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Old 05.05.2011, 10:13
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Swiss agency accommodation offers in Zurich

After reading various threads here (in this forum and also in MarketPlace) I'm getting the impression that accommodation can be problematic in Zurich.

After raising this with the Swiss agency (who will be paying me on salary, as the whole "form your own company" thing is too expensive for me to consider at this stage) they are insistent that finding accommodation is easy, that they will help with this and that rent will be deducted from my salary at source.

I gave my requirements as just a single room but with internet connectivity a must have. They claim this should be around 1000 CHF a month and would not be a problem at all. When I raised concerns based on what I've seen here I was told that this was most likely because those applying were on Class-L permits whereas as a company they had much more choice and acceptance.

Does this sound likely, or is it just agency BS to get me to sign a contract?

Am tempted to go ahead because I've had too much "down time" in the UK, but the contract represents a real risk to me if it should be terminated early because suddenly I'll be on UK 40% tax instead of what I've been used to paying through my UK company. The rate being offered is about £100/day more than my usual UK rate, although the same company in London seems to be offering even higher rates than that (I just can't seem to break into the highly paid area other than by going to Switzerland).
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Old 05.05.2011, 10:29
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Re: Swiss agency accommodation offers in Zurich

yes you are right finding good accommodation in Zurich is very difficult and there are an awful lot of people out there wanting to cheat you out of your money, so if your agency can finding you a suitable room for 1000chf a month and they will be taking care of the lease etc, then in the short term I would say let them, they are local, speak the language and are then resonsible under law, not you, so you could ask them to arrange a short lease until you see if you will stay and learn the area a little and make some contacts, this is all much easier when you are in Zurich than from afar
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Old 05.05.2011, 10:43
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Re: Swiss agency accommodation offers in Zurich

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.. they are insistent that finding accommodation is easy, that they will help with this and that rent will be deducted from my salary at source.
Do they really promise to find the accomodation? You say you only need one room, but is that what you mean? That you would be prepared to live in a sort of WG with people don't know - with one 'private room' and use of kitchen plus use of bathroom? Or do you mean a one roomed self contained flat? And does the firm mean the same as you mean?
It is pretty certain that a firm has contacts which would make it easier for them to find a rental than a private person could do, certainly someone not even here. They might have a rental agency they have worked with before.

However, it needs a bit of checking. What is said now sometimes varies slightly from what actually happens - you land at Zürich Airport and find you have a dark hole of a single, unfurnished room...

Read all about various situations of expectation and the reality of unfulfilled promises on EF. I'm not saying it won't work, but check the small print with a magnifying glass and someone who understands legal 'phrasing'.
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Old 05.05.2011, 11:26
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Re: Swiss agency accommodation offers in Zurich

I would certainly want as much info as possible before agreeing anything with them.

As mentioned:

Is it a room in a shared house ? Not worst case, good to get in a social circle immediately. But 1000 could be considered a bit pricey for this option depending on your location, ie you're not central or lakeside.

Is it a maisonnette with own bathroom and cooking surface - Small option, but self contained so a bit more private and great for a shiort term solution - I'd be happy with 1000chf for that within Zurich city, maybe even Oerlikon/Schwamendingen/Altestetten outskirts.

Are they talking 1000 including bills or excluding (likely to be anything between 120-250 per month)

When they say Zurich, do they mean city and immediate outskirts or as far out as Schlieren, Urdorf, Wallisellen, Binz, Kloten. All county Zurich and really not far - definately get better value out there with a 10-20 minute train ride in to the city. Depends on how important living in the city centre is to you.
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Old 05.05.2011, 12:22
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Re: Swiss agency accommodation offers in Zurich

If they're suggesting a 1 room flat for 1000 CHF, then also ask them how many sq m the flat is - I know of people paying about this much where basically the room is big enough for a bed, a sink and a cooker and that's about it - not much storage / furniture space at all. Personally, I'd want more space than that (depending how long-term you intend to stay there.)

It is tough to find a place in Zürich, but that said there are places available - just those are generally the "less desirable" places. As BigMac#24 said, transport into the city is regular, easy and efficient so if you're looking wider afield, you get more "bang for your buck" - essentially this would be like living in Reading and working in London, for example (although with a much shorter & more pleasant commute)

Finally I'd definitely want to physically view the place before I committed to actually living there...
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Old 05.05.2011, 14:10
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Re: Swiss agency accommodation offers in Zurich

Thanks all for the replies.

At this stage I'm trying not to play up too much to stereotype as "the negative Brit".

Having lived in a room in Saudi Arabia where the electricity kept cutting out every hour and there were cockroaches EVERYWHERE I think I can cope with most situations, at least in the short term.

I took a contract in Ireland where I took a flat "sight unseen" from a friend of the agent who hired me. The flat was OK, but the noise all night from the alcoholic landlord who shared the flat wasn't, and his girlfriend who he'd "split with" (why he was renting out a room) but was now back with were a nightmare, and of course it turned out the guy wasn't a "friend of the agent" at all but a client of a friend who happened to rent out flats. That was an expensive mistake, extricating myself from the rental agreement when I found somewhere new.

I'm coming to Zurich to work and have "lived" in very small B&Bs in the past with no problems so square footage isn't as important to me as being able to sleep OK and having internet connectivity.

In the meantime the contract has arrived with claims that the agency's back office person will talk to me about the accommodation once I've signed the contract. Errrm... no. I'm not signing anything until I have better assurances on the accommodation.

Actually the way the financials are working out and the T&C (20 days "trial period" where they can terminate the contract without paying a penny, only one week's notice for the first 3 months, one month after 3 months) it's looking less and less likely I'll be working in Switzerland after all, but still negotiating over T&C.
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Old 05.05.2011, 14:41
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Re: Swiss agency accommodation offers in Zurich

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Actually the way the financials are working out and the T&C (20 days "trial period" where they can terminate the contract without paying a penny, only one week's notice for the first 3 months, one month after 3 months) it's looking less and less likely I'll be working in Switzerland after all, but still negotiating over T&C.
Good luck with the rest, and obviously the financials are down to you and you only, but I believe that in Switzerland those are pretty standard conditions of employment.

I had a 3 month probation where either party could terminate without financial penalty on one weeks notice, and thereafter once off the probation period it became a 1 month notice.

I'd agree that you shouldn't sign anything until/unless you get some comfort on this accomodation issue...
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Old 05.05.2011, 14:56
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Re: Swiss agency accommodation offers in Zurich

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Good luck with the rest, and obviously the financials are down to you and you only, but I believe that in Switzerland those are pretty standard conditions of employment.

I had a 3 month probation where either party could terminate without financial penalty on one weeks notice, and thereafter once off the probation period it became a 1 month notice.

I'd agree that you shouldn't sign anything until/unless you get some comfort on this accomodation issue...
When I say "without paying a penny" I mean literally that rather than a "financial penalty".

So in worst case scenario (hopefully unlikely) I could do 3 weeks work and in the fourth week they could say "Sorry. we don't think you're up to the job (perhaps because although I'm considered technically proficient based on interviews and work done I haven't got up to speed on some client-specific back-end system in the timeframe they were hoping for). Good bye" and all I would have to show for 3 weeks hard graft is all the money I've spent to get to Switzerland and live there for 3 weeks with not a penny towards any of it.

At least in the UK they'd pay you for the days you'd spent before they'd decided you weren't up to the job.

I've never ever been in a situation where a contract was terminated, but then those interviews involved face to face discussions rather than being solely technical telephone interviews, and I got more opportunity to understand what the precise requirements of the role were, where here it's rather vague based on the fact I'm a "developer" with most of the conversation with the true end client being around them deciding if I met what they think is required for the role, rather than me getting a feel for the specifics.
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