Renting property in Zurich

Renting property in Zurich can be tricky thanks to short supply and high demand, and finding accommodation can be a lengthy process.

Finding accommodation to rent in Zurich

Many people are likely to express interest in a particular property since the market doesn't operate on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.

Interested parties supply more information about themselves than many expats will be used to in the hope that the landlord decides they are the most appropriate tenant. This can include their present address, occupation and salary, and whether they have children or pets. References are also often requested.

Other ways to secure a rental property are finding sub-lets or someone who is moving out before the end of their lease and needs someone to take over. In both cases, tenants still need the landlord's approval.

Good resources include online property portals, estate agents and property listings in newspapers.

Leases in Zurich

When someone successfully secures a property, they have to pay a month’s worth of rent upfront, and up to three months' deposit, which is returned once their lease expires. The landlord will inspect the property for damages at the end of the lease, and if there are any, the costs will be deducted from the initial deposit.

Most rental contracts in Zurich are for 12 months at least, but sometimes they can be open-ended. Tenants wanting to terminate their lease have to do so on dates stipulated in their contract, usually in March or September, and give three months' notice. Potential applicants may come to view the property during that time. Expats will also have to leave the accommodation spotless. The expected standard of cleanliness is high, and if the landlord is dissatisfied, they can hire a cleaning company to do the job 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 these are common sense and show respect to neighbours, like not making noise after 8pm (including not using washing machines) or having barbecues on balconies.

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