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Old 11.08.2013, 15:30
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When is the best time to look for an apartment in Lausanne/Ecublens area?

I shall be taking up a new job in UNIL starting from next year onwards. I am wondering if I should be securing a rental apartment as early as possible or wait till the end of the year? i.e. Is it harder to find a place to rent during winter?

Thanks.
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Old 12.08.2013, 14:24
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Re: When is the best time to look for an apartment in Lausanne/Ecublens area?

Do you mean next school year - starting next month - or next calendar year?
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Old 12.08.2013, 15:08
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Re: When is the best time to look for an apartment in Lausanne/Ecublens area?

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Do you mean next school year - starting next month - or next calendar year?
Sorry for not making it clearer in my previous post. I shall be starting in January next year. Since it's (presumably) the coldest period of the year, I'm just wondering if it is difficult to find an apartment then? The university would rent me a temporary studio for two months, after which I will have to be on my own.

I wish to stay as close to UNIL as possible to save on the commuting time. As such, perhaps Ecublens or Renens suit me better than Lausanne central? Would the rent be cheaper as well?
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Old 12.08.2013, 15:26
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Re: When is the best time to look for an apartment in Lausanne/Ecublens area?

I would say there's never a 'good time' to look for an apartment in Lausanne - the rental market here is a nightmare.

So on the one hand I'd say start looking as soon as possible.

On the other hand, it generally seems to be the case that apartments are only advertised for a few months in advance... so you may struggle to find something now available for January.

I would suggest you start looking on websites now (try homegate.ch. comparis.ch, and immostreet.ch) to get an idea of the market, prices, locations etc.... and set up search alerts that meet your criteria so that when new properties do become available you know as soon as possible.

In my experience it is easier to find something once you are here and have a temporary address, but you never know.

Make sure you familiarise yourself with what documents agencies will require to go with an application - I have a friend who has been struggling to find a place and she didn't realise that she needed to submit a certain document with her applications.

Ecublens and Renens are close to UNIL, you might also want to look in the other direction to the villages between Lausanne and Morges (Préverenges, Denges, St-Sulpice) as well as Morges itself, as there is a good bus service between these villages and UNIL (Transport MBC, ligne 701). Some of these places are more expensive though...

I hope that helps, and best wishes for your move.
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Old 12.08.2013, 16:36
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Re: When is the best time to look for an apartment in Lausanne/Ecublens area?

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I would say there's never a 'good time' to look for an apartment in Lausanne - the rental market here is a nightmare.

So on the one hand I'd say start looking as soon as possible.

On the other hand, it generally seems to be the case that apartments are only advertised for a few months in advance... so you may struggle to find something now available for January.

I would suggest you start looking on websites now (try homegate.ch. comparis.ch, and immostreet.ch) to get an idea of the market, prices, locations etc.... and set up search alerts that meet your criteria so that when new properties do become available you know as soon as possible.

In my experience it is easier to find something once you are here and have a temporary address, but you never know.

Make sure you familiarise yourself with what documents agencies will require to go with an application - I have a friend who has been struggling to find a place and she didn't realise that she needed to submit a certain document with her applications.

Ecublens and Renens are close to UNIL, you might also want to look in the other direction to the villages between Lausanne and Morges (Préverenges, Denges, St-Sulpice) as well as Morges itself, as there is a good bus service between these villages and UNIL (Transport MBC, ligne 701). Some of these places are more expensive though...

I hope that helps, and best wishes for your move.
Thanks so much for the tips and well wishes

I've been checking the recommended housing ad websites like a daily ritual. It surprises me to learn the rental market in Lausanne is terrible... is it that a lot of people are still stuck in the expensive service apartments/hotels at the moment without being able to secure a decent rental apartment?

I guess my main problem is I do not speak a word of French. My enquiry emails to the agencies went unanswered. So I'm worried that will further limit my option since they seem unwilling to deal with an English speaking client. The ideal location for me would be areas around M1 line where I can get to UNIL under 20 minutes. I wouldn't consider far-away villages (St. Sulpice is fine but expensive!) until my French is proficient enough to avoid complications due to the communication problem.
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Old 12.08.2013, 17:30
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Re: When is the best time to look for an apartment in Lausanne/Ecublens area?

your best bet is to go on the unil website(i believe there is a housing classified or something of this nature if i remember correctly) and contact people directly from there. that is easier and you have a much better chance of finding something.
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Old 14.08.2013, 13:13
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Re: When is the best time to look for an apartment in Lausanne/Ecublens area?

Don't bother emailing the agencies with general inquiries - they won't ever respond in my experience. Even ads that said 'Please email us and we'll send you back more details' didn't reply.

If you've got two months in a studio that buys you some time but you should hit the ground running when you get there. Make sure you find out about all the zillions of documents you need and bring those with you. I would start looking and ringing about places approx. 1 week before arriving so you can line up some viewing appointments already in your first week.

If you don't know any French I would try to learn the basics ASAP, even if it's just reading, as the application forms will probably be in French only. If you see flats you like now, look up the website of the agencies and download their application forms. You can check up all the meanings of the words now while you have time. Speed is really important, so after viewing a flat, you'll want to lodge the application ASAP (and I mean, within 24 hrs) and won't have time to faff around with online translators and asking people, etc. Note that every agency seems to ask different things so do download a few different ones. Also, they might be asking for things which don't have an equivalent in your home country so you can do your research now to figure out how to answer these questions.
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Old 14.08.2013, 16:01
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Re: When is the best time to look for an apartment in Lausanne/Ecublens area?

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your best bet is to go on the unil website(i believe there is a housing classified or something of this nature if i remember correctly) and contact people directly from there. that is easier and you have a much better chance of finding something.
I did check the website but I won't have access to the classified page until I'm given the access password (probably not before the first day of job lol).
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Old 14.08.2013, 16:13
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Re: When is the best time to look for an apartment in Lausanne/Ecublens area?

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Don't bother emailing the agencies with general inquiries - they won't ever respond in my experience. Even ads that said 'Please email us and we'll send you back more details' didn't reply.

If you've got two months in a studio that buys you some time but you should hit the ground running when you get there. Make sure you find out about all the zillions of documents you need and bring those with you. I would start looking and ringing about places approx. 1 week before arriving so you can line up some viewing appointments already in your first week.

If you don't know any French I would try to learn the basics ASAP, even if it's just reading, as the application forms will probably be in French only. If you see flats you like now, look up the website of the agencies and download their application forms. You can check up all the meanings of the words now while you have time. Speed is really important, so after viewing a flat, you'll want to lodge the application ASAP (and I mean, within 24 hrs) and won't have time to faff around with online translators and asking people, etc. Note that every agency seems to ask different things so do download a few different ones. Also, they might be asking for things which don't have an equivalent in your home country so you can do your research now to figure out how to answer these questions.
Thanks a lot for the advice. It worries me because I basically have 2 months to look for long term accommodation, and I've no idea how the housing market would behave during the coldest time of the year (i.e. would people postpone renting the apartment until the winter is over?).

I am trying my best to learn as much French vocabulary as possible so filling in forms shouldn't be too difficult (except when I need to structure the whole sentence in a grammatically correct manner). There will also be problems if I need to call up to arrange for a viewing, or to communicate verbally with a french speaking agent. I don't think I can reach that level of proficiency within 4 months, 4 years perhaps
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Old 14.08.2013, 22:32
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Re: When is the best time to look for an apartment in Lausanne/Ecublens area?

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I've no idea how the housing market would behave during the coldest time of the year (i.e. would people postpone renting the apartment until the winter is over?).
My impression is that there are fewer people moving in January/Feb/Mar, and fewer places available, but that also means you have less competition for places that are available. We found the place we currently live in in November and moved in January 15. Our lease expires on April 1, so the first year it was almost 15 months. That date was chose by the property manager so they could avoid having it become available at that time of year.

Good luck!
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Old 15.08.2013, 00:42
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Re: When is the best time to look for an apartment in Lausanne/Ecublens area?

I recommend looking at the free adverts pinned up in the local supermarkets (co-op, Migros, etc.).
Not so easy if you are not in the country.
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Old 15.08.2013, 08:28
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Re: When is the best time to look for an apartment in Lausanne/Ecublens area?

The rental agency will not even consider your candidature unless you receive your working permit, have a proper salary sheet and fully insured. The easiest and most realistic way is to look for flat sharing instead of a studio. Then you have enough time to wait for your working permit to be issued and find your ideal apartment. Renens is the least preferred area around lausanneso the there are cheaper priced apartment.
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