The first cost is the monthly rent for your apartment, which is agreed in the lease. There are also running costs and service charges, such as electricity or gas, telephone connection, Internet connection or cable television.
Running costs can include charges for heating, water, a caretaker, garden maintenance, waste water, refuse and much more. Running costs must always be mentioned in the lease and accurately set out. Otherwise they are not permitted. The running costs are divided proportionally amongst the tenants. There are also running costs that cannot be passed on to the tenants.
You will generally pay part of the running costs monthly together with the rent. This is called a payment on account. At least once per year you will then receive a final statement of account. If the payments on account are less than the final statement you will have to pay the balance. If the costs are lower, you will be refunded the overpayment. It is worth checking the final statement of account carefully.
The rent deposit – also known as the guarantee deposit or bond – acts as collateral for the landlord for unpaid rent, outstanding running cost accounts or damage to the apartment for which you are liable. The deposit is a maximum of three months’ rent. The tenant deposits it in a special bank account (deposit or custody account) in the tenant’s name. The deposit and interest are generally returned to you immediately when you vacate the apartment. Any outstanding rent and damage to the apartment will be deducted from it.
It is also possible to take out a rent deposit guarantee policy with an insurance company. The insurance company then provides the deposit. You pay annual premiums for this service. The advantage is that your money is not tied up in the deposit account. The disadvantage is that you pay a few hundred Swiss francs in premiums every year. The cheapest option is to put up the money for the rent deposit yourself.