Renting a property in Zurich

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Renting property in and around Zurich can be tricky. Like in some other parts of Switzerland, demand for housing far exceeds its supply, which means that finding accommodation can be a lengthy process.

Finding a property to rent in Zurich

Availability is limited, and many people are likely to express interest in a particular property, which is normal due to the fact that Rental property in Zurichthe market does not operate on a ‘first-come, first-served’ basis.

When this happens, the interested parties are asked to supply as much information about themselves as possible, so that the landlord can decide who would be the most appropriate tenant. Information asked for includes a person's present address, their occupation and salary, whether they have children or pets, and often, references are also requested.

This difficulty in finding places to rent has resulted in a curious new trend, whereby prospective tenants send or offer (sometimes small but sometimes expensive) gifts to the landlord to increase their chances of being chosen.

Another and more straightforward way of securing a property to rent is by finding someone who is interested in sub-letting, or who is moving out before the stipulated end of their lease and needs someone to take over their place. In both cases, tenants will still need the approval of the landlord.

Beginning and ending a lease in Zurich

When one is successful in securing a property, they will have to pay a month’s worth of rent up front, as well as a deposit equal to that of 1 to 3 months. Tenants will get the deposit back once their lease expires. Before moving out, the landlord will inspect the property for any visible damages. If there are damages, the landlord will deduct these costs from the initial deposit.
Should one wish to terminate their lease, expats will have to do so on dates stipulated in the contract, usually in March or September. Tenants need to tell the landlord about three months in advance that they wish to leave, and during that time they may send people to view the property in order to secure the next tenant.

Before moving, tenants are also obliged to leave the accommodation spotlessly clean. The standards of cleanliness expected are high, and if the landlord is dissatisfied, they can hire a cleaning company to do the job properly and deduct the cost from the deposit money.
Finally, renting in Zurich comes with a whole set of rules. Landlords are strict when it comes to implementing them, and neighbours will voice their complaints if rules are broken.

Most of the rules could be considered common sense and are a way of showing respect to neighbours, like not making noise after 8 pm (including not using washing machines or tumble dryers), and not having barbecues on balconies.

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