Living in Zurich

In the Canton of Zurich, you will find a regular housing market, but also non-profit housing options. Fees apply to internet, radio and TV access; household insurance and personal liability insurance is not mandatory by law. Zurich has a comprehensive waste management and recycling system.

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Find a house or an apartment

Available houses or apartments can mainly be found in the internet, in (local) newspapers or via housing agencies. In addition to the regular housing market, you will also find non-profit housing organizations offering inexpensive rental fees. Various organizations offer affordable housing to young people in training and to students. There are also special internet platforms on which rooms for rent are
advertised. If you are interested in renting an apartment, you will usually have to submit an application form and various documents such as a letter of application, a current extract from the debt enforcement register, references or salary statements. After moving in, you have two weeks’ time to register with your new municipality of residence.

Household insurance and personal liability insurance

In Switzerland, it is not mandatory by law but certainly recommended to take out a household insurance and a personal liability insurance. The household insurance will cover costs related to damage caused to your possessions due to fire, water, theft, or glass breakage. The personal liability insurance will cover the costs related to damage to property or persons caused by the insured person.

TV, internet and telephony

There are various communication providers offering telephony, internet, and cable TV services. However, your choice may be limited as access depends on your place of residence and sometimes even on your residential building. It is worthwhile to compare internet providers as their services and prices vary significantly.

If you have a device in your home that provides access to electronic media (smartphone, TV, computer, etc.), you must pay radio and television licence fees in Switzerland. The company Serafe is responsible for collecting the respective fees.

Waste management

Rubbish bags are regularly collected in the residential areas. For household waste, there are official rubbish bags or bags with specific rubbish stamps. The required type of bag or stamp depends on your municipality or town. Bags and/or stamps can be bought at supermarkets. There are special collection points or special collection schedules for certain types of waste (e.g. paper, batteries, glass, cardboard, organic waste, aluminium, metal, textiles, oil, etc.). At almost all points of sale, you may dispose of plastic bottles (PET bottles) and other plastic packaging free of charge.

Special or hazardous waste (electrical goods, medicines, etc.) can usually be returned to where it was purchased. Each municipality or town has its own waste disposal schedule or waste calendar, which you will receive when you register. The schedules will tell you in detail where and when you can dispose of your waste.


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