FAQs about finding a home in and around Zurich

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

Yes! With a rental vacancy rate of just 0.06%, demand far exceeds supply. Without local assistance, finding a flat is nearly impossible due to unfamiliarity with processes and common rental practices, language barriers (everything is in German) and no local network.

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

  1. Act quickly – and yes, it can sometimes feel like a full-time job
  2. Have a complete application file ready
  3. German/Swiss German language skills, strong network, local knowledge of potential neighborhoods, understanding of common rental practices and processes
  4. Luck

What is the average cost of a 2.5-room flat 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 (avoid using them on Sundays, holidays or after 10pm). It is becoming more common to have your own washer/dryer though – esp. in newer 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?

When agencies organize viewings, they are usually group sessions with short notice (e.g., tomorrow at 3pm). Missing the appointment is often deemed your loss as there is typically enough interest. However, if it is a private landlord, you are more likely to have the opportunity for a private viewing, potentially even after work hours.

Do the top apartments experience rain leaks?


What portion of my budget should be allocated to rent?

Typically, a rule of thumb suggests up to 1/3 of your income.

What is expensive in Switzerland?

Living (incl. eating out, cabs, flowers, hairdressers, sushi), housing and mandatory health care.

Do people typically negotiate rental prices?


Is it common to sign papers or pre-pay before receiving a rental agreement during the viewing process?

No - practices like these are uncommon.

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.