Flat lease after separation

Dear all,

My wife moved out of our flat nearly two years ago. She signed a confirmation that she lives in a new flat and wants to be out of our lease. I am happy to take on the lease on my own (And can pay the rent)

However the agency says that as long as we are married we can not modify the lease.

Is it normal procedure in Switzerland?

So I guess I will have to wait till the end of the 2 year "physical" separation to re-apply?

Are there anything I should consider, be careful about? (Eg. my wife wanting to come back to the flat)

Many thanks,


During marriage, the apartment is the marital home, both spouses have the same rights. It looks like this keeps being the case during separation.

Mind, the two-year wait only applies when either spouse refuses divorce. However, it looks like both of you want the divorce (or are at least Ok with it). You don't have to wait in such a case, you can file immediately. In a relatively simple case where both spouses cooperate the court case is likely to be a matter of a few months. The ruling will include who gets the apartment.


" If you and your spouse both agree to divorce
You can file a joint application (also known as divorce by mutual consent) which includes:

A written petition (letter or pre-printed form) signed by both spouses stating you want to divorce. You do not need to explain your reasons for wanting a divorce.

A document specifying all the consequences of the divorce on which you have agreed (agreement on how to deal with the consequences of the divorce): liquidation of the marriage, distribution of the pension fund, child custody, maintenance payments, division of property, etc.

The court may also request other documents.

At the end of the procedure, the court grants the divorce and decides what the consequences will be for the two former spouses and the children. The court generally adopts the proposals made in the divorce agreement unless there are inconsistencies (if, for example, in haste, one spouse unwittingly gives up their pension claims acquired during the marriage) or if a provision is contrary to the interests of the children (if, for example, one spouse gives up their ex-spouse’s child support in order to have sole custody)."


Many thanks both Urs / Medea,

In my case:

- We both have separated flats now (Wife left and lives in her own flat)

- My wife signed a confirmation that she moved out and wants to resign from the lease.

- Pre-divorce "Eheschutz" judge validated our separated addresses (Me staying, her going)

Do I still need to wait for divorce to have the lease only under my own name?

My point is that if I can already change the rental contract that would be much faster than waiting for end of divorce (Which in our case could be sadly pretty long).

Many thanks for your feedback

Again, if you both agree to a divorce you don’t have to wait 2 years to have it granted.

How about if you submit a joint formal cancellation together via registered post and at the same time provide a replacement tenant to take over the lease on the same terms - i.e. you individually.

I actually did that. The landlord said that as long as we are married we cant cancel the lease. I actually doubt the landlord logic. But in the end the landlord can do what they want.

We do not so had to wait the two years.

No they can't. If you both cancelled the lease jointly in accordance with your contract, the landlord cannot just ignore it. Speak to the Geneva-equivalent of the Mieterverband, either they can advise directly or point you to a more specialist legal expert.

Ask the court who issued the ruling. My guess would be that the marital home has been dissolved with the ruling and your notice valid, but they know.

Technically, and assuming I’m guessing correctly, you should be glad that they want to refuse your notice (not that they could, but better not wake up that sleeping dog) because that would end the contract. What you want instead is step into the marital contract under the same conditions (whether that’s now or at some later date) as a sole follow-on renter, you don’t give notice for that. Instead you announce your intent to move out at XYZ date and present a follow-on renter who’ll take over your existing contract, and if you can’t present a follow-on renter the contract ends on the contractual end date following said XYZ date. See the Mieterverband (use deepl.com to translate).

But the above seems more than just a bit silly in your case as you’re your own follow-on renter. So, I would call them up and see what they say before sending yet another letter, not least because would risk going on their nerves and presenting yourself as a difficult person.

You can't have it both ways - until you have legally sorted the divorce, any joint contracts stay that way....

I can only think that the fastest way to get out of the situation is for you to both mutually terminate the lease and move out officially. That also means separating (legally) all the assets of the apartment, any any liabilities associated with the ending of the lease.

If you died tomorrow, your wife could easily take on all legal responsibilities for all your marital assets and liabilities, including the apartment and everything in it.

Many thanks for all the valuable answers!

I ́m currently separated from my husband, but not legally. We ́ll move out of our shared apartment in March and /or April. We officially cancelled our current contract.

When I filled out another application for another apartment, I put on the application that I ́m married because they will see this on my Ausweis. When I told them we were separated, they asked for the legal documentation, which I don ́t have because we haven ́t filed it yet.

My question is it a law that husbands and wives must live in the same househould in Switzerland? What if we just want to do a trial separation, or simply live in the same house but remain married?

Is this going to be a problem for me to get an apartment?

Thanks for any information.


If one of you is here on a family reunification permit then yes, that’s part of the requirements to have it granted.

Thank you for your reply, no I ́m here for work, so then I guess it should be ok.