What are the top factors to keep in mind when searching for a place to live in your city?
- The characteristics of the neighborhood (families, singles, etc.)
- Traffic (for safety and noise level)
- Parking possibilities
- Proximity to public transportation, schools, work, shops, cinemas, churches, etc.
It is very rare that you deal directly with the owner of the apartment/house for the rent. You usually deal with a real estate agency.
Please note that in Switzerland the following terms are used when describing houses:
- one-family house - a house with no adjoining party wall
- semi-detached house or contiguous house - a construction of several houses with adjoining party walls
A party wall means that your house shares a common wall with a neighbor’s house.
What are the most popular neighborhoods in your city for expats?
The most popular neighborhoods for housing are Carouge, Troinex, Versoix, Bellevue, Cologny, Collonges-Bellerive, Hermance, Vandoeuvres, Vésenaz, Onex, Petit Lancy and Grand Lancy. The most popular/lively areas for apartments are Eaux-Vives, Plainpalais, Champel, Carouge, and Pâquis. You can find both apartments and houses for singles and families in these neighborhoods. Property along the lake tends to be very expensive.
Do expats tend to buy or rent their homes?
Expats usually rent their homes, like the majority of Swiss people.
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?
Two- to three-months’ deposit is required. A special blocked bank account is opened for this purpose. This account is then blocked for the duration of the contract. As an alternative, if the owner of the property accepts, you can use a specialized insurance company for rental guarantee without a bank deposit, Swiss Caution, for a guarantee up to CHF 15'000. This rental deposit needs to be paid before the entrance inspection day at the latest; otherwise, keys to the apartment will not be submitted.
Are utilities generally included in the price of rent, or are they extra?
Utilities, such as electricity, telephone and Internet are extra and need to be organized 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." In addition, tenants often pay monthly charges to cover the maintenance of shared areas, such as the hall, staircase and elevator.
There are no agency fees in Switzerland but administrative fees are variable depending on the agency: between Sfr 20.- and Sfr 300 to be paid with first rent or at signature of lease contract by giro slips (BVR) or bank transfer.
- Telephone (Swisscom) + operators
- Internet – various suppliers
- TV and radio tax (Billag)
- TV cable (Naxoo)
- Sweeping of fireplace once per year if applicable
- Rental of parking space/garage
Are there special security concerns I should be aware of in regards to my home or choice of neighborhood?
There aren't really any security concerns in Switzerland. However, it is always good to get input from friends and colleagues who are familiar with the city.
I’m not sure if I should bring my appliances. What is the electric current, Hz and plug shape in your city?
The electric current is AC 220-240 volts, with a frequency of 50 Hz. The current here is compatible with electrical appliances from the UK. Appliances from the United States (110 volts/60 Hz) will require a step-down transformer. Plugs are typically the standard two- or three-pinned type; adapters can be purchased in most electrical shops.
Do you have any other accommodation information that might help me?
Keep in mind that Geneva is not a big city. You can drive from north to south in 30 to 40 minutes.
Accommodation in Switzerland is very hard to find and can be expensive compared to other European countries.
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.