Accommodation

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Accommodation

Lausanne is a safe and beautiful place to live. Most people in Switzerland rent their apartment or house. Unfortunately housing is relatively hard to find and quite expensive in Lausanne. However, distances are small in and around Lausanne, and public transportation efficient, so it might be worth widening your search perimeter to have more choice and more affordable prices.

Finding the perfect home might take some time and you might want to arrange for a temporary housing option for the beginning of your stay. If possible, start your search already before you arrive.

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Finding a place - Online

Most offers for apartments or houses to rent are available online. There are numerous web sites/search engines with offers proposed both by real estate agencies and private individuals. You easily enter your search criteria and you can also program alerts to get offers via e-mail as soon as they get online. See, for example:

Comparis
Immoscout
Homegate
Immostreet
Anibis
UMS
Sabbaticalhomes
Housinganywhere
Lausanne tourisme
Bnb
Visionapartments
Studentsplace4u
Silobleu (minimum one year)

Be careful with advertisements that seem too good to be true, and/or where money transfers are required in advance (particularly via Western Union, MoneyGram, etc.). If possible, try to visit the apartment before sending money. If a guarantee or a first rent is required, prefer to transfer money into a Swiss bank account. If you have doubts about an object, do not hesitate to contact the Welcome Centre for assistance.

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Finding a place - More options

Real estate agencies

Real estate agencies also have a lot of their offers on their websites. Sometimes it can also be worth calling to check availabilities.

Classified advertisements

Another possibility is to use classified ads published in the local press, either by consulting the offers or by placing an ad yourself. Many people find apartments through their social network, so make sure to let people around you know that you are looking for an apartment or house (e.g., your future colleagues at the University).

Be careful with advertisements that seem too good to be true, and/or where money transfers are required in advance (particularly via Western Union, MoneyGram, etc.). If possible, try to visit the apartment before sending money. If a guarantee or a first rent is required, prefer to transfer money into a Swiss bank account. If you have doubts about an object, do not hesitate to contact the Welcome Centre for assistance.

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How to apply for an apartment

If an ad interests you, contact the real estate agency or the person who placed the ad to arrange a visit of the apartment. If you are interested, you must make an application to the real estate agency or the owner by completing a form and provide proof of solvency (see list of documents below). Contact the agency as soon as possible to ask for necessary forms and deadlines.

Speed is importance! The market is tight and available attractive housing is scarce! Have your papers ready when you visit the apartment. The real estate agency or the owner will select the tenants from among all applicants. This procedure can take several weeks and does not offer any guarantees. A recommendation from the previous tenant may sometimes give you an advantage. Also, most of the time, families have priority in the selection procedure. 

The following documents are usually needed to complete your application for renting an apartment or house. However, as a foreigner, and if you have just arrived in Switzerland, you have to ask the agency or landlord which documents they need from you:

  • A copy of residence permits.
  • A copy of passports.
  • A recent salary certificate, less than three months old, or a copy of work contract.
  • An extract from the debt collection register provides information on whether you have paid your bills on time, or if you have ever been pursued by debt collectors (from the 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.
  • The insurance of civil responsibility is very often also required.
  • A motivation letter can be helpful in providing more information about you and your family (not obligatory).

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The contract

Once you have been chosen for the apartment you applied for, you will conclude a rental agreement with the agency or owner. Most times this means signing a contract (“bail à loyer”). It is a document stating your name, the rent, cost for heating, water and other extra charges, the characteristics of the apartment (size, floor, etc.) and the length of the contract.

Understanding, signing a contract and a model contract

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Security deposit for a house or apartment

When signing the contract for the apartment, the agency or owner will ask for a security deposit. This deposit corresponds to three month’s rent (sometimes only one month's rent is required, it depends on the contratct but it is non-negotiable). The money can be deposited into a fixed-interest bank account. This money is returned to the tenant once he/she leaves the apartment, as long as 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.

Living in Switzerland is a useful brochure with information and rules about renting an apartment or a house.

Useful information about renting an apartment or house

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Temporary housing options

Information about the furnished studio apartments is available upon request. 

Hostels and other short term housing options

Stay short term in private homes through Airbnb

More ideas for temporary housing on the website of Lausanne Tourist Office

Find a hotel at the budget of your choice

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Ch√Ęteau de Dorigny  -  CH-1015 Lausanne
Switzerland
Tel. +41 21 692 20 20
Fax +41 21 692 20 05