Rights and obligations of the landlord regarding maintenance and renovation work

When and how must I inform my tenant of planned renovations and alterations? We provide answers.

The answer in detail

What rights and obligations do I have as a landlord?

The rights and obligations of a landlord can be broken down into

  1. Rights and obligations in the case of maintenance work
  2. Rights and obligations in the case of renovations

We explain the difference below.

Rights and obligations in the case of maintenance work

Generally speaking, the tenant is obligated to tolerate maintenance work on the rental property if its purpose is to eliminate defects and to remove or prevent damage. This obligation is the counterpart to the landlord's maintenance obligation. The tenant must only tolerate necessary repairs. When this work is carried out, the landlord must take the interests of the tenant into account. The landlord must inform the tenant in good time in advance regarding the planned scope, start, and duration of the renovation work and be considerate of the tenant's interests when the work is carried out.  Otherwise the tenant does not have to tolerate the renovations.

When is maintenance worked deemed to be necessary?

Maintenance work is deemed necessary if a diligently acting landlord would also carry out the work to prevent a deterioration of the state of the rental property. It is weighed against the ideal of a diligently acting landlord.

Is the landlord obligated to carry out maintenance work?

Yes, the landlord is obligated to carry out maintenance work. As a rule, maintenance work does not lead to an increase in rent. If use of the rental property is restricted during the maintenance work, then the tenant can request a reduction in rent.  

Rights and obligations in the case of renovations

What exactly are renovations?

This term includes renewals which change the rental property from its original state. The work improves the property and adds value.
During the change, the rental property is altered to such an extent that its use is definitively changed, expanded, or restricted.  

Do tenants have to accept renovation work?

Landlords may only carry out renovation work if the work is tolerable for the tenant and the rental agreement has not been terminated (it is not relevant who has terminated the agreement).

Kann die Vermieterschaft zu Umbauarbeiten verpflichtet werden?

Nein, die Vermieterschaft ist zu Umbauarbeiten nicht verpflichtet. Jedoch können Umbauten unter Umständen zu einer Mietzinserhöhung führen. 

Can the landlord be obligated to undertake renovation work?

No, the landlord is under no obligation to carry out renovation work. However, renovations may in some cases lead to an increase in rent. 

When can rent be increased after renovations?

If the renovation leads to an increase in costs or additional benefits. Additional benefits can be value-adding improvements (installation of a dishwasher, which had not previously been included), enlargements of the rental property (addition of a balcony), and additional ancillary benefits (the hiring of a janitor). If the renovation serves purely to preserve value, or something is replaced with something of similar value (replacement of old windows), then it is not possible to increase rent. However, it is if the renovation work adds value. 

What can tenants do about it?

The landlord must inform the tenant of the rent increase at least ten days before the start of the notice period on a form approved by the relevant canton and must provide reasons, otherwise the increase is not valid. It is also invalid if the notification includes a threat of termination or termination itself. The tenant can contest the notification of a rent increase as wrongful with the responsible arbitration office within 30 days of its receipt. 

Below, you will find in our “Notification of maintenance and renovation” template, which includes more detailed information and a sample document for how you can inform your tenant) as well as a basis for calculating rental increases following renovation work and relevant examples. 

Important documents
Vorlage Ank√ľndigung Unterhalt und Renovation