Expat Talk – Renting in and around Zurich

Posted on June 4, 2010

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Renting in and around Zurich can be tricky. Like in some other parts of Switzerland, supply by far exceeds demand, which means that finding accommodation can be a lengthy process. Because availability is limited, several tens of people may express interest in a particular property, which is normal due to the fact that the market is not on a ‘first come first serve’ basis. When this happens, the interested parties are asked to supply as much information about themselves as possible so that the landlord can decide who would be the most appropriate tenant. Information asked for includes their present address, their occupation and salary, whether they have children or pets, and often, also references. This difficulty in finding places to rent has resulted in a curious new trend, whereby prospective tenants send or offer, (sometimes small but sometimes expensive) gifts to the landlord to increase their chances of being chosen.
 
When you are successful in securing a property, you will have to pay a month’s worth of rent up front, as well as a deposit equal to that of 1 to 3 months. You will get your deposit back once your lease expires. Before moving out, the landlord will inspect the property for any visible damages and will reduce their cost from your initial deposit.
 
Should you wish to terminate your lease, you will have to do so on dates stipulated on your contract, usually in March or September. You need to tell your landlord about three months in advance that you wish to leave, and during that time he may send people to view the property in order to secure his next tenant. Before moving, you are also obliged to leave the accommodation spotlessly clean. The standards of cleanliness expected are high and if the landlord is dissatisfied, he can hire a cleaning company to do the job properly and deduct the cost from your deposit.
 
Another and more straightforward way of securing a property to rent is by finding someone who is interested in sub-letting, or who is moving out before the stipulated end of his lease and needs someone to take over. In both cases, you will still need the approval of the landlord.
 
There are other facts to keep in mind when renting in and around Zurich. Properties are usually unfurnished(this also means not having any light fittings included) and the rent price can include extra service charges like, for example, that of garbage disposal. Electricity and water bills may or may not be included in the rent price.
 
Finally, renting in Zurich comes with a whole set of rules. Landlords are strict when it comes to implementing them, and neighbours will voice their complaints if you break them. Most of them are common sense and are a way of showing respect to neighbours, like not making noise after 8 pm (including not using washing machines or tumble dryers) and not having barbeques on balconies.

– published on Expat Arrivals Zurich

– Text and Photography by Denise Pulis @ www.travelwithdenden.wordpress

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Posted in: Expat Talk, Zurich