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Old 28.09.2015, 14:42
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Dog owners, how did you get your flat? Tips and advise please.

Hello,

It's been almost 2 weeks since my husband and I arrived in Zurich with our dog. We've been going to viewings everyday since we landed. We have applied to several flats so far and are waiting to hear back, while still going to every viewings we can go. Some of them allow dogs, and some of them don't say anything. But, we are still going and submitting applications.

My questions is... are there any tips and advises on how to get a flat with a dog?

I see so many people with dogs around the city, but only few flats are advertised to allow pets. And, I am wondering how are these people getting their dogs in?

What we've been doing is going to viewings and not mention anything about having a dog, but explain what kind of dog we have on the cover letter with her picture and attach a short reference from our ex-landlord from the U.S. saying that our dog does no harm to neighbours or properties. We haven't heard back from any of the landlords yet (expecting to hear back this week), so not sure if this strategy works.

I have read from an old thread to mention about the dog when you're about to sign the contract or even bring the dog to the viewing and show them my dog is small enough and well behaved.

And, today, my husband heard from people at his workplace not to mention about having a dog AT ALL to the landlord. I am thinking... well what if the landlord finds out later??? Has anyone here done this?

FYI, we have a 6 years old pug who is friendly and quiet (everyone loves her once they meet her), and we are trying to move in by November 1st with a max budget of 1850.

Suggestions from real experiences of dog owners will be greatly appreciated!
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Old 28.09.2015, 14:57
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Re: Dog owners, how did you get your flat? Tips and advise please.

It is very hard- and even worse in the UK- to get a flat with a dog, let alone a large breed. My only advice is to move further out ir more rural areas, and accept a flat which is less 'all singing, all dancing' without expensive parquets which may mark with claws, etc.

Many of the people who live in my rural area (far too far for you but great for Neuchâtel and even Lausanne) do so to have large apartments with gardens where they are allowed to have pets, several with horses, at much lower rents too. A longer commute may well be your only answer.
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Old 28.09.2015, 15:08
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Re: Dog owners, how did you get your flat? Tips and advise please.

A friend of mine managed to get a flat which was advertised 'no pets'.... She just explained she had a small, old, well-trained terrier...

A pug is a small dog and I assume your dog is properly house-trained, so I would make sure that is clearly communicated with any application...

Or don't tell them until you get an offer... At which point you say 'oh, we have a small, well-trained pug, is that OK?'
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Old 28.09.2015, 15:12
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Re: Dog owners, how did you get your flat? Tips and advise please.

Try searching for places using www.immoscout24.ch, www.home.ch and www.homegate.ch. All have options for "Pets Allowed" as a filter and for Zurich canton come up with over 800+ places. I didn't filter anything else so that total may come down somewhat once you enter what you're looking for.

I agree with Odile, think about looking further out of the city and even look at houses as well as apartments. I wouldn't advise keeping quiet about your pet, it could cause problems later - landlords can cancel a contract for any reason if they're not happy so you could find yourself moving in, only to have to move out again in 6/7 months when the landlord finds out about the dog and gives you notice to quit the property.
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Old 28.09.2015, 15:26
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Re: Dog owners, how did you get your flat? Tips and advise please.

One issue is that you are looking in the most sought after budget range. You are competing with so many other prospective tenants, many if not most of whom do not have the 'baggage' that many landlords consider a dog to be. So a landlord often simply has no reason to spend time looking at your application when he has plenty of 'easier' people to choose from.

So I would recommend first raising your budget. Many dog owners have to pay well over the odds in order to find an appropriate flat. Simply a fact of life here, dog ownership means you need to be ready and able to take on additional expenses.

If you absolutely cannot stretch your budget any further then you need to look at less desirable properties, in less desirable areas, where there is less competition. Look for properties that are run down, that are not easily accessible to public transportation, that are a longer commute outside the city, etc.

The ZH lakeside suburbs will be expensive, so look in the towns away from the lake. Look in cantons AG, SG, and, believe it or not, SZ. Yes, SZ has some of the highest property prices in the country, but small older properties that cannot be turned into a luxury villa remain a very good value, lake view included.

I would in the strongest of terms counsel against trying to conceal th fact that you have a dog. You would be setting yourself, and your dog, up for a world of hurt. If you do not have permission too keep a dog you could be kicked out of the flat, or worse, forced to abandon your dog when tha landlord refuses to let him live there but also refuses to let you out of the contract. Do not, repeat, do not go that way.

So how did I find my house (many years ago, in a similarly tight market) with two dogs? By doing the above, paying too much for a small inconvenient old house that was a bit tattered around the edges. But it had a huge glorious garden, heaven for the mutts. My secret weapon, though, was to use a relocation agent who negotiated the deal, and who was herself 'dog friendly'. When you are a less than ideal tenant, having a well connected agent who is explicitly working for you can be the thing that swings the deal. Again an additional,expense, but I will repeat my comment above: dog ownership,is expensive in Switzerland.

But first, you really have to look where you will have less competition. This won't be the last compromise you will need to make in order to give your dog a good life in Switzerland.

Good luck.

ETA:

What prompted this move? If you were brought over here by your company, is house hunting help from the company available?

Last edited by meloncollie; 28.09.2015 at 15:44.
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Old 28.09.2015, 16:56
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Re: Dog owners, how did you get your flat? Tips and advise please.

I haven't read all the advice posted yet, and I'm sure MC's is excellent, but to answer your question: we got our flat first, then the dog.

To answer your need, though, I would suggest two things:
  • First, rent from a large agency. Owners are more likely to be concerned about the damage a dog might do.
  • Second, go to the showing and don't say anything about the dog until you've convinced the lessor that you'd be a great fit, very long-term, stable and calm. Then mention that you have a very well-behaved dog and ask if they're allowed.

I've been looking at a lot of flats lately, trying to find the right one for our boy, and I've had more than a few where dogs were not advertised as allowed, but by the time I brought up the point the lessor was willing to take me on (including two building owners who thought about it a while before deciding that we were high enough on their list of candidates that they'd be willing to take the dog as part of the package).

Unfortunately for me, we eventually decided against all those apartments, but at least I know it's possible. ;-)
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Old 28.09.2015, 17:24
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Re: Dog owners, how did you get your flat? Tips and advise please.

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I've been looking at a lot of flats lately, trying to find the right one for our boy, and I've had more than a few where dogs were not advertised as allowed, but by the time I brought up the point the lessor was willing to take me on (including two building owners who thought about it a while before deciding that we were high enough on their list of candidates that they'd be willing to take the dog as part of the package).

Unfortunately for me, we eventually decided against all those apartments, but at least I know it's possible. ;-)
Thanks, Corbets, for sharing your experience! I have a question:

Before they consider you as a serious candidate, did you mention on your application form that you do have a dog or did you leave it blank and then brought it up later once they got serious with you?

Every application asks if we have a dog, and I have been answering yes so far. I would like to know if I should just leave it blank until I actually get to talk to them in person.
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Old 28.09.2015, 18:18
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Re: Dog owners, how did you get your flat? Tips and advise please.

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Thanks, Corbets, for sharing your experience! I have a question:

Before they consider you as a serious candidate, did you mention on your application form that you do have a dog or did you leave it blank and then brought it up later once they got serious with you?

Every application asks if we have a dog, and I have been answering yes so far. I would like to know if I should just leave it blank until I actually get to talk to them in person.
If you decide to mention that you have a dog, write in the application form that you are fully insured for any problems that could arise from the dog (even though this is mandatory, it makes a positive impression as it shows you are responsible) and that you are willing to sign an addendum relating to your responsibilities towards the dog and the flat.

My advice re: looking for a flat with a pet in tow
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Old 28.09.2015, 18:42
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Re: Dog owners, how did you get your flat? Tips and advise please.

Hello there,

First of all, let me reassure you, it is definitely possible to get exactly what you are looking for, even with a dog. I have moved twice within Basel (I know it's not ZH, but I don't think everything works completely different there).

I applied for five flats and got positive replies from four of them despite the fact that I have a Tibetan terrier (about twice the size of your dog) and that there were many (many, many) applicants for most of the apartments I applied for (at one viewing there were like 50 or something).

My ex works for a real estate agency and she explained me how they handle applications. I assume this is valid for most (big) real estate agents (but not necessarily).

Anyway, here are some tips...

1. Be quick. They always review applications in order as they receive them. (Tip: Some agencies already attach the application form with the ad. Print it out, fill it out, attach a recommendation letter from your employer, attach a Betreibungsauszug and if you like the apartment, give them the application at the viewing.)

2. Don't stretch your budget. I think by law you are only allowed to pay like one third of your gross monthly income for housing (I'm not 100% sure). In any case, this is the first thing they check. If the rent is close to your maximum budget, it is very likely they will put your file aside and return to it only if they find no "perfect" candidate.

3. Get a good recommendation letter from your employer. Especially if you work for a big company (pharma industry, banks, ...). Put this on top so they read it first. You only have one chance to make a good first impression. (If the first thing they see is a photo of your dog, they might not even look at the rest.)

4. Unless you speak perfect German, use English to communicate with them.

5. Tell them you can take your dog with you to work (even better if it's true :-)). Basically what worries them the most is that your dog might be home alone the whole day and he/she might get bored and become destructive.

This is exactly what I did and it worked for me.

Good luck!

Nenad

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Hello,

It's been almost 2 weeks since my husband and I arrived in Zurich with our dog. We've been going to viewings everyday since we landed. We have applied to several flats so far and are waiting to hear back, while still going to every viewings we can go. Some of them allow dogs, and some of them don't say anything. But, we are still going and submitting applications.

My questions is... are there any tips and advises on how to get a flat with a dog?

I see so many people with dogs around the city, but only few flats are advertised to allow pets. And, I am wondering how are these people getting their dogs in?

What we've been doing is going to viewings and not mention anything about having a dog, but explain what kind of dog we have on the cover letter with her picture and attach a short reference from our ex-landlord from the U.S. saying that our dog does no harm to neighbours or properties. We haven't heard back from any of the landlords yet (expecting to hear back this week), so not sure if this strategy works.

I have read from an old thread to mention about the dog when you're about to sign the contract or even bring the dog to the viewing and show them my dog is small enough and well behaved.

And, today, my husband heard from people at his workplace not to mention about having a dog AT ALL to the landlord. I am thinking... well what if the landlord finds out later??? Has anyone here done this?

FYI, we have a 6 years old pug who is friendly and quiet (everyone loves her once they meet her), and we are trying to move in by November 1st with a max budget of 1850.

Suggestions from real experiences of dog owners will be greatly appreciated!
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Old 28.09.2015, 18:51
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Re: Dog owners, how did you get your flat? Tips and advise please.

I moved to Zurich with my wife and a dog from the US. Finding a flat was difficult because we only had one month to find somewhere. Some landlords said no dogs outright. Sometimes we got rejected because of the combination of the dog, not speaking German and being foreigners that are new to the country. One landlord said that because the flat had hardwood floors the sound of the dog's feet would disturb the neighbors downstairs. Many landlords seemed okay with dogs actually. We would search on homegate for pet friendly.

In many of the leases here it says you can only move out around three dates in the year. Something like March 31, June 30 and September 30. If you try to find a flat for a different time it's more difficult because not as many apartments are turning over. This made it harder for us because we needed a flat at the end of January.

We always put that we had a dog (a Mops) on our application. You have to pay so much for a deposit on a flat here. If you got a place that didn't allow dogs and get kicked out you'd lose a huge deposit.

Finding a flat that costs 1850/month would have been nearly impossible in our situation and time frame. It's competitive to find a decent flat at that price for everyone in Zurich. It took us three weeks to find a place after we got here. We took the first place that was nice enough and let us sign the lease. We ended up getting a nice flat in one of the nearby lake suburbs for 2750/month.
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Old 28.09.2015, 20:14
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Re: Dog owners, how did you get your flat? Tips and advise please.

Thank you for amazing tips and advises! This is so encouraging.

We will definitely mention that we are willing to sign a document stating our responsibilities as dog owners. And, we just asked my husband's employer to write a letter for us as well. And, we will definitely get the picture of my dog off the cover letter!

In terms of the budget, we do understand that paying more will open up more options, but it is just not within our means. So, we have to stick with our budget even though it may mean a battling through fierce competitions and compromising on living conditions (which we do not mind as long as there's a patch of grass where my dog can roam to do her business).

I hope I can post a success story here within next few weeks

On a side note, so glad to meet another Mops owner

Last edited by arincoc; 28.09.2015 at 21:13.
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Old 07.10.2015, 17:00
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Re: Dog owners, how did you get your flat? Tips and advise please.

Today we signed a contract!

We did everything that was suggested and recommended above:

We indicated on the application that we have a dog, explained on the cover letter that she is small and well-behaved and that we will take full responsibilities for her, included every document possible to show that we are legit and will be good tenants.

The flat was advertised as pet allowed, the rent was within exactly 1/3 of my husband's salary, it was located right outside of city of Zurich, the previous tenant had already moved out of the flat so it was empty and was available immediately, and the viewing was by appointment only (no public viewing with 100 people looking at the apartment).

So, I think what made the deal successful was the fact that
- the landlord wanted someone to move in immediately and we also wanted a flat to move in immediately
- the flat was pet allowed
- there wasn't much competition since there was no public viewing.

Anyhow, we are so relieved now. It was actually one of our top choices for its location, condition and price, so we were so happy when they offered us the flat. Hopefully, it actually turns out to be a good apartment and we will live happily after

Thank you everyone for all your experiences and suggestions!
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Old 07.10.2015, 17:09
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Re: Dog owners, how did you get your flat? Tips and advise please.

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Today we signed a contract!

We did everything that was suggested and recommended above:

We indicated on the application that we have a dog, explained on the cover letter that she is small and well-behaved and that we will take full responsibilities for her, included every document possible to show that we are legit and will be good tenants.

The flat was advertised as pet allowed, the rent was within exactly 1/3 of my husband's salary, it was located right outside of city of Zurich, the previous tenant had already moved out of the flat so it was empty and was available immediately, and the viewing was by appointment only (no public viewing with 100 people looking at the apartment).

So, I think what made the deal successful was the fact that
- the landlord wanted someone to move in immediately and we also wanted a flat to move in immediately
- the flat was pet allowed
- there wasn't much competition since there was no public viewing.

Anyhow, we are so relieved now. It was actually one of our top choices for its location, condition and price, so we were so happy when they offered us the flat. Hopefully, it actually turns out to be a good apartment and we will live happily after

Thank you everyone for all your experiences and suggestions!
That was fast.
Do you have an extra document/paragraph in your contract pertaining to your dog?

Congratulations!
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Old 07.10.2015, 17:12
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Re: Dog owners, how did you get your flat? Tips and advise please.

Thank you! Oh yes. We did sign a separate document for dog ownership and responsibilities!
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Old 01.11.2015, 14:54
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Re: Dog owners, how did you get your flat? Tips and advise please.

The landlady to my flat initially didn't allow dogs but I said that was a deal breaker, because we have a small 13 year old dog. She ended up letting us bring her because my dog was older and well behaved
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Old 01.11.2015, 15:02
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Re: Dog owners, how did you get your flat? Tips and advise please.

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The landlady to my flat initially didn't allow dogs but I said that was a deal breaker, because we have a small 13 year old dog. She ended up letting us bring her because my dog was older and well behaved
I know there are some landlords who are flexible with regards to an older pet. But I know of some cases where the contract specifically stated that no new dogs would be allowed. To me that seems fair.
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