September 26, 2017

Swiss Relocation: Moving to Geneva

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Swiss Relocation: Moving to Geneva

Posted by: Emily Sahakian, Consultant, Destination Services Switzerland

Geneva, divided by the Rhône River and one of Europe’s most beautiful cities, is a world leader in cultural excellence, restaurants, and entertainment and is a frequented destination for international assignees. Geneva and its surrounding areas do, however, present relocation challenges, with its highly competitive rental market. Our latest Switzerland MarketWatch discusses the current rental market, focusing on the trends we’re experiencing at the moment.

With a high quality of life, Geneva attracts a large number of expatriates which has led to rising rental rates and prospective tenants outnumbering available properties. This trend is also experienced in the nearby canton of Vaud, a 20 to 35 minute drive from Geneva’s city centre.

Relocating Assignee Tips and Recommendations

  • With so many prospective tenants, negotiation with landlords is rather limited, so assignees should expect to rent a property in the same condition in which it was viewed.
  • Flexibility is key when it comes to drawing up a list of property criteria. Assignees that are too restrictive may find it challenging to find a home.
  • Assignees should be prepared with all the necessary documentation before the home search trip begins, and organisations should ensure housing budgets have been provided in good time. This way, we can act immediately on behalf of the assignee to secure a property they like.
  • To ensure affordability, we recommend that a tenant’s monthly rent should not exceed between 25% and 30% of their monthly gross salary.
  • When a property is advertised in Geneva, the living room and kitchen count as ‘rooms’, so for example, a ‘three-room apartment’ has one bedroom because the living room and kitchen are counted as the other two rooms. In Vaud, the kitchen is not included in the room count, so a ‘three-room apartment’ has two bedrooms.
  • Assignees relocating on their own may find it challenging to secure a property with three or more bedrooms. This is due to the standard guidelines set out for landlords, which state that larger properties should be given to families.

For a more detailed review of Geneva’s rental market, read the Cartus Switzerland MarketWatch. For information on relocating around the world, view our Resource Hub and On the Ground video series.

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Posted By

Emily Sahakian

About Emily

Based in our Cartus Geneva office, Emily Sahakian is an in-house Consultant acting as a single point of coordination for all destination and departure services, guiding families through their relocation to Switzerland. 

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