraced land usually with drystone walls
rez de chaussée (rdc) ground floor
salle de bain (sdb) bathroom
salle de bains (baignoire) bathroom with bath
salle de douche shower
salle d'eau (s.d'eau) bathroom with shower
salle à manger (sàm) dining room
salle de séjour (séj ss, s/s) living room
séjour (séj) lounge/sitting room
séparé (sép.) separated
sous-sol (s.sol) basement
sous terrain (s/terrain) below ground level
stand (std) quality/luxury building
sur terrain de... property size
surface habitable (SH) total living space
terrain land/garden/plot
terrasse terrace, paved exterior area, large balcony
très bon état (TBE) in good repair
tout confort (tt cft.) well equipped
TTC (total taxe compris)
VAT included
WC séparées separate toilet