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Rental Property in Geneva: Moving In

by | Déc 8, 2020 | Actualités | 0 comments

So, you have found a rental property in Geneva. The real estate agency, or the landlord, has accepted your application and you are already looking at how to arrange your furniture.

You think it’s time to move in. Well, not so fast.

In fact, although the property is now in your name, there are a few more administrative tasks to complete before one can call it home.

After having signed the lease contract, paid the first month’s rent, presented the liability insurance attestation, and rendered all personal information that the real estate agency has requested, there is the process of the “entrance inspection”.

This is called in French “l’état des lieux d’entrée”.

What is the entrance inspection?

The entrance inspection is normally carried out when the property has no furniture.

When you find somewhere to rent, one should not expect a fully renovated property unless the previous tenant has lived there for 20 years!

An inspector from the real estate agency must do this obligatory entrance inspection with the incoming tenant before keys are handed over. This process is paramount and should not be rushed.

There are two stages to this meeting. Firstly, the tenant is shown the different facilities of the property, such as how the heating works. More importantly, it is an opportunity to ensure that the premises are liveable. The overall state of the interior is examined meticulously, annotations are noted, and more often than not, photos are taken in the property as proof of state.

Once completed, the tenant co-signs the report, which then becomes official. This report is then carefully placed in your personal file until you eventually move out. You will receive a copy, however, for your records.

Why an inspection?

The entrance inspection is to protect yourself when you eventually leave the property. The report will be compared with the exit inspection and thus shows any damages that occurred, minus normal wear and tear over time. For example, the color of the fresh paint will fade after a few years and you would not be expected to repaint the property when you leave.

Some more advice

  • Ensure the inspection is held in daylight, as it is much easier to see all interior blemishes. Sometimes, for example, the electricity may be cut off, making details hard to see. Imagine performing an entrance inspection during the winter months and at the end of the day. Not an easy task indeed.
  • If you do not speak Molière’s language, note that many real estate inspectors have somewhat limited English-language skills. The presence of a friend or a third party who speaks French will ensure there are no misunderstandings.
  • If you do miss something, you can add comments to the report within 10 working days. They become fully integrated into the entrance inspection report, even after having the document initially signed.
  • Ensure the description of the premises corresponds exactly to the actual condition. All defects must be spelled out in detail, and the real estate representative – or in some instances the landlord – must be clear on property renovations they are prepared to carry out.

Note that the incoming tenant may not carry out any renovations without the landlord’s prior written consent. Nevertheless, some defects may come to light at a later stage, and the tenant must notify the estate agent as soon as possible. Do this by registered mail. Yes, emails are often used for correspondence with the agency, but to cover your back, it is best to use old snail mail.

A final piece of advice

Again, a relocation company can perform all these processes even if you have not necessarily hired them to search for a property. For a small fee, it generally saves you a lot of trouble and time.

With all this in mind, one can expect a smooth transition and hassle-free entrance into one’s property. So, enjoy Geneva and your newfound home!


Further reading:

Rental Property in Geneva: How to find what you need by


l’état des lieux d’entrée, International Geneva Welcome Centre

Remise du logement : quels sont les dommages à la charge des locataires ?,




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