Home Housing Renting Serviced apartments and short-term rentals in Switzerland
Last update on August 09, 2021

This helpful guide to finding short-term rentals and serviced apartments for expats in Switzerland is sure to take the stress out of moving there.

Moving to a new country can be confusing, especially if you’re not sure how long you’re staying. Maybe you’re going on a short-term work assignment; or you’re not sure whether you will fall in love with your new home city yet. With this in mind, finding short-term rentals for expats in Switzerland is a good solution; even if this is only for a limited time.

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.

The skyline of Zürich
The skyline of Zürich

First of all, it’s easier to find a temporary home to rent than a longer-term property. You also 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.

The skyline of Geneva
The skyline of Geneva

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. You also won’t want to miss out on our guide to renting a Swiss property, which will help you get used to the quirks of the housing market in Switzerland.

However, for many expats, the quickest and easiest way to start looking for a serviced apartment or short-term rental in Switzerland is online. There is an ever-growing list of online property portals, including:

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, and has proven to be very successful. There are, however, several rules you will need to adhere to, under Article 262 of the Swiss Code of Obligations.

A nighttime view of Kramgasse in Bern
A nighttime view of Kramgasse in Bern

These rules are as follows:

  • 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 are 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; this 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.

The Basel skyline at night
The Basel skyline at night

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.