The mismatch between the supply and demand of rental apartments in Switzerland represents an obstacle to the transition towards a more sustainable society. The difficulty for the housing providers to accommodate the fast societal change of the demand brings about an increase in vacancies and, to minimize investment risks, a resistance to innovation in the building sector. In this context, understanding the determinants of tenants' residential mobility and location choice becomes key to designing and promoting sustainable housing. In this paper we present a new interdisciplinary framework for the decision-making process of tenants. To do so, we elucidate the main parameters of the decisions to move and where to move, based on literature review and a group discussion in the Swiss canton of Vaud with the tenants of the two housing providers SCHL and Swiss Mobiliar. We find that the desired housing function determines the tenants' housing selection. We observe that this desired function changes according to the type of trigger that pushes tenants to move. Additionally, we elicit the potential sustainability implications of the housing functions in the Swiss context. We conclude that the framework can serve as a starting point for rethinking sustainable interventions in the housing sector.