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Apartment search

Apartments for rent in Switzerland

Before starting the search, it is good to know a few details. Because some things that seem unusual at first glance are quite normal in Switzerland. A kitchen belongs to the apartment. This is an integral part of the apartment. It is better not to replace the built-in kitchen with a kitchen you brought with you. When looking for an apartment, it is better to concentrate on apartments where you like the kitchen. If it shouldn't be important to you anyway, all the better, then you don't need to worry about it anymore. The bathroom is usually complete and equipped with a mirrored wall unit, toilet roll holder and towel rails.

Laundry rooms are common. Laundry is done in the laundry room available in the house. The washing machines or even the dryer are accessible for everyone. However, in very modern apartments or apartments with 4.5 rooms and more, there may be a separate washing tower in the apartment. It is less common to have your own washing machine or dryer and you are more likely to encounter a lack of understanding. Drying laundry in the apartment is usually not allowed, but should be done in the drying room, which is usually connected to the laundry room. When looking for an apartment, it is important to ask how the laundry room is run. This is different for every rental property. Some have fixed washing days for each tenant, whereby Sunday is usually considered a general washing day. Others do this by means of lists where you sign up beforehand. It would not be possible to list all the possibilities, as the creativity of the landlords in this matter is boundless. Don't worry, if there is stress because of the laundry room, that is almost normal. I know almost nobody who hasn't had disagreements with the neighbours because of it. Even if the Swiss don't like to argue, here they can do it all the better.

A special feature in Switzerland are the official rein dates. Many rental contracts have a three-month notice period with three fixed dates of 31 March, 30 June and 30 September. If you wish to terminate outside of these dates, you must find a suitable new tenant. There are of course other cancellation regulations, but this is the most common variant.  Because most apartments change on these three dates, you have the most choice of apartments for the beginning of April, July and October. However, this also means that it is difficult to get tradesmen, removal companies and rental cars at these times, unless you reserve them well in advance.

The apartment search

There are, as in other countries, several ways to look for an apartment. Very productive and also well structured are specialized online portals for real estate. With these one becomes very fast f?ndig and gets often a quite good impression and can already make itself times a picture of the dwelling. But you should know that there will be a lot of applicants for these ads. This is especially true in metropolitan areas such as Zurich, Basel and Bern. If you would like to receive the new offers by e-mail, you can set this up on most pages by creating a search subscription.

Somewhat less popular, but by no means worse, is the possibility to search on private ad portals. There, mostly previous tenants look for a possible new tenant. These offers can be somewhat cheaper than on the pure apartment portals. However, the search can be a bit more laborious.

Local daily newspapers sometimes offer an online edition of the advertising section in addition to the printed version.


Apartment search in Switzerland: stack of newspapers with classified ads

After the inspection of the apartment

After viewing the apartment, one usually receives a registration form. This form is filled out if you are interested and sent directly to the landlord or, in most cases, to the administration together with a current debt enforcement information or a comparable document.

The debt enforcement information only makes sense if you are already registered in Switzerland. However, if you are not yet registered in Switzerland, it is no problem to provide comparable information on creditworthiness and outstanding debt collection from your previous country of residence. Particular importance is attached to being up-to-date. For comparison: The debt enforcement information is expected to be no older than 14 days. The costs for a debt enforcement information are around CHF 20.00 and can be obtained from the local authority at the debt collection office.

It is advisable to enclose a short personal cover letter and copies of identification. In the cover letter it is best to briefly introduce yourself and why you would like to have this apartment. These two things are not expected, but it will make you stand out from the other applications.

The registration form often asks for references. These are the previous landlord and the employer. You have to expect that they will be called and inquired about. Therefore it is recommended to inform the given references in advance.

The rental contract

As a rule, 1-3 months' rent is required as a deposit. This is deposited in an interest-bearing account in your name and will be released and paid out after you move out. The deposit is a security deposit for damages incurred. In the contract the word "rent" also appears, this means nothing else than the cold rent. The apartment is handed over thoroughly cleaned and not, as in many other countries, only broom clean. At the handover, all possible damages will be recorded exactly and rework will be recorded. It often happens that the new tenant, previous tenant and landlord or property management are present at the handover. This means that the previous tenant and the new tenant receive the same handover protocol. After the move, one must register with the municipality within the next 14 days. Especially in more rural areas it is very welcome to invite the neighbours for an apero after moving in or at least to say "Grüezi" for a short time. In the city, however, this is hardly ever done.

Looking for an apartment in Switzerland: apartment keys are on a rental contract and the status report

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