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Old 21.06.2012, 14:51
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Sick and tired of this 'hunting game'

To make the long story short, I start hunting for an apartment around Lausanne for almost 3 months ago. We visited more than 50 and applied for half of them. Many were far from Lausanne in the Gros-de-Vaud district (Sarraz, Cossonay etc).

However, recently many tenants are telling us to send our files to the agency after a given period of time because they didn't announce the agency yet (I find this thing very fishy since you have to do that 3 months an advance). Anyway, the same people tell us after 2 or 3 days that the apartment is already given.

Excuse-me, but how this apartment is already given to somebody else when the agency wasn't even announced ?

This thing happened several times, my only conclusion is that tenants are using people's time with endless visits when they have already recommended somebody to the agency.

The whole system is a loop of useless visits and applications, so that the agencies can get busy with this sort of paperwork. Also, I am amazed of the amount of personal data that they are requesting; and usually you are not notified if you were rejected which means you have to call them periodically to find your status. This is completely rubbish!
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Old 21.06.2012, 14:59
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Re: Sick and tired of this 'hunting game'

I was in a similar situation many years back when I moved from the UK to Epalinges. After 4 months of fruitless appt searching I finally snapped, walked into the MD's office and told him that I was returning to the UK if I didn't find somewhere soon (I was staying in a B&B). He asked me to send him a list of properties I was interested in, and a week later I was offered one of the flats on my list.

The moral of the story is, you need contacts or some form of help in difficult areas like Lausanne, Geneva, Zurich etc..
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Old 21.06.2012, 15:07
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Re: Sick and tired of this 'hunting game'

Sorry for your predicatment, but it is very difficult finding housing in Lausanne area.

If you only applied for 25 apts. in 3 months, that is quite low, expect to apply to at least 20 per month, if not more if you are serious in finding something. Otherwise hire a relocation specialist that can help you search, filter, and acquire housing.

From the situation you describe above, seems like they were looking for someone to take over their lease early, and another candidate won out or beat you to it. It is a very competitive housing market.
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Old 21.06.2012, 15:07
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Re: Sick and tired of this 'hunting game'

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To make the long story short, I start hunting for an apartment around Lausanne for almost 3 months ago. We visited more than 50 and applied for half of them. Many were far from Lausanne in the Gros-de-Vaud district (Sarraz, Cossonay etc).

However, recently many tenants are telling us to send our files to the agency after a given period of time because they didn't announce the agency yet (I find this thing very fishy since you have to do that 3 months an advance). Anyway, the same people tell us after 2 or 3 days that the apartment is already given.

Excuse-me, but how this apartment is already given to somebody else when the agency wasn't even announced ?

This thing happened several times, my only conclusion is that tenants are using people's time with endless visits when they have already recommended somebody to the agency.

The whole system is a loop of useless visits and applications, so that the agencies can get busy with this sort of paperwork. Also, I am amazed of the amount of personal data that they are requesting; and usually you are not notified if you were rejected which means you have to call them periodically to find your status. This is completely rubbish!
..and you know what else is funny, these issues hardly show up on any quality of life study Mercer and the likes frequently conduct.
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Old 21.06.2012, 15:24
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Re: Sick and tired of this 'hunting game'

If you have the time, just go directly to the agency in person, if possible, with your paperwork. I applied for an apartment, after a neighbor told me one in her building was vacant, and the agency wasn't even aware that it was available yet. Took another 4 months, but we finally got the "OK" that it was for us. Check out sites like anibis.ch, or message boards at the Migros/Coop, you never know what you'll find on there. And try and get a good recommendation letter from your employer, if you don't have one yet.
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Old 21.06.2012, 15:24
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Re: Sick and tired of this 'hunting game'

What kind of apartment are you looking for?

Usually going outside the city is much easier. So I'm surprise you are even having trouble there.
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Old 21.06.2012, 15:29
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Re: Sick and tired of this 'hunting game'

Running dear is right.

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Sorry for your predicatment, but it is very difficult finding housing in Lausanne area.

From the situation you describe above, seems like they were looking for someone to take over their lease early, and another candidate won out or beat you to it. It is a very competitive housing market.
Last autumn, my partner discovered unexpectedly that the three month notice he gave was not effective because -- unfortunately -- the lease only permitted him to give notice twice a year. That meant, we were totally responsible for finding someone to take over the lease. Bernard Nicod (or Bernard Nicod B@st@rds! as some call them) then made it practically impossible for us to show the flat given how they listed it. We ended up showing it to friends, and recommended them. Bernard Nicod then decided to pick someone else entirely that we had not even met to rent the flat.

The moral of the story is: in Lausanne, there is not much rhyme or reason to the housing market. Buy yourself some really good beer to help suffer through it and just keep applying. And also, do not be afraid (if you can afford it) to pay a bit more as it mean you may be more likely to find something (i.e. less competition at certain price points).
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Old 21.06.2012, 16:40
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Re: Sick and tired of this 'hunting game'

My understanding is that you just need to present one suitable tenant (no outstanding debts, OK income, etc etc) to fulfill the obligation of finding the next one.

There was a place I really wanted, even before visiting (location was perfect, and it was just slightly above my original budget). Visit went well, got on fine with the Swiss couple leaving, had a good friendly chat as well as a nice visit. And the place was perfect.

Submitted my application (with lots of covering documents - permits, betriebungsamtauszug etc etc) to the owner, and also to the leaving tenants. Followed up with respectful phone calls etc etc. In the end (4-6 weeks later) the owner said that unfortunately he was renting to someone else (gave some semi-lame excuse why he was choosing them not me).

That was really disappointing (still gets to me know!) but anyway got somewhere to live in the end.

Fast forward a year or so, and I get an e-mail from the previous tenant of the flat I wanted telling me that the owner is taking them to court to claim back rent money. Justification - tenant did not find a new tenant! The previous Swiss tenants had a couple of questions that I gladly answered*.

The previous tenants' argument was that they presented me, I ticked all the right boxes, and also following our pleasant chat etc they felt comfortable strongly recommended taking me. So I was a perfectly acceptable replacement.

The owner claimed that I was not suitable as an occasional smoker. I e-mailed back the previous tenant to say*
1. yes, occasional smoker (2-3 day if that), but always on the balcony.
2. owner never asked me that, nothing on the rental form etc.

Result was that the previous tenants had done everything right, and that the owner was a fool for not taking me. So the owner lost, and as is the case here, would have picked up opponents' costs as well.
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Old 21.06.2012, 17:20
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Re: Sick and tired of this 'hunting game'

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The whole system is a loop of useless visits and applications, so that the agencies can get busy with this sort of paperwork. Also, I am amazed of the amount of personal data that they are requesting; and usually you are not notified if you were rejected which means you have to call them periodically to find your status. This is completely rubbish!
Welcome to Switzerland!

I've been doing it too, for 10 months, seen about 35 apts (2 or 3 every workday! ), applied for ~25, got 3 (1 from a fellow Hungarian, 1 from a Canadian and 1 from an agency), accepted one. BTW if you don't want to just stand in line, you can apply online in HomeGate (for a nice premium weekly).

I never know what happened with the other 20 applications. But at least all agencies in ZH area know my salary by now!
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Old 21.06.2012, 17:23
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Re: Sick and tired of this 'hunting game'

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..and you know what else is funny, these issues hardly show up on any quality of life study Mercer and the likes frequently conduct.
let this be your biggest problem in life
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Old 22.06.2012, 15:26
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Re: Sick and tired of this 'hunting game'

To be honest, many of them were very nice apartments, some even had terrace, were near the railway station and had nice and spacious rooms. When these 'ingredients' are meeting together there's a lot of trouble outside the city as well. The grouped visits looked almost the same.

Another problem is that we have only one salary and like anywhere else, this is not going to help. We are white and pretty but by all means, I am not going to attach any photos or/and motivation letters to our applications.

Living in this country is like working for a celebrity, at some point you had enough of it (especially when you don't earn enough to accept all the absurdities).
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Old 22.06.2012, 15:35
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Re: Sick and tired of this 'hunting game'

So... what is your point?

(In that topic)



What are you going to do about it? (that's the real question you should ask yourself)
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Old 22.06.2012, 15:36
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Re: Sick and tired of this 'hunting game'

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To be honest, many of them were very nice apartments, some even had terrace, were near the railway station and had nice and spacious rooms. When these 'ingredients' are meeting together there's a lot of trouble outside the city as well. The grouped visits looked almost the same.

Another problem is that we have only one salary and like anywhere else, this is not going to help. We are white and pretty but by all means, I am not going to attach any photos or/and motivation letters to our applications.

Living in this country is like working for a celebrity, at some point you had enough of it (especially when you don't earn enough to accept all the absurdities).

Everyone is looking at the same 6 low price apartments right on the train line. You have to compromise somewhere. Either up your price or move further from the train station. One salary shouldn't be a problem unless you are looking at places over the 30% mark or 2 of you are looking at 6 room places. There are some unwritten rules. I'm not sure if you know about those.

I'm guessing you work in Lausanne? You'll have better luck looking closer to the end of the bus lines than near the train.

Send me a PM and I'll see if I can help.
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Old 22.06.2012, 15:45
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Re: Sick and tired of this 'hunting game'

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Another problem is that we have only one salary and like anywhere else, this is not going to help. We are white and pretty but by all means, I am not going to attach any photos or/and motivation letters to our applications.
now do you want an apartment or not? If you do, you will have to play by the rules - whether you like it or not. That means picking an apartment that suits your family and financial situation, motivation letter, reference from your employer, follow-up call and so on. It's not rocket science, but takes some effort. If you are just filling out the standard forms, you will never stand a chance if there are 50 other applicants. Sad, but true.
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Old 22.06.2012, 15:55
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Re: Sick and tired of this 'hunting game'

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Excuse-me, but how this apartment is already given to somebody else when the agency wasn't even announced ?

This thing happened several times, my only conclusion is that tenants are using people's time with endless visits when they have already recommended somebody to the agency.
In my experience, it's most likely not the previous tenants of the flats but the agencies messing with you. When I was looking for new tenants for my apartment in Zurich a couple of years ago, I did a couple of small showings and had applications from 5-6 people, who were ready to take over the flat almost immediately (because I wanted to avoid paying for 2 flats). Finally the agency told me that they chose a new renter, a woman who hadn't even seen the apartment but happened to be a friend of the owner's family. And they just gave the apartment to her! and i had to pay double rent till the end of my cancellation period. So it's really all about connections, no one gets fair treatment from the agencies!
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Old 22.06.2012, 15:58
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Re: Sick and tired of this 'hunting game'

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now do you want an apartment or not? If you do, you will have to play by the rules - whether you like it or not. That means picking an apartment that suits your family and financial situation, motivation letter, reference from your employer, follow-up call and so on. It's not rocket science, but takes some effort. If you are just filling out the standard forms, you will never stand a chance if there are 50 other applicants. Sad, but true.
I've been in Lausanne a long time and have worked as a relocation agent in m past life, I have never had anyone write a motivation letter or attach a picture. That might be a Swiss German thing.


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In my experience, it's most likely not the previous tenants of the flats but the agencies messing with you. When I was looking for new tenants for my apartment in Zurich a couple of years ago, I did a couple of small showings and had applications from 5-6 people, who were ready to take over the flat almost immediately (because I wanted to avoid paying for 2 flats). Finally the agency told me that they chose a new renter, a woman who hadn't even seen the apartment but happened to be a friend of the owner's family. And they just gave the apartment to her! and i had to pay double rent till the end of my cancellation period. So it's really all about connections, no one gets fair treatment from the agencies!

That's absolutely not correct! They can choose who they want to rent too. But then they must let you out of the contract. You should not have paid the extra. Period. If it hasn't been too long you should let them know you want your money back.
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Old 22.06.2012, 16:08
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Re: Sick and tired of this 'hunting game'

unfortunately that wouldn't have worked. they were only willing to let me out of the contract at the end of a month, and i was moving on the 15th, so they said i can arrange that with next renters if they want to take over the apartment early. i did that. and they decided to give the apartment to someone i had never even seen.. and the agency was Livit, by the way, i see there is another thread about it.
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Old 22.06.2012, 16:27
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Re: Sick and tired of this 'hunting game'

I detest the group viewing method of showing the available apartment to all the applicants. It is good for the person leaving as they only have to show people on usually one evening, but you find the apartment full of people giving you filthy looks!

Just an idea?
Once in Bern I found an apartment which was having a viewing evening "next Thursday". On the previous Monday I went to the agency, completed the application form and was accepted, probably as I was the first to offer a complete application. I went to the viewing evening and liked the apartment. If I had not liked it and cancelled my application, I would have had to pay CHF 200 for breaking the contract, but the risk was worth it!
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Old 22.06.2012, 16:49
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Re: Sick and tired of this 'hunting game'

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unfortunately that wouldn't have worked. they were only willing to let me out of the contract at the end of a month, and i was moving on the 15th, so they said i can arrange that with next renters if they want to take over the apartment early. i did that. and they decided to give the apartment to someone i had never even seen.. and the agency was Livit, by the way, i see there is another thread about it.
It shouldn't matter. If someone was willing to take over on the 15th they should have let you out.

Livit is notoriously bad though.
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Old 22.06.2012, 16:58
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Re: Sick and tired of this 'hunting game'

I've just had a similar situation to el7777, had been searching for a new place for around 6mths, finally found the perfect place, only draw back being they needed someone to pretty much move in straight away, the biggest bonus was there was no agency involved that side, it was straight through the owner. I managed to get it, more thorugh luck than anything else, they had accepted someone else the day I applied, who had then decided to pull out last minute, and I guess my application was fresh in their mind.

I thought that would make things easy, the fact there's such a big demand for appartments I thought it would take less than a day to get someone to take over my old place. I spoke to the agency, sent them a letter to tell them I would like to leave my contract early to which I was told there was a 1mth notice period, and I had to find a 1 suitable tenent to take over the original terms, but regardless they couldn't move in until my 1mth notice was up, and if no one was found I would be responsable for the rent until my contract expired.

After around 3wks of messing around, putting forward new tenants that more than fitted the bill and them not making a decision, I was really starting to get angry and stressed thinking they were just delaying the decision until I had to pay another months rent, they finally come back to me to say that the vender is releasing me from the contract at the end of my notice and all is fine and dandy....

I had already moved into the new place by now, so was happy to know I wouldn't have to pay more than 1mths double rent. The agency then hit me with the fact they are raising the rent, and re advertising the appartment, and because my contract wouldn't be up for another 2wks, they put my contact details on websites, and told be I was obliged to show people around the appartment again until it was signed over.....

70 emails within 5days laster, I done another open evening just to keep them sweet.

My point is all I wanted to do was give it to the first suitible person and move on, but the agency just made it into a very stressful, long drawn out process, and I realised even though I had to 'find someone' I actually had zero say in it what so ever. I would also advise that even how usless and stupid the agencys are to always be polite, at least until you know for sure you no longer have to deal with them, as much as I wanted to tear them a new one, I also new they were in charge of signing off the hand over and releasing my deposit, which went very smoothly btw

Regie Duboux was the agency, and I would run a million miles if I every saw something advertised through them again!
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