Where you can find answers to questions about renting accommodation, what you should think about when moving into accommodation, how you can save money by disposing of refuse – you can find the answers to these and other questions here.

Where can I find information about renting accommodation?

The "Living in Switzerland" brochure contains lots of important answers to questions that can arise with regard to renting accommodation. Contents at a glance:

  • Who does what? The key participants.
  • Renting accommodation: from the advertisement to moving in
  • Living with your neighbours
  • Worth knowing: a couple of tips for daily life
  • Information and advice centres: places that can provide you with information and advice

The brochure is published by the Bundesamt für Wohnungswesen (Federal Office for Housing) and is available from its website as a free PDF download in 18 languages.

Who is entitled to move from an asylum centre to a private apartment?

Provisionally accepted people (F permit) are only usually accommodated in individual accommodation if they are largely financially independent. The Accommodation and Care department reviews the necessary applications, taking into consideration all the relevant factors.

People who are integrated into the employment process and are largely financially independent are regarded as economically independent people. In principle, you are considered to be integrated into the employment market if you have an open-ended employment contract for at least 80% of full time, or work in regularly recurring seasonal work.

Individuals must be completely financially independent when they move into individual accommodation. The Accommodation and Care department reviews and assesses deviations from this rule on a case-by-case basis.

Recognised refugees (B permit) and provisionally accepted refugees (F permit) have to find their own accommodation after they receive the asylum decision and leave the Department for Migration and Civil Law’s asylum centre. The canton helps refugees to find accommodation if they wish. As soon as the State Secretariat for Migration’s decision has been issued, the cantonal social services department sends the person involved a welcome letter, with information about finding accommodation, about the permit for third-country nationals and other important topics.

I’m moving into different accommodation. Where can I find a checklist so that I can remember everything?

There is a lot to remember if you move house. You have to register and deregister with the municipalities, tell the electricity and water supply companies so that the meters are read, and notify banks, your insurance company, mobile telephone and Internet providers, etc. of your change of postal address. The Comparis website provides lots of useful guidance on moving house. The information is available in German, English, French and Italian.

What should I particularly bear in mind as a tenant?

In a multi-occupancy building it is important for the occupants to be considerate of each other for a peaceful coexistence. There also have to be certain rules by which everybody abides. They are set out in detail in the house rules. Here are a few key points:

No night-time noise: this usually covers the period from 10 pm to 7 am and the quiet period over lunch from midday to 1 pm. During these times television and music volume should be turned down low and you should not do anything noisy. You should also avoid making noise on Sundays and public holidays. If you invite friends round for a party it is best to give your neighbours advance notice.

Communal areas/rooms: lobby, staircase, storage areas, laundry/utility room are available to all tenants. Please keep them clean and avoid putting your personal belongings in these areas.

Laundry/utility room:: please adhere carefully to the rules for using the laundry/utility room and ensure you leave it clean after doing your laundry. This will avoid arguments with other tenants and contribute to a good atmosphere in the building.

Cleaning floors, walls, kitchen and bathroom: bear in mind that methods for cleaning an apartment or house differ from country to country. If you are not sure, contact the building caretaker, the management company or landlord.

Smoking: many buildings do not allow smoking on the staircase, in the communal areas, or in the lift. There are also apartments that specify non-smokers only.

Questions: If you have questions contact the caretaker, the manager, or landlord.

How can I save money when disposing of refuse?

Basically, the principle that applies in Switzerland is that the polluter (causer) pays. If you create refuse, you have to pay for it. This is why many municipalities charge for refuse sacks. If you separate the waste, you need fewer refuse sacks, so you can save money. The following refuse can be disposed of separately:

  • Paper and cardboard
  • Glass and cans
  • Pet
  • Compost
  • Bulky waste (for instance, furniture, carpets) and iron
  • Batteries and electrical devices
  • Pharmaceutical products
  • Oils and toxic substances such as paints, varnishes, mercury, etc.

You can find out from your municipality which refuse will be collected from your home and which you have to take to the public collection sites yourself. It is important that you follow the rules. Glass and bottles can only be disposed of at certain times. The people who live near the collection site will be thankful to you for following this rule.