Finding accommodation

The most popular solution for people relocating to the canton of Vaud is to rent an apartment or house.

To buy a property in Switzerland, you need to be in possession of a permit B or C (see the section entitled 'Residence and work permits'). The canton of Vaud now allows non-Swiss to buy a principal or vacation residence under certain conditions and in certain zones. For more information in this regard, you should contact an estate agency or the canton administration.

If you are buying, you will require the services of a notary to attest the legal documents.

In order to identify crisis situations, undersupply and oversupply, facilitate investment in the residential construction sector and provide transparent information, in 2005 the canton of Vaud set up an accommodation portal known as the 'Observatoire du logement'.

How to find accommodation
  • Using an estate agent, rental agent or property agent: you will find a list of estate and rental agents in the directory for your region. Most have websites enabling you to find and see properties available for rent, apartments and houses. To increase your chances, you can register yourself with the rental agencies.
  • Using the Internet: in addition to the sites of estate agents and rental agents, specialist sites bring together a large number of offers, including those of management agencies, for both buying and renting. See for example: immobiliervaudois.chimmoscout.chhomegate.chimmovista.ch, immostreet.ch, justimmo.ch, immomig.ch or possibly the highly detailed HomeFinder service offered by comparis.ch.
  • By means small ads in local newspapers, either in the accommodation section or by placing your own request.
  • By word of mouth: let all your contacts and acquaintances know that you are looking for accommodation.
  • Through your employer, who can use the services of specialist relocation agencies. Contact your company's HR department to find out more.
Steps
  • Once you have found the advertisements that interest you, contact the rental agent or the person who published the ad to arrange a visit to the accommodation.
  • If you are still interested, you'll need to register and submit a request to the rental agency for the property you're interested in by completing a form. It's the agency and/or the owner who will choose the tenants from among the requests submitted. This process may take several weeks, and there is no guarantee of success. The support or a recommendation from the preceding tenant may sometimes act in your favour.
  • When dealing with your file, the landlord will request evidence of solvency. You will need to present the following documents: pay slip or pay certificate not less than three months old, attestation from the debt-collection and bankruptcy agency (Office des Poursuites et Faillites) for people who have already been resident in Switzerland, and identification papers complete with your identity card or temporary attestation from the Swiss Mission.
  • Taking these documents, the agent will study your file and submit it to the owner. Only after you have received positive notice from the rental agency will you be certain of being the next tenant.
  • When the accommodation is allocated, it is normal for rental agencies to request a deposit in the amount of several months rent (from one to three months). This sum may be parked in an interest-bearing interest, as offered by any bank. It is released and returned to the tenant when he or she leaves the rented accommodation, provided no serious damage is discovered. Some companies offer to cover this guarantee for you by means of a loan, thus preventing several thousand Swiss francs being locked up. Visit SwissCaution or Firstcaution.
  • It is not compulsory, but strongly recommended, for you to meet with the agent to draw up an inventory, which is a kind of list documenting the condition of the rental property at the start of the lease. This document is the basis for asking the agent to rectify any defects discovered and for the tenant not to be held responsible later for these defects.
  • You are recommended to take out personal liability insurance if you rent in order to cover any damage caused to the rented property. Contents insurance is also recommended. See the section entitled 'Compulsory insurance'.
  • Utilities (water, gas, electricity) are not generally included in the rent, and need to be paid separately by the tenant, unless the rental advertisement stated that such charges are included.
Information and disputes

In addition, for a modest annual fee the Swiss tenants' association – ASLOCA – can provide tenants with information and assistance in the event of disputes with the landlord.