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Old 08.04.2021, 10:48
winchester winchester is offline
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Texas->Basel
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Re: What's the rental situation like in Basel at the mo?

Hi Jess,

Congrats on your move and (a somewhat early) welcome to Basel! My wife and I moved to Basel in October with our dog and cat so I feel like some of your questions are very fresh for me. Also, maybe I'm weird but I really enjoy looking for apartments haha! I probably browsed the real estate aggregator sites that everyone recommends (comparis, immoscout, alle-immobilien, etc) everyday for 6 months before we moved.

First, I will say that in general the rental market in Basel seems like it has a high floor, not a lot of variation, and relatively low competition. What I mean by that is that most of the apartments I saw were pretty good and fairly similar. All of the neighborhoods are quite safe, living space is mostly in a narrow range, the build quality is high, even the layout of many apartments is strikingly similar. And it is all expensive but not outrageous. In terms of competitiveness, I have lived in places (California) where you had to be prepared to sign a rental contract and put down a deposit on the day you visited an apartment because the landlord might find someone else. That was not the case here and the whole process was actually frustratingly slow. I think a lot of what you read online about Switzerland is actually about Zurich and Geneva and Basel is a little different.

Obviously, this is entirely dependent on the places you've lived before and what your expectations are.

There are some things that I found once we were actually here looking for a place that were a little different from some of the internet research I had done. One thing that was something I read but didn't click until we were here is how small and well connected Basel is. I was very concerned about being close to a tram stop that had a direct connection to work, but everything is way more walkable than I expected. The trams and busses are fantastic and very easy to use if you have a U-Abo.

Another thing that was different was that I found much better prices for apartments looking on Facebook than I did on real estate sites like immoscout24. I got the sense that landlords post empty apartments to real estate sites but when tenets are trying to get out of a lease without providing as much notice they post on Facebook. Maybe this results in lower listing prices? Many of the places we visited were tenets trying to find a suitable replacement for the landlord and we had very little interaction with the building owners/managers. Rent my Space Basel was one of the most active Facebook groups for apartment listings.

Once we did interact with the building management company it seemed like they were more concerned with our employment than our rental history. In fact they didn't ask for rental history at all. The debt register was more like a checkbox thing for them. It is a piece of paper that costs about CHF18 and lets them know you don't have any debt collections against you in Switzerland. However, they will ask you for your employment contract, salary information and residency permit. Also, I would echo what someone said about pets being allowed: it is often not specified so don't filter your results by whether pets are allowed. Just ask. You may even find out there are other dog-owners in the building.

Finding a location that was good for the dog was something that I found it difficult to research before coming to Basel. There are a lot of dogs in the city so obviously many people find a way to give them what they need here. Many people have smaller dogs and I don't see Labs or Goldens as often as in the US.

There are a few notable parks and areas where dogs are not allowed and these places are well marked with signs. Schützmattpark and Kannenfeldpark are large parks in west Basel that unfortunately do not allow dogs. Some parks like St Johanns-park and Birskopfli allow dogs only on the paths, not on the grass. Some places that are great for dogs are Lange Erlen and along the Birs river. Technically I believe dogs are always supposed to be on leash but we always see people with their dogs off leash in these places. There is also a fenced off-leash dog park in Kleinbasel near Messeplatz. No matter where you are there are an abundance of doggy bag stations in the city. Also all of the iconic basilisk fountains have a little dog bowl at the bottom!

I hope this was helpful and not too long!
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