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Old 16.08.2012, 17:43
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How hard is it to find someone to take over your lease?

Hello,

We have an apartment in Zurich that we cannot give notice on until the end of March, due to the standard contractual limitations. Of course, we can find qualified tenants instead and then terminate the contract.

This is the first apartment we found when we moved to Zurich a couple of months ago, and we were in quite a rush to avoid having to stay in temporary housing, so it was a good deal for us at the time. But it's a bit on the pricey side for us, and we have been looking at cheaper places now that we have the time to be choosy.

That raises a bit of a conundrum in terms of terminating the current lease, though. How do people go about this? If we wait until our lease can be terminated, we would have to give notice and then hope we find a place we like before the lease runs out (or try to sign a contract more than three months out, which seems hard). But if we instead find a place first, we run the risk of being stuck paying double rent for as long as it takes to find someone to take over the current apartment. Neither option sounds good!

Finding a new apartment now and getting someone to take over our lease sounds like the best option to us, but we're unsure how to evaluate the likelihood of someone taking over our lease. At many of the places we're looking at (which are a bit cheaper), there is a huge line at the open house, often dozens of people. In comparison, we made an appointment to see our current place and our landlady offered to rent it to us on the spot, which makes us think the demand wasn't so strong. We think our rent is a little above market, but not extraordinary for a nicer place. (And at least one other flat in our building that just opened up is being listed for 100CHF/month more than ours, so I guess that will give us some idea at least.)

So what do people do? One option that crossed our minds is that, if we don't find any takers at the current price, we could negotiate to pay part of the rent for the remaining months in our contract. If we move into a flat that is a few hundred less per month, I'd be happy to pay some of the difference to lower the rate our new tenant would have to pay for the remainder of our contract. Can that be done? Or is this totally unheard of?

Other than that, how do people change apartments in Zurich? It seems like a giant game of musical chairs!

Thanks.
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Old 16.08.2012, 18:17
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Re: How hard is it to find someone to take over your lease?

It depends what you have.

What size is your apartment?

Where is it?

How much is it?

Does it have balcony etc?

I have moved once, before my lease was up, and I have had a flat mate move out of my current place and found a replacment pretty easy enough.

People are always looking here, and as you have noticed, the lower end of the spectrum is where the competition is. No one wanted my current place as, well its pricey and was on market for a while and I had easy picking providing I could find someone interested in leasing the smaller room, which when they saw balcony and view, it was easy sell.

When I put my old place up, it was a 4.5 room, for 1,850, in a great location and thus I had about 30 people interested and could arrange handover that suited me.

So, elaborate bit more on what you have
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Old 16.08.2012, 18:34
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Re: How hard is it to find someone to take over your lease?

True.

It's a 65m2 2.5 room flat in Kreis 8, and our total rent is 2600 with furnishings (100 less without). No balcony, which I know the Swiss love. Most of the places we've looked at are less than this, but I think we're not paying a huge amount more. (I've seen a lot in the 2200-2300 range, and a fair number priced as high as 2800 or 2900.)

Our landlord is renting out the below apartment for more than we are paying, so I suspect we would be able to find takers. On the other hand, both the previous tenant and the previous tenants downstairs were expats, which makes me think there's something about the apartment that makes Swiss people not like it (no balcony!). But then, if you limit yourself to expats, it's still like 40% of the market in Zurich.
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Old 16.08.2012, 18:55
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Re: How hard is it to find someone to take over your lease?

Ah ok, so you are in the sought after region where properties do tend to be on the more expensive side. Not particularly large but not very small either, but yeah no balcony limits takers I would say.

Good deal for furnishings I would say too, though based on size and price with no balcony, I would argue you are paying more than 100chf being suggested for the furnishings.

In my not so expert opinion, you see many apartments on the other side or north of the city in the 1,500-2000 range for a similar size, which would wet the appetite more than an apartment yours. But you are in a sought after area as I say, so I maybe wrong.

I would say it would not be an easy sell, as in no 20-30 applicants and lines at the door but you'll sure find some I would imagine. Monitor the interest in the place below.
Have you done a tester ad, see what type of response and interest you get which can give you some level of confidence as to whether you think, subject to finding a place of your own, that yours cold be given up earlier than the lease provides. Thats what I would probably do.
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Old 16.08.2012, 21:49
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Re: How hard is it to find someone to take over your lease?

Hiya,

I just went through the process and it took me about 2 weeks from posting ad to new person signing the contract. I am based in Winterthur so it's a bit different really.
If you decide for it try to get as much time as possible (so don't take apartment that you have to take within 2 weeks or something), advertise you apartment in as many places as possible. Also think about refreshing yours if there is a need (something to re-paint?)
And again, advertise is as many places as possible. Also make sure you are showing clean, tidy apartment to people, this is also important.


Good luck!!
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