Archive | Housing / Accomodation

Where to look for Accomodation

Posted on 20 February 2007 by info

  • You need to be patient and methodical when you go about seeking to acquire real-estate or rental lodgings in Switzerland because finding accommodation anywhere in Switzerland takes time. One way to maximize your chances is to start looking before you move. There is always the possibility that you you might get lucky and find accommodation within a few weeks. Several of our readers have written us to assure it that it does happen. But as a general rule, it can usually takes months. Although it is a gamble, a prudent approach is to just basically keep up your eyes open for opportunities. There are many websites which advertise real-estate for sale or rental, and many buiding management companies (‘Regisseurs’) put their rentals on the internet. There are also offers in newspapers, notice boards and supermarkets. Your other option is contacting Estate Agencies by phone which are listed in the Yellow pages but you should really be prepared to stay in temporary accommodation until you find what you are ultimately looking for. One approach taken by savvy apartment hunters is to walk about the town, scouting out buildings in which you would like to live, then knock on doors and ask residents if they know of anything about to free up.

    If you want to stay in a Hotel or a Bed-and-Breakfast, there is a wide variety of choice and a good many of them make money from by catering for long term stays. Tourist offices are the best places get comprehensive hotel lists or alternatively you can just look on the internet. A good start would be the Federal Office for Housing but also each canton has its own regional housing office. For Geneva go to

    For more information, see other postings.

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    Finding an Apartment

    Posted on 06 February 2007 by Heidi

    For a newcomer to Switzerland in 2006, it is difficult to find affordable housing. Compared to France, Italy and Germany, the cost of living in Switzerland is quite high. Housing in Switzerland is becoming increasing difficult to find, especially in major urban centers. There is a shortage of land for building and many people want to live in the same area, the popular urban centers — notably Zurich, Basel, Geneva, Lugano and Lausanne. Rents are high — around 25 to 33 percent of average net income. Most foreigners living and working in Switzerland rent housing. Local newspapers usually have properties for rent in their Wednesday and weekend editions. There are also free newspapers dedicated solely to real estate. The GHI is one popular free weekly which circulates in the Geneva area.
    It is just as difficult for Swiss and for already residents of Switzerland to find accomodation when they move to another place in Switzerland !
    We moved to the Geneva area from Wintertur. We made 4 months to find a nice 4-room apartment. It costs SF 1950.
    We were spending in Winterthur SF 1300 for our apartment of about the same size and type of standing.

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    Seeking an Apartment

    Posted on 29 January 2007 by Homeless

    I moved to Geneva from Manchester in December for an I.T. job at a biotech company.  I’m still living out of a hotel.  They call them ‘residences.’  They are hotel-like structures of room-size apartments for people like me who haven’t found real apartments yet.   I live at a residence in the Acacias area, just by the bridge, and it’s very expensive — as expensive as a pricey one bedroom apartment, except only slightly larger than university digs.  

    The process of looking for lodgings is very time-consuming: there are very few apartments available and you have to visit them at appointed times — often in the middle of the workday, which is not possible if you have a job.  If you don’t have a job, you can easily visit whatever apartments are available but the building managers  (‘regies’ as they are called here)  will not rent to you.

    The last apartment I applied for had 25 people on the list (there were more but the Regie stopped taking down names).  They never tell you what number you are, unless you are number one — in which case, you are pending approval from the owner, which is often an insurance company or a bank or the city government. 

    My colleague Yuri tells me that the situation is very much reminiscent to him of the Soviet Union, except that the quality of the apartment, if you actually find one, is much better.

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