FAQ about finding a home in and around Zurich

Is it really that hard to find an apartment in Zurich?

Yes. With a vacancy rate of only 0.06% demand is much higher than supply. It is almost impossible to find a flat without (local) help.

What are the key success factors when it comes to finding a flat in Zurich and its surrounding areas?

  1. Be fast – with everything
  2. Have a complete application file ready
  3. Use your network, connections and if possible local knowledge
  4. Luck

How much does a 2.5-room-flat cost on average in Zurich?

CHF 2165/month – which is +8% vs 2022.

What is not covered by the monthly rent?

Electricity, radio/tv/phone subscription fees as well as the so-called Serafe fee (which is a yearly TV/radio fee).

Are furnished apartments more expensive?

Yes. Rents are approx. 25% higher in comparison to unfurnished flats. The majority of properties come unfurnished.

I have a pet. Does that make finding a flat in Zurich or its surrounding areas harder?

Yes. Generally speaking the larger the pet, the harder it gets. Besides, playing an instrument and/or having children may also make it more difficult.

Is there anything that is very specific to Swiss flats?

Yes, a few things, actually. To this day, the majority of flats do not have their own washer/dryer. Usually there are shared washers/dryers down in the basement (do not use them on Sundays or after 10pm). It is becoming more common to have your own washer/dryer though – esp. in new/er or renovated buildings. Furthermore, there are usually neither curtains nor pre-installed lamps (except for the kitchen and the bathroom), i.e. you will have to install them yourself or pay a professional. You can expect a fully functioning kitchen as well as an additional storage room though (either down in the basement or up in the attic).

Why are there sometimes single viewings vs. group viewings?

If it is an agency doing a viewing, it is usually group viewings and on a very short notice (i.e. tomorrow at 3pm). If you cannot make the time, then they consider it your loss as they have enough people who show up. If it is however a private landlord doing the viewing, your chances are much higher that it is going to be a private viewing where one could maybe also ask to do it after work.

How high is a deposit?

It can be up to three times a monthly rent. Alternatively and if the landlord/agency is ok with it, you may also choose an insurance such as SwissCaution instead.

When do rental agreements usually start?

They usually start on the first of each month or mid-month. The handover has to be done by lunch time (12pm) latest. If your lease starts on a weekend or public holiday, the handover will be done on the following weekday.