Early termination of a rental lease

Do you want to vacate your home before your rental agreement expires?

In our market, which is characterized by a strong shortage of housing and where obtaining a new home is very often done at short notice, it is practically inconceivable to terminate your rental lease within the time limit written in the contract: the term almost never corresponds to the time limit within which you will be able to move into your new home. Fortunately, the law allows for early termination, also called early return of the rented property, which offers more flexibility.


Legal basis

Art. 264, paragraphs 1 and 2 of the Swiss Code of Obligations
If the tenant returns the object without observing the notice period or the term of notice, he is only released from his obligations towards the landlord if he presents a new tenant who is solvent and whom the landlord cannot reasonably refuse; the new tenant must also be willing to take over the lease on the same terms. Otherwise, the tenant must pay the rent until the end of the term of the lease or until the next contractual or legal term of notice.

Art. 35 of the Rental Rules and Practices of the Canton of Vaud (RULV)
When the tenant returns the property without observing the notice period or term of notice, he must notify the lessor in writing, indicating the date of return of the property, and he must present at least one solvent tenant who is willing to take over the lease under the same conditions on the date of return of the property indicated by the tenant. If the lessor has valid objections to the applicant, the lessor shall promptly inform the lessee of the reasons for the refusal.

In such a case, the lessee must respect at least a one-month notice period for the fifteenth or the end of a month. In no case can the lessor be obliged to agree to enter into a contract with the person proposed by the lessee, it being specified that the latter is then released.



In case of early termination, the notice period is one month for the fifteenth or the end of a month.

Example 1: I wish to terminate for May 15; the management must be in possession of my letter of termination by April 14 at the latest (pay attention to working days/holidays).
Example 2: I wish to terminate by May 31; my letter of termination must be in the possession of the management no later than April 29 (please note the working days/holidays).
As the postmark is not a proof, it is the time of receipt of the letter by your management that is decisive. The letter must be sent by registered mail (see procedure below). You must therefore take into account the time the registered letter is kept at the post office. If the notice period is short, you can hand-deliver your letter to the office of your health authority, which will then sign a receipt.

Please note that most agencies do not accept cancellations for December 31.



Unless the Health Authority releases you from this obligation, you will be required to present a suitable transferee who is willing to take over the contract under the same terms and conditions.

The person must

be solvent (no lawsuits)
have a sufficiently high income to qualify for the rent of the apartment (generally accepted ratio: the rent including charges must not exceed one third of the person’s net income)
be of good character and reputation

How to cancel

Send your cancellation to your management company by registered letter (see attached model). Please note: it must be signed by all the tenants of the lease and the married spouse if it is a family home. Remember to terminate any annexes that are subject to a second lease