Housing & Accommodation in Switzerland

Competition    to    rent    Swiss    apartments    is    fierce,    and    it    can    be    hard    to    find    decent accommodation   in   Switzerland.   The   saturated   Swiss   rental   markets   in   major   cities   means competition   for   Swiss   rental   properties   is   hard   and   that   you   need   to   act   fast   if   you   wish   to find a decent apartment to rent in Switzerland. THE ANSWER: SIEPS! Whether   you   seek   a   single   room,   a   studio   or   a   luxury   apartment,   SIEPS   will   address   your requirements   and   help   you   to   find   an   accommodation   in   Switzerland.   SIEPS   offers   a   large array of housing services as described in more detail under our services section. Finding   housing   in   Switzerland   is   not   as   simple   as   it   seems.   The   saturated   Swiss   rental markets,   the   language   barrier,   the   housing   search   (time   consuming),   the   endless   visits, and   then   the   question   of   financial   guarantees.   SIEPS   handles   the   whole   process   for   you! Furthermore,    SIEPS   will    provide    personal    and    corporate    financial    guarantees    for   your housing so you can move in immediately! Entering   a   rental   agreement   in   Switzerland   usually   requires   a   3   months   in   advance   paid deposit   equal   to   the   amount   required   for   3   months   of   rent.   Additionally,   the   rent   for   the first   month   of   occupancy   is   payable   in   advance. A   furnished   studio   apartment with   kitchen and bathroom facilities typically rents start from CHF1000.- per month.

   Where to start? - The SIEPS Housing Database

SIEPS   has   more   than   25   years   of   experience   in   the   real   estate   market   in   Switzerland.   We understand    our    clients,    their    culture,    preferences    and    requirements    and    we    make available   to   them   our   network   of   partners   and   professionals   in   the   real   estate   market   in Switzerland. Our   housing   objects   under   management   are   selected   and   tailor   provided   to   our   clients’ needs. We provide you the right housing object in the right location! When   we   select   housing   options   for   the   publishing   in   our   Housing   Database,   special attention   is   given   to   satisfying   the   requirements    of   our   clients   &   partners.   Consequently, our housing database provides available housing & accommodation options in relation to: Proximity of Schools & Universities. Proximity of public transport. Proximity of services & shopping facilities

Finding temporary housing and furnished apartments

Temporary   housing   can   be   obtained   by   renting   a   room   usually   in   a   privately   owned   house or   large   apartment.   In   this   case   a   home   owner   has   free   space   available   in   their   residence, and   decides   to   rent   it   out.   Rights   to   use   the   rest   of   the   house   (kitchen,   living   room   etc..)   are often negotiated and agreed upon between the person renting a room and the owner. Another   viable   option   in   Switzerland   to   find   temporary   accommodation   is   sub-letting. Normally   obtained   through your   personal   network   of   friends   and   acquaintances,   and   or   on internal message boards of large organisations.   SIEPS has access to a considerable pool of short-term, and furnished lodgings.
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It   is   not   uncommon   to   rent   housing   in   Switzerland,   as   a   matter   of   fact,   over   60%   of   the population   lives   in   rented   accommodation.   As   in   most   European   countries,   rental   rates vary   depending   on   the   area   in   which   you   are   looking   to   rent   (with   cities   being   notably more expensive than country / rural areas). The   Swiss   rental   market   provides   a   large   variety   of   accommodation.   From   small   1-room studios,   to   massive   city-centre   loft;   Switzerland   is   sure   to   have   something   to   match   your requirement. However,   areas   such   as   Geneva,   Zurich   and   Basel   have   seen   property   prices   on   a   steady rise   in   recent   years.   This   coupled   with   the   scarce   availability   of   accommodation   in   these sought-after    areas    has    made    it    a    real    challenge    for    international    newcomers    to    find desirable, reasonably priced, accommodation. Scarce   availability   and   high   prices,   have   left   people   battling   between   themselves   for affordable   accommodation.   In   an   application   to   rent,   tenants   will   typically   provide   as much   information   about   themselves   as   possible   in   order   to   make   their   application   stand out from the others. While   it   may   be   a   challenge   to   obtain   an   apartment   in   Switzerland,   they   do   have   their benefits.   For   example,   a   typical   apartment   in   Switzerland   comes   with   communal   parking, green   spaces,   and   a   playground   for   children   of   the   area.   Also,   long-term   tenancies   of more   than   20   year   are   fairly   common,   adding   a   sense   of   community   to   regular   suburban neighborhoods.

Finding an apartment in Switzerland

While   most   available   properties   to   rent   can   be   found   online,   given   the   competitive   nature of   the   Swiss   rental   market,   it   is   often   worth   investigating   multiple   options   in   order   to   find what you are looking for. Search online Check the paper Get to know estate agents Tell everyone you know Consider a sub-let There   is   no   getting   around   the   fact   that   in   popular   parts   of   Switzerland   (Geneva,   Zurich, Lausanne, Basel) finding rental property is a very time-consuming process. Real   estate   agencies   understand   the   high   demand   for   their   properties   and   therefore   have no   need   to   do   any   further   marketing   other   than   posting   their   available   accommodation online.   They   typically   work   on   a   first-come   first-serve   basis   and   will   generally   accept   the application which most limits their risk. The   volatile,   fast   moving   pace   of   the   this   market,   will   often   leave   you   to   find   apartments online   which   are   no   longer   available,   or   for   which   the   agency   has   already   received   a sizeable    amount    of    application    forms.    This    means    that    in    order    to    find    ande    obtain housing   which   best   suits   your   requirements   in   sought-after   locations,   you   need   to   be   pre- emptive in finding accommodation, and quick to apply.

Swiss housing descriptions

Like   most   other   European   countries,   accommodation   size   is   described   squared   meters (m2).   In   Switzerland,   it   is   also   common   to   find   a   “number   of   total”   rooms   in   the   description. This number usually does not take into consideration bathrooms and kitchens.   The   majority   of   accommodation   in   Switzerland   is   rented   unfurnished,   often   even   without light   fittings.   Should   you   be   renting   an   apartment   in   a   building   with   laundry   facilities   you will normally be allocated a time slot where you may use them. The   Swiss   appreciate   their   outdoors,   and   so   many   buildings   are   equipped   with   balconies and access to a communal garden and or playground for neighborhood locals.

Living costs in Switzerland

Housing: between CHF800.00 and CHF2900.00 per month, depending essentially on the size of the apartment and whether it is furnished or not. Electricity and Internet / TV: between CHF60.00 and CHF250.00 per month, depending on electricity consumption and Internet / TV contract. Insurance costs (Health & Accident (compulsory in Switzerland) / Third-party liability insurance / Household insurance / Insurance against the effects caused by fire and / or natural disaster): between CHF1200.00 and CHF4000.00 per year, depending on where you live within Switzerland, your age, your gender, your status (student or other), the member’s portion, whether you opt for basic insurance plans or more comprehensive ones, and finally the insurance company. TV and radio reception tax (payable per household, and as soon as you have at least one computer (portable or desktop) in the household: at least CHF170.00 per month, maximum CHF280.00. Food: approx. CHF1000.00 per month, if you cook yourself. Toiletry items and some recreational / entertainment costs: approx. CHF500.00 per month Transport costs (public transport, locally): rough estimate CHF150.00 per month. The above works out at between CHF2780.00 and CHF5415.00 per month.

Applying to rent an apartment in Switzerland

Being   quick   to   put   down   an   application   to   rent   is   key   to   obtaining   the   apartment   you desire     in     Switzerland.     Most     landlords     or     agencies     receive     a     notable     amount     of applications   for   the   same   available   housing   object   shortly   after   it   having   been   advertised. This   means   that   they   can   choose   any   application   which   represents   the   least   amount   of risk to them. Swiss rental applications are comprehensive documents. Expect to provide your: Age Marital status and number of children Profession and employer A letter of reference or indication of employment from your employer Salary Residency or visa status Often including copies of passports and visas Number and type of pets Planned duration of stay You will   also   often   have   to   provide   a   document   proving   that you   are   not   being   pursued   for debts   or   other   legal   judgements.   This   is   called   an   “extrait   du   Registre   des   poursuites   / Auszug   aus   dem   Betreibungsregister   /   estratto   del   registro   dell'Ufficio   delle   Esecuzioni   e Fallimenti”. If   you've   lived   in   the   country   for   a   while,   make   a   formal   request   (for   which   you   will   be charged)    at    the    nearest    “Office    des    poursuites    /    Betreibungsamt    /    Ufficio    delle Esecuzioni   e   Fallimenti”.   If   you've   recently   arrived,   you   may   be   able   to   request   one   from your    previous    place    of    residence,    but    in    the    first    instance    you    should    discuss    your situation with the estate agent.

Rental Contract

All         tenants      should         have         a   written      rental   contract      between   the   landlord   and   the tenant, stipulating the basis upon which the housing object has been rented. This should cover: Rent Tenancy start and end date How and when to give notice (see next section) Detailed property inventory Tenant rights to shared services Quiet hours Any other house rules There are several types of rental contracts: Term contract: ends after a pre-determined period without having had to give notice, Rental contract with automatic renewal after each rental cycle, if notice has not been given within the deadline stipulated in the rental contract.

Starting and ending a Rental Contract

The rental period of rental contracts can range from 1 to 12 months and more. Rental contracts usually start on the 1st or 15th day of any month. With   regard   to   unfurnished   housing,   the   rental   contract   spreads   very   often   over   an   initial rental   period   of   12   months,   with   an   automatic   renewal   of   the   rental   contract   for   a   further 12 months after any 12-month rental cycle. Any    rental    contract    may    be    terminated    within    the    deadlines    stipulated    in    the    rental contract. For   a   rental   contract   of   12   months   with   an   automatic   renewal   for   12   months,   the   notice period is usually 3 to 4 months before the end of any 12-month rental cycle. Rental   contract   end   dates   which   fall   into   the   month   of   December,   are   usually   deferred   to the month of January. Premature   departure   from   your   housing   (outside   the   deadlines   stipulated   in   the   rental contract)   is   possible,   but   it   would   be   your   responsibility   to   introduce   a   new   tenant   to   the agency   or   housing   owner.   If   the   new   tenant   is   accepted   by   the   agency   /   housing   owner, your   financial   and   legal   responsibility   would   end   on   the   date   from   which   the   new   tenant’s responsibility commences for the housing you are leaving.

Cost of renting housing in Switzerland

A   3-month   rent   deposit   is   standard   when   moving   into   a   new   apartment.   A   bank   trust account   must   be   opened.   This   deposit   is   blocked   in   a   bank   trust   account   until   the   end   of the tenant’s rental contract. The deposit can, therefore, not be used to pay outstanding rent during the rental period. The    deposit    serves    essentially    to    cover    possible    costs    resulting    from    the    repair    of accidental   damage   caused   to   the   housing   or   its   contents.   If   the   apartment   is   not   handed back   in   a   perfectly   clean   condition,   the   Real   Estate   Agency   or   the   housing   owner,   might mandate a company to clean the housing and deduct such costs from the deposit. Once   the   contract   reaches   term,   all   rent   has   been   paid   to   date,   and   no   damage   has   been caused to the apartment, the tenants’ rent deposit is released back to them. Other possible costs, before moving into housing: Real Estate Agency fee for the drawing up of the rental contract (most of the time). Rental   contract   cancellation   fee   (would   apply   if   a   rental   contract   has   been   drawn   up, but then is not signed). Housing   proposal   fee   (would   apply,   if   you   have   delegated   the   housing   search   to another party, such as SIEPS, for example). Application    processing    fees    (if   you    mandate    another    party    to    compile    the    rental application package. Additional costs after having moved into housing:   In    addition    to    the    rent,    the    tenant    must    often    pay    a    service    fee    for    the    care    and maintenance   of   communal   areas.   This   may   or   may   not   be   included   in   the   rent,   so   it’s important    to    double    check    when    you    view    the    property    and    ensure    that    the    rental contract is clear. Furthermore, you will   have   to   budget   for   the   cost   of   the   insurances,   usually   required when renting housing, the TV & radio reception fees, electricity and multimedia cost. A   monthly   estimate   is   usually   charged   regarding   the   heating   and   warm   water   cost.   Once per   year   you   will   receive,   from   the   Real   Estate   Agency,   an   invoice,   which   will   reflect   the cost   of   your   actual   consumption   of   heating   and   warm   water.   The   estimated   amounts which   you   have   paid   each   month   will   be   deducted   from   the   cost   for   actual   consumption. If    the    estimated    monthly    payments    have    resulted    in    an    over-payment,    you    will    be refunded;   in   the   case   of   an   under-payment,   you   will   be   requested   to   effect   an   additional payment

Quiet Hours

Generally   from   10.00pm   to   07.00am,   12:00am   to   01:00pm,   and   all   Sundays   fall   into   the category   of   “quiet   hours”.   During   these   times,   tenants   are   expected   to   limit   the   noise   they make   so   as   not   to   disturb   any   neighbors.   This   means   that   machinery,   power   tools,   loud music or even loud speech are frowned upon, and may cause neighbors to complain.


It's   worth   noting   that   Swiss   landlords   do   not   have   to   allow   pets   and   many   don't.   So   if you're   thinking   of   acquiring   a   pet,   wait   until   you've   found   a   home   and   then   verify   with   the Real   Estate   Agency   /   housing   owner,   what   the   ruling   is   in   this   respect..   Small   caged animals such as birds or fish are generally permitted.

Tenant’s rights

As   a   tenant   in   Switzerland   you   have   strong   rights   defending   your   interests.   In   most   cases, Swiss landlords are no trouble and promote fair treatment. However    should    you    have    any    issues,    the    Swiss    local    housing    arbitration    agency    is available   to   help you   stay   informed   of your   rights   (this   service   is   generally   only   offered   the country’s official languages).
Chemin des Bruyères 5  CH-1007 Lausanne Switzerland Tel: +41 (0) 21 616 00 11 Email: info@sieps.ch
Study in Switzerland