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Apartment Rant

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It took me a month to find my current apartment (or six weeks depending on how you do the math), and it was the first one I visited. I’m SO HAPPY. It isn’t in town, but it has good bus and rail connections (am a half-hour max from downtown Zurich at any time) and the price is right AND I have a balcony big enough for a table.

Can I rant? After crossing the Rostigraben twice, I don’t think people here in Zurich realize how bad the housing situation in Romandie is for lower incomes and foreigners. In the past eight years I have looked for apartments twice in Lausanne and twice in Zurich. In Lausanne, three months of hustling (3+ visits a week) got me one place in the boonies, and one place that was a dodgy sublet. In Zurich, six weeks of halfhearted searching (including a couple of fun racist episodes) got me two legit places in decent locations which met most of my criteria.

It can be argued that the suburb where I live now isn’t exactly the most happening place and that is why I got my new apartment so easily, which is precisely what I mean: in Zurich, lower income people, L permit people, brown people etc, have the luxury of turning their noses up at a place in the burbs and saying “oh no, I wanna live in town.” In Romandie you have to take what you can get after months of looking and you have to spread your geographic net wide- I can’t think of how any desperate Geneva couch surfer would spit on a legit place in Versoix, or someone looking in Lausanne who would say no to Prilly. Yet people in Zurich can still work under the assumption that getting the dream apartment is possible.

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Author: Nicole Cunningham

American Expat and convert to Islam living and working between Lausanne and Zurich, Switzerland.

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