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  #21  
Old 11.06.2017, 23:53
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Re: Religious discrimination in Housing

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Actually sometimes they do. They shouldn't though. And if they do you don't have to answer (let alone answer truthfully).

Article in German: https://www.mietkautionschweiz.ch/bl...ber-sie-wissen
Exactly, same as when you're in a job interview.

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Yeah, but why would they ask in the first place? And if they did - why would you tell them?

I'm a practising Christian, but none of my landlords were any the wiser, and as far as the state is concerned (for tax purposes) I'm an atheist. This isn't Alabama. People don't really talk about religion here. If you don't tell anyone, nobody is going to know.
Yeah, well, now it's known

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Why? Calvin is dead, but his words still carry weight.

Sadly, antisemitism is alive and well in Europe. Even in Switzerland.

It is still illegal in Switzerland to slaughter animals according to Jewish custom. Kosher meat can be imported, but there are active efforts to ban it and Halal meat under the guise of animal welfare.

When I emailed the local Jewish Community Center about information about the synagogues and schools in town, they would only give me the most basic information. If I wanted more, I would need to send them a copy of my passport.

You cannot simply show up at a synagogue on Saturdays in Europe. Most of the time you will be stopped and questioned by guards before going in. It is best to inform them ahead of time of your visit.

I can go on and on, but I think you get the point.
As Tom said.

Imagine the Swiss governement would give any nutter precise information about Jewish (or any actually) places and organizations!
You'd be the first to shout.
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  #22  
Old 12.06.2017, 05:58
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Re: Religious discrimination [in housing? ]

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Yeah, but why would they ask in the first place? And if they did - why would you tell them?
My experience is that you do not hide things about yourself that people are willing to use against you. If they ask, I will tell them. If they do not like that I am a Jew, I will go somewhere else. I need to know if this is a potential problem. Do I need to plan for housing to take longer than normal to sort out. Do I need to plan for a longer stay in temporary housing and longer storage of our belongings... Just details to factor in.

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This is because of anti-terrorism, NOT anti-semitism.

Tom
That is a long, drawn out conversation for another time.
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  #23  
Old 12.06.2017, 08:31
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Re: Religious discrimination [in housing? ]

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Do I need to plan for housing to take longer than normal to sort out. Do I need to plan for a longer stay in temporary housing and longer storage of our belongings... Just details to factor in.
Yes, you should definitely plan for that. Not because of your religion, just because it's Geneva and the housing market around Geneva is extremely tight. We're talking 1% vacancy rate, dozens of applicants for the same apartment - which means that on average you should expect to have to make quite a few applications yourself before you are successful.

So yes, do ask your employer if they have any leads on temp housing, and plan to stay there for several months if necessary.

You can tilt the odds a little in your favor if you concentrate on places that are seen as less mainstream-desirable: priced over the market rate (i.e. for what the property is - should still be within 30%ish of your income or they're apt to discard you as a nonpayment risk), inconvenient location for public transport, no central heating or what have you.
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  #24  
Old 12.06.2017, 09:26
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Re: Religious discrimination [in housing? ]

Or you can turn the tables and contact some Jewish organisations in Geneva and inquire about possible flat vacancies they may know about. Quite often, church organisations own flats as well.

Good luck.
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  #25  
Old 12.06.2017, 09:32
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Re: Religious discrimination [in housing? ]

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My experience is that you do not hide things about yourself that people are willing to use against you. If they ask, I will tell them. If they do not like that I am a Jew, I will go somewhere else. I need to know if this is a potential problem.
Dan, a word of advice: If you go into this move with an open mind, you will likely be fine.

As to additudes towards religion:

Switerland is by and large a secular society, especially in the public sphere. While official stats might show that X% are this and Y% are that, for a good number of people religious affiilation is something inherited at birth and never really practiced. Yes, there is a church tax, yes there is the legal framework... but in practice many Swiss really don't spend much time thinking about their own (cultural) religion, let alone anyone else's.

For those who are religious, there is something of an expectation that belief and practice, for all religions, are generally considered to be a private matter.

Switzerland is also a very reserved society, especially in the public sphere. 'Sticking-out-ness', of any kind, in any activity or sphere, might be met with... unease. This is a 'keep yourself to yourself' sort of society.

No one expects, or wants, you to 'hide' your religion. Certainly not. By and large you will find that you can live a religious life just as you wish. Your beliefs and practices will not likely cause anyone to blink twice, no one will give it a second thought - unless you deliberately encroach on someone else. Live and let live.

All the best with this move...
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  #26  
Old 12.06.2017, 09:39
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Re: Religious discrimination [in housing? ]

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Dan, a word of advice: If you go into this move with an open mind, you will likely be fine.

As to additudes towards religion:

Switerland is by and large a secular society, especially in the public sphere. While official stats might show that X% are this and Y% are that, for a good number of people religious affiilation is something inherited at birth and never really practiced. Yes, there is a church tax, yes there is the legal framework... but in practice many Swiss really don't spend much time thinking about their own (cultural) religion, let alone anyone else's.

For those who are religious, there is something of an expectation that belief and practice, for all religions, are generally considered to be a private matter.

Switzerland is also a very reserved society, especially in the public sphere. 'Sticking-out-ness', of any kind, in any activity or sphere, might be met with... unease. This is a 'keep yourself to yourself' sort of society.

No one expects, or wants, you to 'hide' your religion. Certainly not. By and large you will find that you can live a religious life just as you wish. Your beliefs and practices will not likely cause anyone to blink twice, no one will give it a second thought - unless you deliberately encroach on someone else. Live and let live.

All the best with this move...
Try doing a black mass in the garden on a Sunday morning.
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  #27  
Old 12.06.2017, 09:40
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Re: Religious discrimination [in housing? ]

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Hi there.

I'm wondering if religious discrimination exists in the housing market in Geneva. Do they ask what church you belong to informally or on applications? We are Jewish, so I'm wondering if this will make finding a place to live more difficult.

Thanks

We still don't know if this job is happening, but it does not hurt to be prepared if this does.
OP, I wasn't asked about my religion when looking for a flat, but apparently some folks here did.
You don't have to answer and just don't do it, I think this is the safest option.

And relax, some things will never change, I guess, but they are not that bad as you might think from afar.

Welcome.
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  #28  
Old 12.06.2017, 10:55
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Re: Religious discrimination [in housing? ]

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Try doing a black mass in the garden on a Sunday morning.
That's what your bomb shelter is for, silly.
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  #29  
Old 12.06.2017, 11:41
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Re: Religious discrimination [in housing? ]

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Try doing a black mass in the garden on a Sunday morning.
BBQ goat in the afternoon?
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  #30  
Old 12.06.2017, 11:48
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Re: Religious discrimination [in housing? ]

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BBQ goat in the afternoon?
We do that on the balcony, in the smoker.

Tom
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  #31  
Old 12.06.2017, 14:59
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Re: Religious discrimination [in housing? ]

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Yes, you should definitely plan for that. Not because of your religion, just because it's Geneva and the housing market around Geneva is extremely tight. We're talking 1% vacancy rate, dozens of applicants for the same apartment - which means that on average you should expect to have to make quite a few applications yourself before you are successful.

So yes, do ask your employer if they have any leads on temp housing, and plan to stay there for several months if necessary.

You can tilt the odds a little in your favor if you concentrate on places that are seen as less mainstream-desirable: priced over the market rate (i.e. for what the property is - should still be within 30%ish of your income or they're apt to discard you as a nonpayment risk), inconvenient location for public transport, no central heating or what have you.
Will a nice box of chocolates or a bottle of wine delivered with the application help?
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  #32  
Old 12.06.2017, 15:00
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Re: Religious discrimination [in housing? ]

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That's what your bomb shelter is for, silly.
As well as for doing the ritual slaughter.

Tom
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  #33  
Old 12.06.2017, 15:57
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Re: Religious discrimination [in housing? ]

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Will a nice box of chocolates or a bottle of wine delivered with the application help?
Nope. Some subtle things might set things apart (nationality for example, but don't worry, you're American) but the most important thing is to prove you're able to pay the rent and the deposit of course.
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  #34  
Old 12.06.2017, 16:05
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Re: Religious discrimination [in housing? ]

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Will a nice box of chocolates or a bottle of wine delivered with the application help?
Just not this:



Tom

P.S. It was a family favorite growing up in CT.
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  #35  
Old 12.06.2017, 16:10
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Re: Religious discrimination [in housing? ]

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Will a nice box of chocolates or a bottle of wine delivered with the application help?
Caveat: I am not in Geneva, 'the done thing' here in my corner o' Schwyz might not apply, so take my comments with a grain of salt...

Caveat in mind, I would not do that. Where I live, there is a chance that the gesture would be misunderstood as a sort of clumsy expectation of quid pro quo. That can put people's backs up, and has likely more potential to harm than help your application.

Yes, we give chocolates and wine by the box and bottle full - but generally not as a means to seek preference.

Such gifts are given as a thank you, as an apology (or an apology in advance when you know there is a difficult situation at hand) or as a neighborly gesture.

Once you have been selected and signed the contract, if the landlord is a private owner a 'thank you' bottle would be appropriate, especially if the landlord lives in the building. But if the landlord is a souless corporate entity the gesture would be lost. Save it for the apero you throw to meet the neighbors.

But as above, I don't know Geneva ways and mores. Hopefully a Genevan will be along to respond...

---

Is your employer providing relocation services, including temporary housing? A good relo agent could be valuable in your search, and as a sounding board as you navigate learn the ins and outs of this new society. (A good relo agent is also expensive - if negotiations are not yet concluded, do try to get the company to cover the costs.)
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Old 12.06.2017, 16:15
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Re: Religious discrimination [in housing? ]

I think they always ask. It is a formality for us foreigners. It is so you pay like 0.7% of your salary to your church. Somehow in Switzerland it becomes important for your church too that you are listed, being believer = being contributor and supporting your church. They will for instance send the communications (like newspaper or events) based on the list of people registered. There is a very big Jewish community in Zurich.
Best Regards
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Old 12.06.2017, 16:21
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Re: Religious discrimination [in housing? ]

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I think they always ask. It is a formality for us foreigners. It is so you pay like 0.7% of your salary to your church. Somehow in Switzerland it becomes important for your church too that you are listed, being believer = being contributor and supporting your church. They will for instance send the communications (like newspaper or events) based on the list of people registered. There is a very big Jewish community in Zurich.
Best Regards


Again that is when you register. Quite often (I learned here it does happen) you are not asked for your religion when applying for an apartment.
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Old 12.06.2017, 16:41
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Re: Religious discrimination [in housing? ]

I'm with Melloncollie on this.

@Dan,

If the experience of a United Church of Canada emigrant who's only ever lived in Kt. Zurich is anything to go by....

The "Religion:" field on an application for an apt. is just a box on a form. The Swiss are big fans of completeness. You're more likely to be filtered out of the applicant list if your name ends in "ic", but if "Religion:" say "Jewish", then you're back in the running.

The Swiss aren't big on "The personal touch" in their business interactions. Filling in the form completely, without spelling mistakes, and getting it in ahead of time will work for you. A card or a bottle of wine will work against you if you're dealing with an agency.

The agency will almost certainly have an explanation of what their process is, either on their website, or as part of their (email) response to your application. This will indicate how, and when, they will inform you of the next step. This is Switzerland, things just work here, so if they say "We will inform you on 15/6/2017 about the status of your application" then they will. If you call before that date and ask for an update you will have implicitly indicated that something is wrong with their system. If you haven't head back by the day after they indicated then call and ask for an update. You may not get an acceptable answer, or the apt, but rest assured, whoever made the mistake will be peeled and placed in a bag of salt... for a start.

If your future employer offers relocation assistance, then make full use of that, especially if they will put you up in a temporary place during the search. On the one hand, they know the local ins and outs, and on the other you and your family will be busy enough getting used to how different things are, without running around trying to find the perfect home. Your better to spend an additional month in temporary accommodation than to find that the place you selected is farther from the synagogue than it seemed (or any other reason).

If your future employer hires an agency to do the apt search with you, and it isn't working, then inform your future employer - they're paying big dollars for that service so that you can hit the ground running when you arrive - if it isn't working for you, then it also isn't working for them.

Search EF for the various threads about what you can bring with you (cars etc) and under what conditions. You can hold the bulk of your stuff in storage until you've found a place that suits, but there are limits on how long after you arrive you can declare stuff as duty exempt personal belongings.

Good luck!
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  #39  
Old 13.06.2017, 23:55
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Re: Religious discrimination

Though he comes in for some Knox

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Still very much alive.
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Old 14.06.2017, 00:21
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Re: Religious discrimination [in housing? ]

I think we need someone from Geneva on here as to whether a bottle of wine or gifts will help:

Arranged mortgage in Basel: handshake offered by the bank
Arranged mortgage in Valais: Bottle of vintage wine offered by the bank
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