The current tight market for vacant apartments means that it can be relatively difficult to find the perfect match, above all if you plan to settle in Geneva or Zurich, so make sure to start looking for your place to live well in advance. Consult the Internet websites specialised in the provision of accommodation or contact the estate agents operating in your preferred region.
Consult the accomodation or property pages published in the newspapers and official gazettes/advertisers. Most Swiss papers regularly publish lists of vacant accomodation. Contact the commune where you are planning to settle. As most ciommunes keep an updated list of vacant apartements in their area, it might be useful to contact the commune where you are planning to settle.
Rent covers the appertment itself and any additional rooms or other living space (such as a storage area, shared laundry room, yard and/or balcony) available for the tenant's use. It also includes the costs that are shared among all the tenants of the building, such as building maintenance and electricity for the common areas of the building. These shared costs are different from utilities.
(Source: Swiss Statistics, 05/2009)
Please note that the average price quoted above contain neither extra charges nor heating costs and that the rental costs may vary considerably, depending on whether you are looking for an apartement in the town centre or out in the countryside.
Before installing yourself in the apartment that you have found, you must first sign a rental contract which will correspond to one of two types: either a fixed-term contract or one of indefinite duration. In the second case, the contract is tacitly renewed until the notification of notice by the tenant or the landlord.
In most cases you must additionally pay a guarantee deposit into a frozen bank account, equivalent as a rule to two months’ rent. You will recover the sum with interest when you leave the apartment, provided there is no conflict between you and the landlord as regards the condition of the premises on your departure. Furthermore, some landlords and agencies require a surety guaranteeing that a third person can pay your rent should you get into financial difficulties.
If you wish to terminate your rental contract, you must as a rule respect the time limits for notice indicated in your contract. You may, however, give notice before the time limit under certain conditions, in which case you yourself must submit a list of solvent tenants to the owner.
Finally, on the handing over of the keys to the apartment as well as on your departure, a detailed list of the condition of the premises must be drawn up together with the landlord or his representative. In the latter case, if it turns out that damage has been inflicted on the premises, the owner may retain all or part of the guarantee deposit.
Should a conflict arise between yourself and the landlord during the period of your contract or on its termination, we advise you to contact the Swiss Tenants' Association (d/f/i) which, on payment of a small fee, will provide you with valuable assistance.
Personal liability insurance is insurance that protects you against damage claims by third parties. For example, the insurance will cover damage you cause to a rented apartment. Since any damage claims in Switzerland may become expensive, most landlords require their tenants to provide proof of liability insurance. Make sure to compare the offerings on the insurance market, as the conditions are defined differently by different insurance companies.