Moving to Switzerland for a few months, or on short notice? A quick and easy solution is to find a serviced apartment: a short-term, furnished rental that will take much of the stress out of your move.
Moving to a new country can be a confusing process, especially if you’re not sure how long you’ll be staying. Maybe you’re being sent on a short-term (or open-ended) work assignment; or you’re not sure whether you will fall in love with your new home city yet. With this in mind, many expats moving to Switzerland look for furnished apartments where they can settle for the short term.
Equally, some people want to rent out their properties, or even sub-let their current rentals when they get called to new shores for a few months. Thankfully, there are companies that offer services to help you navigate safely the treacherous waters of leaving your keys in someone else’s hands.
UMS Temporary Housing
UMS Temporary Housing has been specializing for over 25 years in sublease and temporary rental arrangements between private parties in Zurich, Basel, Bern, Geneva, and all over Switzerland. 75 percent of expats seeking a temporary home through their services find a solution after no more than two viewings or Skype meetings.
The advantages of renting a serviced apartment in Zurich and Switzerland
The benefits of finding a temporary apartment in Switzerland are many. First of all, it’s easier to find a temporary home to rent than a longer-term property, and you won’t need to worry about furnishings and upkeep. It’s also significantly cheaper and offers a better, more intimate quality of life than staying in a hotel.
How to find a temporary rental in Switzerland
To find a suitable property, you can use a specialist short-term lettings company. They can help you find a home quickly, from a trusted landlord.
Tips for finding a temporary apartment:
- Start looking as early as possible, ideally at least a month before arriving
- If you can, be flexible about your arrival date
- Be savvy to the key contractual terms, such as minimum rental durations, notice periods and cancellation terms
Temporary housing rental prices in Switzerland
How much landlords will charge depends on their own circumstances – many are looking to cover their costs, but some might let their homes more cheaply if they believe it’s going to the right person. The degree and quality of furnishing matters too, as the best homes will demand a premium. There’s also the question of the rental term: finding a place for a month might be considerably more expensive than doing so for three or six months.
Short-term rental services in Zurich and Switzerland
In addition to UMS Temporary Housing Switzerland, one of the leading agencies offering furnished apartments in Zurich and other Swiss cities for short and mid-term lets, these other resources could help you on your way.
Hello Switzerland offers an English-speaking relocation helpline that can give you advice on your options in advance of moving to the country.
Specialist agencies such as Flats for Expats list specific properties available to expats moving to Switzerland.
Our Expatica advice guide on renting a Swiss property will help you get used to the quirks of the housing market in Switzerland and learn about how estate agents work.
Sub-letting your own apartment in Switzerland
If you’re locked into a long-term rental agreement, it can make sense to sub-let your apartment if you’re going to be away for a significant amount of time.
Sub-letting has been permitted in Switzerland since 1990, but there are several rules you’ll need to adhere to, under Article 262 of the Swiss Code of Obligations. These are the key rules:
The rent you receive must only cover your costs
- You must have the intention of moving back at a later date
- You must inform and seek the consent of your landlord and ask them to approve the sub-lease. UMS provides sample templates for this.
- If you’re renting your apartment out for profit or to tourists, you may face greater risks.
How temporarily renting your apartment works in Switzerland
You should put together a sub-letting agreement, with terms and conditions that will be near identical to your own rental agreement. Verbal agreements are legally allowed, but you’ll have less protection if something goes wrong. Next, you should ask your landlord to review this to ensure none of the terms are breaking your original agreement. As with anywhere, it’s important to run checks on your potential tenants – including employer and landlord references and credit checks. You should ask for a rental deposit from each person you let the property to, and place that guarantee in a special bank account for the duration of the lease.
As for pricing, unlike short-term letting platforms such as Airbnb, traditional sub-letting is not designed to make a profit. There is one exception to this rule – and that’s if you’ve furnished the property yourself. If this is the case, you can charge up to a maximum of 20% more than your rental costs to use the furniture.
Finally, both you and your sub-tenants should get liability insurance to protect you against any damages.
Subletting services such as UMS Temporary Housing can help you define the right rental fees, get the correct paperwork in order, and quickly find reliable tenants. If you are in a hurry, don’t want to bother with the administrative headaches, or leave your keys in good hand and with peace of mind, these companies’ trustworthy services are well-worth the price.