What are the top factors to keep in mind when searching for a place to live in your city?
Kitchens are usually equipped with an oven, stove, sink and cupboards. In bigger apartments (two bedrooms or more), you may also get a dishwasher. Parking can be very difficult in the center of the city and laws are strictly enforced. Houses for rent are rare, therefore most people live in apartments. Houses are usually found in the outskirts of the city in quarters like Marly, Villars-sur-Glâne, etc. Most of Switzerland is now going through a housing crisis and if you find a place you like, you need to act quickly in order to obtain it.
What are the most popular neighborhoods in your city for expats?
Expats do not all live in the same area, but are very well scattered around the city and its surroundings. There are many villages around the city in which you can rent houses (Posieux, Rossens, Noréaz, etc.). The only residential area within the city that offers house rentals is Guintzet. It is however, extremely rare that a house comes up for rent, as houses are mostly for sale in that area.
Marly is one of the residential areas outside of Fribourg city. You should count on a maximum of a 15-minute drive (5 minutes without traffic) during rush hour. House owners are a mixture of Swiss and a few wealthy foreigners. There are often houses for rent in this area.
The Villars-sur-Glâne area is the second residential area close to Fribourg. It is a 5-minute drive to the city with many houses for rent or sale and quite a few buildings (apartments).
The Old Town (medieval) of Fribourg offers charming apartments, many of them very well renovated but still keeping the old touch. Keep in mind that this part of the lower city can get quite foggy in fall and winter. It is a nice place to be in the summer as it hosts the only outside pool of Fribourg.
Schönberg is often considered the slums of Fribourg. High buildings, some very cheap apartments, some more expensive apartments with beautiful views of the city, but the area is considered not very safe and has seen some crime. However, there are some safer and less safe areas within that same quarter. Please note that Fribourg does not offer any international schools. Expats living in Fribourg send their kids to the International School or British School of Bern located in Gümligen (40-minute drive each way).
Do expats tend to buy or rent their homes?
Expats are allowed to buy homes, but in most cases they rent. A down payment of twenty percent of the purchase price is requested for a house/apartment purchase. Expats often don’t know how long they will stay so they rent an apartment/flat when they first arrive.
Typically, will I be required to pay additional money up front (such as a deposit) before moving into leased housing? If so, how much is common?
Yes, a deposit is usually required going from one to three months’ worth of rent. (For example, a monthly rental house of chf2400 will require a chf7200 deposit.) It is possible to use a "compagnie de cautionnement" that will pay that deposit for you if you don't want to or can't afford it. In exchange, you will have to make a down payment of chf200 and then pay four percent of the deposit to that company each year.
Are utilities generally included in the price of rent, or are they extra?
Utilities, such as electricity and telephone, are extra and need to be arranged by the transferee (or through Crown Relocations' consultant). When paying the rent, there are also extra charges for water and heating, which are shown separately as "charges."
Are there special security concerns I should be aware of in regards to my home or choice of neighborhood?
Fribourg and its surroundings are very safe. You are advised to lock your door when leaving your home or roll down the blinds if living on the ground floor when you are away, especially for a holiday. The neighborhoods of Schönberg and Villars-Vert are considered the least safe of Fribourg.
I’m not sure if I should bring my appliances. What is the electric current, Hz and plug shape in your city?
Electric current: AC 220-240 volts
Frequency (Hz): 50
Swiss appliances are compatible with electrical appliances from the UK. Appliances from the USA (110 volts/60 Hz) need a step-down transformer.
Plug shape: standard two- or three-pinned type. Plug adapters can be bought in most electrical shops.
Do you have any other accommodation information that might help me?
Keep in mind that most Swiss people live in apartments and not houses. It is not easy finding houses for rent, as most of them are for sale. Parking can be difficult in the city center. Clothes washing could be a concern, as most apartments do not have their own washing machine and you will have to share one, or several, with the other tenants in the building. (You could, for example, have one set washing day in the week.) Please note that it is extremely difficult to find furnished accommodations in Fribourg (and Switzerland in general) and, when there are some, they are quite expensive. z
Crown Relocations has made every effort to present accurate information. However, regulations, rates and other variables are subject to change and Crown Relocations cannot accept responsibility for the errors that might result. Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your local Crown representative.