Traditionally, most expats preferred to rent as opposed to buy during their stay in Switzerland, although there is now a growing tendency towards home ownership, due in part to the bilateral agreements with the EU on the free movement of workers and residents.
Rental agreements are of a standard format and based on Swiss regulations. A typical rental agreement will stipulate the rental value, costs for heating, water etc., the start date of the lease, the termination conditions and the security deposit required. By law, the landlord may ask for one–three month's rent as a security deposit to be paid into a savings account at a bank. Normally, termination dates are only at the end of March, June and September, and it is customary to give three months notice. If you find another person willing to take over the lease (a "Nachmieter"), you may terminate your rental agreement prior to the termination date. A garage or parking space is normally separate to the rental price.
There are many good websites where you can look for properties to buy and rent.
Useful links for property searches:
Apartments in Switzerland are usually rented unfurnished, but a kitchen always comes fully equipped with electrical appliances built in.
Important when renting:
The tenant has the right to move into a clean and functional apartment. The formal handover of the apartment takes place on the day you agreed with the landlord. The tenant and landlord inspect the condition of the apartment together and record any defects in writing on a protocol form. If you notice damages which were not visible when you signed the protocol, inform your landlord within two weeks. It is important that you do so in writing.
The tenant is responsible for «minor repairs». These could include water taps, electrical switches and sockets, repairing or replacing broken door locks, etc...
In most cases the costs for small improvements should not exceed a reference value of CHF 150 per repair. Check well your general terms and conditions of the rental contract for more detail. You will also be expected to carry out all repairs that fall under minor repairs before you move out of your apartment.
It is important that you report immediately defects which you can not remedy yourself. If you fail to do so, you may be made liable for the damage caused by not reporting the defect.
We recommend to take a private liability insurance which will cover certain damages.
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