The urban agglomeration of Lausanne has about 200,000 inhabitants. There is no accommodation available on the university campus and each person must find his/her own accommodation. The most common solution for people getting settled in the region of Lausanne is to rent an apartment or a house.
To find accommodation, it is advisable for you to contact real-estate agencies or management offices: most of them have web sites allowing you to make searches and view apartments or houses to rent.
On the Internet you will also find specialised web sites containing a large number of offers proposed by management offices and private individuals. See, for example, this non exhaustive list:
How to proceed
If an ad interests you, contact the management office or the person who placed the ad to arrange a visit to the accommodation. If you are interested, you must register and make an application to the management office for the property you want by completing a form. The management office or the owner will select the tenants from among all applicants. This procedure can take several weeks and does not offer any guarantees. Support or a recommendation from the previous tenant may sometimes give you an advantage.
When processing your application, the landlord will ask you for proofs of solvency. You will have to submit the following documents:
- a recent salary certificate less than three months old
- certification issued by the Debt Enforcement and Bankruptcies Office (Office des Poursuites et Faillites) for anyone who is already a Swiss resident
- proofs of identity in the form of your identity card, or the temporary certification of the Swiss Mission
On assignment of the accommodation the management office will ask you for a deposit. This amount corresponds to several months rent (from one to three months) and can be deposited in a frozen interest-bearing bank account. This deposit is unfrozen and returned to the tenant when he/she leaves the rented accommodation if no serious damage is noted. Some companies offer to stand this guarantee for you, through a loan, thereby avoiding the need for you to tie up several thousand francs.
Although you do not have to do so, you are strongly advised to inspect the premises with the management office and draw up a document recording the initial conditions of the rented property. This document allows you to ask the management office to remedy any shortcomings that may be noted and also avoids the risk that you, as the tenant, will later be held responsible for these shortcomings.
How to proceed
It is very important for you to begin your search before your arrival, because the availability of accommodation cannot be guaranteed.The Swiss Association of Tenants, ASLOCA, can provide information to tenants and help in case of litigation with the management office, in return for a modest annual subscription.