Canton Zug, 02.03.2023

Dubious accommodation advertisements raise eyebrows:

Dubious advertisements for apartments are currently circulating in the canton of Zug. In these, tenants are promised that they will receive a confirmation of residence if they pay rent. But they are not supposed to live in the property. What is the legal situation here?

If you’ve been looking for an apartment in the canton of Zug on Immoscout24, you will certainly have come across a curious advertisement, as PilatusToday reports. No photographs, only a statement of the price, and the description includes the line "For residence confirmation. Overnight stay max. 0-1 nights/week. No forwarding of mail."

It can be inferred that this advertisement is related to the benefits of the tax-favourable canton of Zug. By confirming your place of residence as Zug, you would pay less tax, even though you actually live in another canton with higher taxes.

Room including residence permit
A similar advertisement can be found on Homegate: a 16 square metre studio for CHF 1,745. "Renting this studio entitles ONE person to a residence permit with the Office for Migration (Migrationsamt), but you can also domicile a company here. As the cooking facilities are limited and there is no washing machine, this is only suitable for someone who is not in Zug a lot," reads the description.

Dubious advertisements for apartments in the canton of Zug are circulating on the net     Photo. Patrick Hürimann
The description of the apartment includes the line "Room for residence confirmation"       Screenshot Immoscout24
Two accommodation options are described in the advertisement.               Screenshot

Such services should not be part of the rental contract
The Zug Department of Economic Affairs (Volkswirtschaftsdirektion) is not happy about these advertisements, as PilatusToday writes with reference to zentralplus. In response to an enquiry from zentralplus, Silvia Thalmann-Gut says: "Tenancy law (Mietrecht) covers a contract between a landlord and a tenant: the provision of an apartment/commercial space in exchange for payment. The services promised here - at least subliminally - are not part of a rental contract."

The promise of a residence certificate (Wohnsitzbescheinigung) or a residence permit (Aufenthaltsbewilligung) is a promise that a landlord cannot guarantee at all, "because it is ultimately the Office for Migration that decides on a residence permit". And further: "With the advertisement, the landlord appears to promise something that he/she cannot deliver. Whether this should be prosecuted is a matter for the Public Prosecutor's Office to judge."

Isn't this illegal?
Offering a room for CHF 800 without the tenant actually living in it is permissible, says Fabian Gloor, legal adviser to the Tenants' Association (Mieterverband) of German-speaking Switzerland. "As far as I know, it is permissible for the parties to agree on a restriction of the normal use., This must, however, be very explicitly the subject of the negotiation and must be clearly formulated in an obvious place in the contract," the legal adviser tells zentralplus.