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Old 11.06.2020, 23:23
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Swiss apartments vs USA apartments

Hi Everyone,

Ill get right into it.

I lived in a apartment in the Philadelphia area paying $1500.00 a month. To me I felt I could find something decent with this budget of mine but clearly not. I got a two bedroom apartment on the top floor.

I had to call police three times on neighbors below me due to screaming and obvious family issues, I was actually worried. It kept happening and we heard everything below us. TV could be heard, simple conversations and weekend family reunions. The floor constantly creaked below our feet as well from a poorly built apartment building.

I had Marijuana smell coming into my apartment from the neighbor beside me and below me and from my front door. Individuals would smoke in the hallway of the building and set off the fire alarm. I had to purchase an air filter to handle the smell, what bothered me the most was my kids having to sleep with it in their bedroom.

Trash was left outside of the dumpster every weekend and would overflow leaving a huge mess. People would throw trash everywhere around the apartment building as well.

We would have individuals smoking outside the front door of the apartment and young thugs would hang out on the steps of the building and scream and yell all day long.

So, I have not had the best experience from this apartment living in the states. I am in Lausanne now looking for a apartment and looking for work. I have two little girls.

Can you please give me some advice as to what to look for regarding apartments here in Switz.
Are apartments this bad as described above here in Switz?
I am not one to have to live in the city, is living out of the city a better option if I am looking for a decent, quiet apartment?
Would appreciate advice from people that have had apartment experiences in the states to be able to compare them to Switz.

Thank you so much for the time I appreciate it.
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Old 11.06.2020, 23:55
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Re: Swiss apartments vs USA apartments

Please don´t call the country Switz otherwise young thugs will be the least of your problems.
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Old 12.06.2020, 08:49
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Re: Swiss apartments vs USA apartments

You would be very lucky to find a two bedroom apartment for $1500 (f1416) in the Lausanne area. But your salary will likely be higher.

We also have problems with noisy neighbours but walls and floors tend to be a lot thicker. Noise rules, which are not always enforced, call for quiet between 10PM and 6AM.

Have a look through the complaints forum here to see the types of problems that do occur here. However you rarely hear from people that are very happy with their situation. So a grain of salt is necessary.

Prices will be lower in the more rural areas and the train service is very good from the main towns.

Last edited by bowlie; 12.06.2020 at 09:01.
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Old 12.06.2020, 09:13
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Re: Swiss apartments vs USA apartments

I'm sorry, are you just here visiting and decided you wanted to live here? What is your residence permit situation? This is a quite unusual post. You live in Philly, but your bio says Atlanta, but you just happen to be in Lausanne at the moment?

In any apartment building, in any part of the world, you will have to deal with people living close to you and relevant noises/smells. The trash system is highly controlled here, so at least you will have a break there, unless you have a murder of crows in your neighborhood like we do

Unless you live in the middle of nowhere, good luck finding a 3 room apartment for $1500. (Might be hard even in the middle of nowhere.) Are you aware in general of the high expenses for almost all goods in Switzerland?
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Old 12.06.2020, 10:51
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Re: Swiss apartments vs USA apartments

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Hi Everyone,

Ill get right into it.

I lived in a apartment in the Philadelphia area paying $1500.00 a month. To me I felt I could find something decent with this budget of mine but clearly not. I got a two bedroom apartment on the top floor.

I had to call police three times on neighbors below me due to screaming and obvious family issues, I was actually worried. It kept happening and we heard everything below us. TV could be heard, simple conversations and weekend family reunions. The floor constantly creaked below our feet as well from a poorly built apartment building.

I had Marijuana smell coming into my apartment from the neighbor beside me and below me and from my front door. Individuals would smoke in the hallway of the building and set off the fire alarm. I had to purchase an air filter to handle the smell, what bothered me the most was my kids having to sleep with it in their bedroom.

Trash was left outside of the dumpster every weekend and would overflow leaving a huge mess. People would throw trash everywhere around the apartment building as well.

We would have individuals smoking outside the front door of the apartment and young thugs would hang out on the steps of the building and scream and yell all day long.

So, I have not had the best experience from this apartment living in the states. I am in Lausanne now looking for a apartment and looking for work. I have two little girls.

Can you please give me some advice as to what to look for regarding apartments here in Switz.
Are apartments this bad as described above here in Switz?
I am not one to have to live in the city, is living out of the city a better option if I am looking for a decent, quiet apartment?
Would appreciate advice from people that have had apartment experiences in the states to be able to compare them to Switz.

Thank you so much for the time I appreciate it.
Lived for a year in an apartment in the Texas coast and I understand the uncomfortable feeling. Random encounters with scary people that did not live there, the trash container was emptied regularly but Texas heat ensured bad smell several months a year, barbecues that started in the afternoon and only ended until the police came.

Most apartments here are quite calm. If you come from a large and messy urban area you may find life in apartments in Switzerland boring. Nothing happens, no noise at all, the trash and compost containers well hidden and emptied regularly. I've been mostly working from home since March 17 and the noisier event has been the gardener taking care of the green areas among apartment buildings. As long as you don't rent next to a highway/railway, above a bar in the city center or next to social housing (or emergency housing not sure how it's called in French), you'll be fine.
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Old 12.06.2020, 10:55
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Re: Swiss apartments vs USA apartments

And how is living in Atlanta?
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Old 12.06.2020, 11:42
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Re: Swiss apartments vs USA apartments

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Please don´t call the country Switz otherwise young thugs will be the least of your problems.
Yes, everyone knows it's pronounced Swiss.
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Old 12.06.2020, 11:52
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Re: Swiss apartments vs USA apartments

Much depends on the neighbourhood you choose, on the building you choose, and on who your neighbours are - today, and with changes going forward.

Just like in the US, and in every corner of the rest of the world, generalizations could likely paint a picture that ends up being quite the opposite of your own individual experience once here.

To give an example: My standard of living, taking into account type of housing available, the things I prioritise and neighbourhood culture here in Schwyz is far lower than my what I had experienced in several towns in the Chicago metro area. My standard of living in a ZH village was lower in terms of accommodation, but pretty much on par in terms of neighbourliness. The best place I have ever lived - scoring highest on quality of housing, space, personal priorities met and lovely neighbours was, believe it or not, Hong Kong.

But had I chosen different neighbourhoods in all of the above, the opposite could have been true.

The only generalisation that might be useful is that on the whole, Swiss society tends to value quiet. How quiet is defined and how it is brought about - enforced even, varies widely. And this can ge a double edged sword - you might relish the quiet, but you and your children could also end up on the wrong end of neighbourhood expectations, walking on eggshells. Or not.

If you browse the forum you will find that posters' experiences are all over the ballpark.

Best thing you can do is to research the areas, buildings you are considering as carefully as you can, and do whatever you can to try to gauge the neighbors' attitiudeds before you sign on the dotted line.

And then join the tenant association!

I see in your profile you are a Swiss citizen. Have you lived here before? If so, did you feel comfortable? If you did back then, you likely will now.

All the best with your move.
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Old 12.06.2020, 13:25
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Re: Swiss apartments vs USA apartments

Might matter to you if you've lived in Atlanta and Philly - Most apartments here don't have air conditioning. Or bug screens on the windows.
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Old 12.06.2020, 13:59
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Re: Swiss apartments vs USA apartments

Apartment living varies considerably even within a country, nevermind city/region or neighborhood - I'm not convinced you can make any general comparisons without very specific criteria

Apart from that, my personal observations on apt life for the few years I did rent en Suisse:

1) Marijuana is not legal but is not strictly enforced either (Think Berkeley atmosphere) in most medium sized cities so I suspect you will absolutely come across this either where you live or just walking about town

2) You usually need more money up front to rent here (Think 2-3 months deposit) and there are some administrative hoops you have to go through (Search the forum, plenty of threads on this)

3) Lot of older apartments have crépi walls rather than smooth (Presumably drywalls). A bit like a rough stucco finish which annoys me terribly but continues to be popular for some reason

4) I believe you will find much better quality appliances & workmanship here although garbage disposals are not something I think I have ever seen in Switzerland

5) We are a recycling country so learn how to recycle and where your local center is - especially since garbage bags are effectively taxed

6) There are noise ordinances in every commune that can vary, so learn these rules as well

7) There is far more bureaucracy for everything en Suisse from the nameplate on your mailbox to using shared laundryrooms - again, rules to learn

At the end of the day, en Suisse, if you want a nice 2BR - you are sure to find one that suits your taste in Lausanne (City, lakeside, suburbs or countryside). Per usual here, all depends on what you are willing to pay

Bienvenue & good luck
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Old 12.06.2020, 14:39
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Re: Swiss apartments vs USA apartments

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1) Marijuana is not legal but is not strictly enforced either (Think Berkeley atmosphere) in most medium sized cities so I suspect you will absolutely come across this either where you live or just walking about town
Marijuana with under 1% THC is legal, and sold in most shops (e.g. Lidl, Coop) in the form of "green cigarettes" (mixed with tobacco). Joints are freely available in head shops. Plants of low-THC strains are sold in grow shops.
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