In Switzerland the renter will normally be expected to put down a deposit on his rental home. This deposit is placed in a bank under the name rental deposit savings account, also known as a rental surety savings account. Depositing this money in a personal bank account or appropriating it for any other use is not an option.
Rental deposits: An untouchable asset
A rental deposit savings account is untouchable. The money remains in the account for the entire duration of the rental period, and the renter will not be able to touch it without getting a green light from the landlord.
The deposit should be made available to the renter within 90 days of his rental contract’s expiry. That is, of course, as long as there aren’t any damages or rental payments that need to be covered.
Any disputes between the renter and the landlord regarding the repayment of the rental deposit can be brought before the arbitration office for settlement. If the landlord fails to repay the deposit within 1 year from the time the rental agreement expires, the money will automatically be returned to the renter. That means the renter will receive unrestricted access to his deposit 1 year after the termination of his rental contract, even without the landlord’s consent.
Rental deposits: The limits
A rental deposit serves as a safety buffer which a landlord can fall back on to cover unpaid rental dues or additional charges, and damages to the property caused by the renter. But the maximum deposit a renter can be expected to put down should never be more than 3 months worth of rent. The deposit is covered by deposit protection, up to a 100,000 franc cap.
The landlord picks the account
The choice of which bank the deposit will be held at goes to the landlord, rather than the renter. But the renter has every right to suggest using a different bank if the landlord’s pick doesn’t suit the renter’s style. The rental deposit savings account can be opened either by the renter or the landlord.
Deposit savings rates at leading Swiss banks (as of: November 2018):
Raiffeisen Switzerland: 0.05% per year.
Migros Bank: 0.01% per year.
Bank Cler: 0.05% per year.
ZKB: 0.025% per year.
Credit Suisse: 0%.
Zuger Kantonalbank: 0.01% per year.
UBS: 0.01% per year.
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