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Old 26.07.2011, 17:12
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Am I doing it wrong ? [trying to rent a place]

Hi !

I'd like to have your opinion on one thing. My husband has a job in Zurich starting september 1st. So it is time for us to find a place to live.
We plan to come in CH in august for 10 days, and visit as much as we can, and hopefully find a place we like. And above all, a place that any landlord would accept to rent us !

But here are the kickers : we don't have any swiss bank account yet, no private liability since you have to have an address in CH to get one (but I read that no landlord would rent a flat without private liability...), we have a small budget according to CH standard and we have a dog. We have nothing that proves that we are reliable persons.

So I am wondering if I am too optimistic thinking we can find a place within 10 days (we also secured a furnished flat for september just in case). I am afraid that no landlord would consider us as we won't have a good profile for them, and that they would pick any other person with a better salary and no dog (which I can understand).

So, do you think it is useless to come in august, that we won't find anything in that short period of time with our profile ? Should we find instead a longer furnished flat to stay to have more chance to find a place ?

I read so many thread saying how difficult it is to find a place to stay in Zurich and surroundings...

I have to confess, i am a bit worried about that ....

Thanks for your advices !
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Old 26.07.2011, 17:46
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Re: Am I doing it wrong ?

Many apartments have contracts which run until 1 st May and/or 1st November, (Wrong dates for Zurich, see later posts)
so until the middle of September there will not be a lot to choose from.

With the dog and moving to Zurich, it might be easier to make the move in two stages.

Husband comes over 1. Sept and assesses the housing market, takes a flat share, http://www.wgzimmer.ch/home.cfm?land=CH&pFlash=0&Lang=D

Do not send any money, only pay any deposit, personally, into a Swiss bank a/c !!

Wife comes over middle October with dog for final decision, stays with husband in temporary apartment. Dog goes in kennels every evening. Move into new apartment 1st November.

Last edited by Ittigen; 26.07.2011 at 18:41.
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Old 26.07.2011, 17:50
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Re: Am I doing it wrong ?

I managed to secure an apartment by showing them my job contract and my mortgage statements. They were happy with that. I haven't moved yet. And don't have a residence permit, and therfore no bank account or that no-debt thing.
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Old 26.07.2011, 18:10
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Re: Am I doing it wrong ?

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I managed to secure an apartment by showing them my job contract and my mortgage statements. They were happy with that. I haven't moved yet. And don't have a residence permit, and therfore no bank account or that no-debt thing.
Well, that is a good news.
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Old 26.07.2011, 18:13
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Re: Am I doing it wrong ?

I'm not that lucky, the landlord insisted that they have to see me, and I have to see the apartment myself, before they can lease it to me :-(
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Old 26.07.2011, 18:14
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Re: Am I doing it wrong ?

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Many apartments have contracts which run until 1 st May and/or 1st November, so until the middle of September there will not be a lot to choose from.
Really??

I was under the impression the big move dates with April 1st and October 1st - with termination dates being 31st Dec and 30th June (respectively).

Mind you that impression is only based on all the contracts I have signed over the last 7 years - 4 flats, 4 parking spaces and a bastelraum.

Mid-August will be as good as time as any to find a place (online) but be warned, the Swiss take their summer holidays very seriously so you may find some agents on holiday.

I'd pre-book as many visits as possible. There are plenty of cheaper areas around Zurich with suitable open space for the dog.
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Old 26.07.2011, 18:28
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Re: Am I doing it wrong ?

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I managed to secure an apartment by showing them my job contract and my mortgage statements. They were happy with that. I haven't moved yet. And don't have a residence permit, and therfore no bank account or that no-debt thing.
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Really??

I was under the impression the big move dates with April 1st and October 1st - with termination dates being 31st Dec and 30th June (respectively).

Mind you that impression is only based on all the contracts I have signed over the last 7 years - 4 flats, 4 parking spaces and a bastelraum.

Mid-August will be as good as time as any to find a place (online) but be warned, the Swiss take their summer holidays very seriously so you may find some agents on holiday.

I'd pre-book as many visits as possible. There are plenty of cheaper areas around Zurich with suitable open space for the dog.
Thank you very much for your answer, that's reassuring ! I thought I had to wait the last minute to ask for visit, but I'll take your pre-book advice.

Thanks again !
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Old 26.07.2011, 18:35
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Re: Am I doing it wrong ? [trying to rent a place]

In the city of Zurich the main "moving dates" (i.e. default termination dates if nothing else is mentioned in the lease) are
- 31 March
- 30 September

Outside of Zurich (but always within the Canton of Zurich) you might also have
- 30 June

see:
http://www.hev-zuerich.ch/recht/haeufigste-fragen.htm
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Old 26.07.2011, 19:33
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Re: Am I doing it wrong ? [trying to rent a place]

Before us coming over in June I went to Zrh for 10 days for househunting. I was fully booked with appointments for viewings and in the end found us house this way. All my appointments I made via comparis and calling/emailing the contact persons.
Most landlords were just asking for a copy of my jobcontract and that seemed enough, of course I had no Swiss bank account yet and paid my first month rent from my overseas account. Actually, our landlord did not ask at all about my contract or anything. I guess the big difference is I was looking for houses (not apartments) in the smaller villages around Zurich and not the city itself, I guess there is less "competition" here for house hunting.

Good luck,
(hubby of Amanda)
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Old 26.07.2011, 20:58
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Re: Am I doing it wrong ? [trying to rent a place]

I start a job in Zurich in August and last week visited for 3 days to sort out my contract and view some flats. I ended up applying for 3 apartments....1 that I really wanted, 1 as a back-up because my future boss thought I should have a back-up, and the third I applied for after returning to the UK because I was a little paranoid I wouldn't get either of the other two. Today I heard I got my first choice apartment! Then a couple hours later got an email that I could have the third one if my boss acted as a guarantor.

The documents I submitted were the application forms, a letter from me explaining what a great guy I am (honestly, I am) and a letter from my future boss saying he knew me and had hired me. The third place wanted a copy of my contract. Maybe I was lucky, but I could have just applied to the one apartment I wanted and I would have been successful. Oh, I also got a copy of my Equifax credit report and sent them the portion that deals with delinquencies.

I'm fine with paying the CHF100 to the third apartment for not accepting their offer, but I wonder if my boss says he won't act as a guarantor (might be the case as this was never discussed), if it will be viewed as me declining the offer or if the offer will be withdrawn and therefor I am not liable?
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Old 26.07.2011, 21:15
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Re: Am I doing it wrong ? [trying to rent a place]

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a letter from my future boss saying he knew me and had hired me.
That's a great idea, I'll do that too !


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I'm fine with paying the CHF100 to the third apartment for not accepting their offer, but I wonder if my boss says he won't act as a guarantor (might be the case as this was never discussed), if it will be viewed as me declining the offer or if the offer will be withdrawn and therefor I am not liable?
I would try saying your boss refuses to be your guarantor. If you're that lucky, your offer will be withdrawn (and you'll save 100chf - but seriously, that would be a lot of luck, you should play lottery), otherwise, they will keep the 100CHF anyway... Nothing to loose I guess (well actually, there is 100CHF to loose but technically, you've already lost them )

Thanks for your post ! I just learn about the money you loose when you decline a offer... I thought I would apply to as many flat as possible (if they suit me of course) but I guess I'll have to change my strategy....
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Old 26.07.2011, 21:20
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Re: Am I doing it wrong ? [trying to rent a place]

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Whats your budget again? I still have one apartment that will be free end of Sept. I think the 25th? Thats too late, I know. But if youre desperate I can help you out on the rent for the first 2 months.
Our budget is 1600CHF max. 25th of september wouldn't be too late, we have a furnished flat secured for september in case we wouldn't find anything.
I post a thread in the "ad for property" section with more details if you need.

Thank you so much for your offer in case of desperation ! I'll let you know if we reach that point !
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Old 26.07.2011, 21:30
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Re: Am I doing it wrong ? [trying to rent a place]

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Our budget is 1600CHF max. 25th of september wouldn't be too late, we have a furnished flat secured for september in case we wouldn't find anything.
I post a thread in the "ad for property" section with more details if you need.

Thank you so much for your offer in case of desperation ! I'll let you know if we reach that point !
Let me know if you want to come by for a look at it. Thats obviously below the asking price but if you need something for 2 or three months I think that will be fine as long as the wife approves. Its unfurnished. 2 bed, one bath (120sqr mtrs), nice little yard (about 500sqr meters). Wood floors and the building is 130 years old. Its 20 min driving from Zurich.
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Old 26.07.2011, 21:30
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Re: Am I doing it wrong ? [trying to rent a place]

I was just about to say that to rent, you'd generally need:

a. your residence permit
b. a copy of the betreibung which you can get from the gemeinde with your residence permit.

Chicken-and-egg. So seeing that you have none of the above, you will simply have to go on your work contract. Not ideal but hey If possible, get your husband's employer to write a letter on top of the work contract to say that he is a valued employee and is here to stay. Stick it on top of every single application. That will be reassuring especially more so, if its from the big boys, like CS, UBS, Swisscom, Alstom etc.

Also, if you are currently renting, have your landlord write a letter of what exemplary tenants you've been - dog quiet, never late on rent, clean, quiet etc etc.

Personally, I will also go one step further to write an introductory letter about yourself and your family situation. Puts a face and personal touch to what might come across as an incomplete application, and hopefully make them think twice about throwing it in to the bin.

In August, make as many appointments as you can but there is no rush to send in applications for every apartment you see. Read carefully the fine print about admin charges etc before signing and submitting anything.

I have to be brutally honest, 1600CHF is not going to get you many choices in the city. A quick search on homegate showed me that there are only 26 choices for a 2.5 zimmer (1 bedroom) under 1600CHF whereas expanding it to Dietikon, Dubendorf, Uster gets you much more choice. If you are comfortable, let us know your husband's max commute time preference, as well as an indication of his work place location and I am pretty sure lots of Zurichers are more than happy to point you in the right direction to narrow down your search area. Good luck and welcome in advance!
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Old 26.07.2011, 21:45
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Re: Am I doing it wrong ? [trying to rent a place]

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If possible, get your husband's employer to write a letter on top of the work contract to say that he is a valued employee and is here to stay. Stick it on top of every single application.
Good tips! I forgot to mention that we used the word "permanent/ly" at least twice in my boss' and my letter. Definitely make them know/think you are here to stay.
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Old 27.07.2011, 00:14
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Re: Am I doing it wrong ? [trying to rent a place]

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I was just about to say that to rent, you'd generally need:

a. your residence permit
b. a copy of the betreibung which you can get from the gemeinde with your residence permit.

Chicken-and-egg. So seeing that you have none of the above, you will simply have to go on your work contract. Not ideal but hey If possible, get your husband's employer to write a letter on top of the work contract to say that he is a valued employee and is here to stay. Stick it on top of every single application. That will be reassuring especially more so, if its from the big boys, like CS, UBS, Swisscom, Alstom etc.

Also, if you are currently renting, have your landlord write a letter of what exemplary tenants you've been - dog quiet, never late on rent, clean, quiet etc etc.

Personally, I will also go one step further to write an introductory letter about yourself and your family situation. Puts a face and personal touch to what might come across as an incomplete application, and hopefully make them think twice about throwing it in to the bin.

In August, make as many appointments as you can but there is no rush to send in applications for every apartment you see. Read carefully the fine print about admin charges etc before signing and submitting anything.

I have to be brutally honest, 1600CHF is not going to get you many choices in the city. A quick search on homegate showed me that there are only 26 choices for a 2.5 zimmer (1 bedroom) under 1600CHF whereas expanding it to Dietikon, Dubendorf, Uster gets you much more choice. If you are comfortable, let us know your husband's max commute time preference, as well as an indication of his work place location and I am pretty sure lots of Zurichers are more than happy to point you in the right direction to narrow down your search area. Good luck and welcome in advance!
Thank you so much for all your advices ! I'll follow them, collecting all that can reassure landlord that we are good people.

Don't worry about being honest, I know that our budget is really low for the area. But this is almost half the salary per month my husband will have, so that really is our top budget. And you are right, finding a place in Zurich will be nearly impossible, so we are looking around. Max. commute time for my husband would be 35/40 min, so it let us a large perimeter around Zurich to explore. And it will be better for our dog to live outside of Zurich anyway.

Thanks again for everything, I'll let you know how the flat hunting goes !
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Old 27.07.2011, 00:44
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Re: Am I doing it wrong ? [trying to rent a place]

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I know that our budget is really low for the area. But this is almost half the salary per month my husband will have, so that really is our top budget.
Thanks again for everything, I'll let you know how the flat hunting goes !
Isn't there some sort of thought that in Switzerland generally, that the landlords don't like to rent to people who are spending more than a third of their income on the rent? Is that a regualtion, or just a rule of thumb with lots of exceptions? Anyone know?
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Old 27.07.2011, 09:44
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Re: Am I doing it wrong ? [trying to rent a place]

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Isn't there some sort of thought that in Switzerland generally, that the landlords don't like to rent to people who are spending more than a third of their income on the rent? Is that a regualtion, or just a rule of thumb with lots of exceptions? Anyone know?
Yes, I heard of that and I am a bit concern about it... A third of our income would be just impossible for us to find a correct place. Hope it won't be a problem....
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Old 27.07.2011, 10:00
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Re: Am I doing it wrong ? [trying to rent a place]

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Isn't there some sort of thought that in Switzerland generally, that the landlords don't like to rent to people who are spending more than a third of their income on the rent? Is that a regualtion, or just a rule of thumb with lots of exceptions? Anyone know?
Thats a good point - it isnt a regulation or written rule as far as I am aware of, but you are definitely not encouraged to spend more than a third of your salary on rent.

OP, if you want to remain in the Zurich kanton, try areas like Uster, Dietikon, Birmensdorf - all these areas are definitely within 35-40 minutes of Zurich HB with a direct Sbahn. If you dont have any luck, you might have to expand your search into the AG kanton with places like Bremgarten etc.
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Old 27.07.2011, 10:20
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Re: Am I doing it wrong ? [trying to rent a place]

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Yes, I heard of that and I am a bit concern about it... A third of our income would be just impossible for us to find a correct place. Hope it won't be a problem....
It will be. Golden rule is 25 to 33% of income should be spent on accommodation.
Is there any way you can get a 2nd income? I think if the family income is CHF 3200 per month, which you've stated, you will have a hard time making ends meet here.
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