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Old 20.07.2019, 19:20
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Renting for the first time in Zurich

Hi everyone!

I was looking around the forum but I couldn't find the answer to my questions.

I recently moved to Zurich, I've got a work permit B and a job contract and so does my boyfriend. We've been living with my parents for a few months since we got to Zurich. Now it's time to move to our own place since we need our space.
I was reading in the forum that you need a recommendation letter from your last landlord. This is our first time renting in Switzerland, so do I ask my parents to write us a recommendation letter? We're registered to their address, do we ask their estate agents to recommend us or do we have to contact our landlord in UK for that?

On the document that you're not in debt, if we only lived in Zurich for a few months, do we need to ask for it or do we need one from the UK saying we dont owe anything there?

Is there more possibilities to get a flat with or without swisscaution?

And last one, will we have less possibilities of getting offered a flat as we haven't been living in Switzerland for a long time? (like 6 months by the time we want to move in)

Thank you!!
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  #2  
Old 20.07.2019, 19:57
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Re: Renting for the first time in Zurich

EVERYONE, except those in the very top rental segments, finds it tedious to search for and find a flat. Therefore, keep on good terms with your parents, so that they will continute to allow you to stay there while you search.

You should have a rental contract with your parents. If they are living in a rented home, then they are sub-letting to you. If you have not already done so, set up that contract, retrospectively, and pay the rental you and your parents agree on. Yes, they are your landlords and they can write you a reference. Main positive attributes: pays rent punctually, is quiet and considerate, does not smoke, does not drink, makes use of the shared spaces carefully, greets the neighbours respectfully, obeys the house rules of the building.

Not all new landlords actually ask to see this reference. Some phone the previous landlords to ask. Some don't bother. But you should get all your paperwork ready, properly.

Yes, also get whatever references from the UK that you can, both from a previous landlord and to do with no debt. Have these translated into German (if you're staying in this part of the country).

Even if you have lived in Switzerland for only a short time, yes, do get your Betreibungsregisterauszug (certificate of no debt) from where you are now registered.

Since you and your partner are not married, you will need a full set papers for both of you. Think about whether one or both of you are going to sign the rental contract. If both, then the landlord will require of you to sign "jointly and severally", meaning that if one of you ever defaults, the other can be required to pay in full. The landlord is not interested in your personal arrangement, between the two of you, of how you split the rent. They must get the full amount from one of you, each month. If separately, then one of you will be the landlord, and the other the tenant (as you are now tenants of your parents who are your landlords). Put EVERYTHING about this arrangement between yourselves in writing.

On applications for a flat, always specify that you are solvent, have a job, and have a valid permit to live here. Specify that this applies to both of you.

Most rental contracts require a deposit of one to three months' rent. If you can avoid swisscaution, and use your own money, or borrow (with a formal agreement) from your parents, it will be cheaper for you.

Join the Mieterverband (the tenants' rights association) right away. It is very cheap, and they provide free members legal advice about rentals, should you ever need it.
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Old 20.07.2019, 20:10
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Re: Renting for the first time in Zurich

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You should have a rental contract with your parents. If they are living in a rented home, then they are sub-letting to you. If you have not already done so, set up that contract, retrospectively, and pay the rental you and your parents agree on. Yes, they are your landlords and they can write you a reference. Main positive attributes: pays rent punctually, is quiet and considerate, does not smoke, does not drink, makes use of the shared spaces carefully, greets the neighbours respectfully, obeys the house rules of the building.
My parents aren't subletting us the flat. We're not paying rent and we're not interested in the contract.
They have a contract with the estate agents and they're the ones that pay rent. They informed the estate agents that we reside in the flat with them and they sent the document to the Gemeinden. They're not our landlords and we're not tenants, we're just staying with them at their flat.
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Old 20.07.2019, 20:27
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Re: Renting for the first time in Zurich

That's a big mistake. Both for the emotional clarity of the relationship(s) in all directions, and also because it now leaves you without any documentation… exactly the documentation you will now need. But you can draw it up retrospectively, and get everything in order.

If you both have jobs, you're adults, and so it's most unusual for you not to be contributing to the costs of where you live.

Looking for a flat can take a long time, sometimes many, many months, and it might be wise to think about how long everyone's going to carry on feeling happy with a "free" arrangement.
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  #5  
Old 20.07.2019, 21:35
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Re: Renting for the first time in Zurich

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That's a big mistake. Both for the emotional clarity of the relationship(s) in all directions, and also because it now leaves you without any documentation… exactly the documentation you will now need. But you can draw it up retrospectively, and get everything in order.

If you both have jobs, you're adults, and so it's most unusual for you not to be contributing to the costs of where you live.

Looking for a flat can take a long time, sometimes many, many months, and it might be wise to think about how long everyone's going to carry on feeling happy with a "free" arrangement.
No offence, but how I manage things in my personal life is my business and I haven't asked for that type of advice. I don't really understand why some people tend to give moral advice without anyone asking. Anyway, have a nice evening
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  #6  
Old 20.07.2019, 21:57
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Re: Renting for the first time in Zurich

I agree with your criticism, that I was giving advice into your personal situation. I was reacting from my shock. Perhaps I should not have done so.

From the point of view of your needing the right documentation to help you in your search for a flat, my advice stands.

From the point of view of being perceived, by a prospective landlord, as credible, reliable, responsible tenants, also.

EDIT: Being able to show that you have an existing rental contract that you have always fulfilled is a good thing. Having a landlord who will testify to being satisfied with this is also good. I have been present at a viewing where an applicant was told not to bother applying because she did not already have a rental contract; they didn't want newbies. Like being employed when applying for a job looks better than when applying while unemployed. I think this past reputation is totally irrelevant to some landlords who don't bother to research their tenants' background stories, yet perceived as critical by others. One just doesn't know, though, when applying, so best to have everything lined up.

Last edited by doropfiz; 21.07.2019 at 01:09. Reason: adding last paragraph starting "Being able to show..."
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