Rental forms

Data collection when renting accommodation

Have you visited an apartment you are interested in renting? Are you a landlord interested in renting out an apartment? Collecting data from prospective tenants is permitted, provided that this information is appropriate for the purpose of selecting a suitable tenant according to objective criteria.

Collecting data from prospective tenants 

The collection of data by landlord from persons interested in entering into a lease should enable the landlord to select a suitable tenant according to objective criteria. Normally the landlord obtains this information through a form that prospective tenants complete after visiting the property. 

What personal data may be collected?

Requiring a prospective tenant to answer certain questions may breach the privacy of the person concerned (the data subject). For the intrusion on privacy to be lawful, it must be justified by the consent of the data subject, an overriding private or public interest, or by the law. If a question is not justified on one of these grounds, it must be considered unlawful and is not allowed.

Consent applies as valid justification provided it is free and informed. Landlords cannot rely on the consent of prospective tenants, since they are not entirely free to provide the information requested: those who refuse to provide certain information are immediately placed at a disadvantage compared to other applicants and jeopardise their chances of obtaining accommodation. 

Therefore, the landlord must be able to rely on an overriding private interest. This is the case if the information is required in order to assess whether the prospective tenant will comply with the lease. The data collected must relate to the potential tenants and be directly useful to the landlord in selecting the future tenant, and the landlord's interest in obtaining this data should outweigh the prospective tenant's interest in protecting his or her privacy. 

In certain circumstances, the landlord may also rely on being legally obliged to collect or provide certain information. For example, the legislation of the commune or canton may require the landlord to transmit certain data on the new tenant to the residents' register office.

General data protection principles 

  • Landlords who collect or process the personal data of prospective tenants must ensure that they comply with the general principles of data protection:
  • The landlord must act lawfully, i.e. any processing of personal data must comply with the applicable law. Data collection is deemed to be unlawful if it clearly violates legal norms, such as the provisions of the Criminal Code (obtaining data by threat, trickery or violence) or tenancy law.
  • The landlord must act in good faith. This means the data subject should be able to recognise what data is being collected and for what purposes. Collecting information from third parties without the knowledge of the prospective tenant violates the principle of good faith.
  • The landlord must act for a specific purpose, i.e. the data may only be collected for purposes recognisable to the data subject and must be further processed in a manner compatible with those purposes. 
  • The landlord must act proportionally, i.e. must only collect and process data that are objectively necessary to achieve the purpose, while safeguarding the rights of the data subjects as far as possible. The landlord may thus only request personal data that are directly relevant to the conclusion of or compliance with the lease and whose disclosure does not unnecessarily (or excessively) violate the privacy of the data subjects. 

Detailed information can be found in the pdf file ‘Guidelines on application forms for renting an apartment’. You can find a link to this file at the bottom of the web page on the application forms for renting an apartment (the pdf file is available in German, French and Italian). We review the categories of data that the landlord can require from prospective tenants and explain what questions are permitted.

Right to information


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Questions on data protection

Take a look at our FAQ or call our hotline.


Here you can download all documents sorted by topics.

The main provisions

Here you can find out more about changes to the Data Protection Act, which came into force on 1 September 2023.

Last modification 19.04.2023

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