Branch Office Sgier & Partner Relocation Sàrl 6, rue Guillaume-Tell CH-1201 Genève. Sgier und Partner GmbH Gartenstrasse 36 Postfach CH-8022 Zurich - PDF

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Welcome to Zurich CONTACT Sgier und Partner GmbH Gartenstrasse 36 Postfach CH-8022 Zurich Tel.: +41 (0) Fax: +41 (0) Branch Office Sgier

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Welcome to Zurich CONTACT Sgier und Partner GmbH Gartenstrasse 36 Postfach CH-8022 Zurich Tel.: +41 (0) Fax: +41 (0) Branch Office Sgier & Partner Relocation Sàrl 6, rue Guillaume-Tell CH-1201 Genève Tel: +41 (0) Fax: +41 (0) Mobile: +41 (0) TABLE OF CONTENTS Table of contents General Information Switzerland 4 Swiss Politics, The Cantons, Facts and Figures 4 Climate and Seasons, The Swiss Economy 5 General Information Zurich 6 Facts and Figures 6 History 7 Accommodation 8 General Information 8 Temporary accommodation 8 Description of housing 8 Contracts and Moving 8 House rules 9 Moving-in / out inspection (Inventory) 9 Electricity Supply 10 Keys 10 Construction standards, fittings and equipment 10 Lease Contract (rights and responsibilities as a tenant) 10 Repairs in the apartment 12 Legal obligation / Third Party Liability Insurance 12 Utilities 12 Electricity (EWZ), Gas 13 Cable TV, Radio and TV license taxes 13 Telephone 14 Internet Access 14 TV 15 Waste and Recycling 15 Pets 16 Map of Zurich Area 17 Expatriates Preferred Residential Areas 18 An Overview with Facts and Statistics Areas A, B and City 18 Zurich Housing Market 24 Types of accommodation Important considerations when selecting accommodation in the Canton of Zurich 27 Insurance and medical 28 Accident Insurance, Social Security 28 Health Insurance 28 Medical Care 29 Medical Emergency Numbers 29 Education 30 Swiss Schools 30 Private Schools 31 Child Care 34 Summary of National Holidays 35 Shopping 36 Grocery / Food shopping 36 Speciality Shops 37 Banking Services in Switzerland 39 Post Office 41 Culture and Leisure activities 42 Places of interest 42 Concerts / Movies and Plays 43 Libraries 43 Sports 43 Clubs and organisations 44 Places of worship 45 Restaurants, Coffee Shop, Bars and Nightclubs 46 Public Transport 48 Train transport 48 Half-Fare Card (Halbtax Abonnement) 49 General Abonnement (GA) 49 Map of Train Stations and Train Numbers (S-Bahn) 50 Ticket Machine 51 Tickets 52 Motoring 53 Swiss regulations, Car Test, Exhaust Emission Control 53 Motorway Tax 54 Importing cars, Buying a second hand car 54 Parking 55 Mobility CarSharing, Cycling as alternative, Taxis 56 Swiss tax System 57 Registering at the community 58 Useful numbers and addresses 59 Emergency numbers, Embassies & consulates in Zurich, Languages schools 59 Appendix A 60 Checklist when moving out of a rental apartment Appendix B 61 General Conditions applicable to a residential lease 3 General Information General Information Switzerland Swiss Politics Switzerland s existence as a modern federal state dates back to The government is made up of seven members, elected by the Federal Assembly. The government members take it in turns to act as president. The Swiss people can influence political affairs through the highly developed system of direct democracy. Switzerland s position as a neutral state allows it to play an important humanitarian role in world affairs and to act as mediator between conflicting parties. The Cantons Switzerland is divided into 26 cantons, six of which are divided into half-cantons. There are German-speaking and French-speaking cantons, one Italianspeaking canton and cantons in which both German and French are spoken. In one canton (Graubünden) German, Italian and Romanisch are spoken. The cantons vary greatly as to size and character. The canton of Geneva is virtually made up of just one city. Some other cantons, like Uri, consist almost entirely of mountains and valleys. The cantons vary greatly in size and in population density. Basel-Town, with its 37 km2 (14 square miles) has almost as many inhabitants (186,700) as the largest canton, Graubünden, whose 187,800 inhabitants are spread across 7,105 km2 (2,743 square miles) and 150 valleys. The canton of Zurich has over a million inhabitants, while the entire population of some other cantons would merely fill a small football stadium. Appenzell Inner-Rhodes, for example, has a total of 15,100. Not all the cantons are single territorial entities: some have small exclaves completely surrounded by the territory of other cantons. Some of the cantons have deep historical roots as autonomous entities within Switzerland; others either joined later, or split off from existing cantons. The newest is the canton of Jura, which separated from the canton of Bern in Three of the cantons consist of two halfcantons. The composition of Switzerland is not fixed in stone. For example, in 2002 the citizens of Geneva and Vaud were invited to vote on whether their cantons should merge - although they overwhelmingly rejected the move. The half-canton of Basel-County has spearheaded a movement to make each Basel a full canton, but this is opposed by a majority in the National Assembly because it would upset the federal balance. Facts and Figures Switzerland has an area of 41,285 square kilometres (15,940 square miles). The productive area - that is, the area without the lakes, rivers, unproductive vegetation and no vegetation at all - covers 30,753 square km (11,870 square miles). It measures 220 kilometres (137 miles) from north to south and 350 km (217 miles) from east to west. The Jura, the Plateau and the Alps form the three main geographic regions of the country. 4 General Information Switzerland has a population of 7.4 million. Population density is high, with 234 people per square km (606 per square mile) of the productive area in In the agglomerations, which cover about 20% of the total surface area, the density is 590 per square km (1528 per square mile). Climate and Seasons The seasons are clearly defined. In spring (March to May) the trees blossom and the meadows become green. In summer the temperature rises to degrees (77-86 degrees Fahrenheit). In autumn (September to November) the fruits ripen, and then the leaves turn brown and fall. In winter the snow changes the landscape. Most of the people working in Switzerland are employed by small and medium-sized enterprises, which play an extremely important role in the Swiss economy. The Swiss are concerned that economic activity should have as little impact as possible on the environment. Switzerland s energy and transport policies aim to be environmentally friendly. The Swiss Economy Switzerland s economy is based on a highly qualified labour force performing highly skilled work. The main areas include micro technology, high-tech, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, as well as banking and insurance knowhow. The service sector now employs the greatest number of people. 5 General Information General Information Zurich Facts and Figures Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland (population: 376,815 at the end of 2007; population of urban area is 1,007,972) and capital of the canton of Zürich. The city is Switzerland s main commercial and cultural centre (the political capital of Switzerland being Bern), and is widely considered to be one of the world s global cities. According to several surveys in 2006 and 2007, Zurich was named the city with the best quality of life in the world. In the 19th and 20th centuries in particular it attracted many notable writers, artists and composers. The Dada art movement was born in Zurich s Cabinet Voltaire in Today it boasts not only many museums, theatres and concert halls, but some 500 bars, nightclubs and discos. The Bahnhofstrasse is one of Switzerland s prime shopping streets. The Neue Zürcher Zeitung ( New Zurich Newspaper ) is Switzerland s most prestigious newspaper. It was first published in 1780, and is one of the oldest German language newspapers still in existence. The city is home both to Zurich University and to one of Switzerland s two prestigious Federal Institutes of Technology, the ETHZ. Between 1975 and 2002 the ETHZ alone produced 7 Nobel science laureates. Switzerland s largest airport is in Kloten near Zurich. The city is also an important rail hub. As for urban transport, Zurich claims to have the best-served urban traffic network in the world. 6 General Information In 1351 it joined the Swiss Confederation, where it quickly became one of the leading members, along with Bern and Lucerne. It has traditionally been at the forefront of new developments: it led the Protestant forces at the Reformation in the 16th century, its liberal politicians played a key role in establishing the modern federal state in 1848, and its entrepreneurs were the backbone of the industrial revolution in Switzerland in the 19th century. History Turicum, from which the name Zurich comes, was originally a Roman customs post and fort on the left bank of the Limmat. The settlement later spread to both sides of the river. During the Middle Ages it developed as an economic, cultural and religious centre. In the course of the 13th century it gradually gained more rights of selfgovernment, although it remained part of the German empire. 7 Accommodation Accomodation General Information In many areas of Switzerland, finding reasonably priced accommodation is becoming increasingly difficult (if not impossible) and finding accommodation at almost any price isn t easy in the major cities. In Zurich there is an acute shortage of accommodation due to the lack of building land and high demand. House prices are high and rental prices can be astronomical. Housing accounts for around 25 to 30 per cent of the average family budget, although it can easily amount to a third or more in high cost areas. In general, washing machines and tumble dryers are in the cellar and are for communal use. There is normally a rota and one should enquire about the frequency. Not less important is: the laundry facilities must be left very clean in order not to ruin the friendship with the neighbours. More modern/expensive properties might have their own washing machine and dryer in the apartment. Each apartment usually has storage space in the cellar and some may have a separate room for bicycles. Temporary accommodation Aside from hotels, there are a number of temporary housing possibilities with fully furnished and equipped kitchens mainly in the city of Zurich. They can be any size from 1 room to 3 room apartments. Many of these places must be rented for a minimum of 1 month. Furnished places normally have a much higher rent then non furnished places, but are much more flexible in terms of moving in or out. Sgier and Partner are happy to assist with temporary housing. We can also arrange to have temporary furniture rented while you are waiting for the arrival of your shipment. Description of housing The number of rooms advertised excludes the kitchen, bathroom and WC. Apartments are classified as follows: 1 room = Studio / bed sitting room 2 room = Living room and 1 bedroom 2.5 rooms = Living room, 1 bedroom and separate dining room 3 rooms = Living room, 2 bedrooms, etc. Contracts and moving When you have found an apartment, you must sign a contract with the landlord. A standard form is usually provided in most cantons and both spouses must sign the contract. Make sure you understand the fine print in the contract before signing. A contract for an apartment is usually for a minimum of one year. Contracts for newly built buildings and houses tend to be longer and may even be up to 5 years. You will be required to put down a 1 to maximum of 3 months rent as a security deposit on the apartment. You will receive interest on deposit. If you wish to terminate the contract on the lease of your apartment you must give at least 3 months notice. But this can vary depending on the terms of the contract. Notice must be in written form and sent with registered letter (if you are married both must sign the resignation letter). For example, if you wish to move on 31 st August your letter must be in the hand of the landlord or real estate agency (not posted date / stamped date) by 31 st May. Some contacts also specify that contract termination may only occur at certain times of the year e.g. end March and end September. 8 Accommodation If you wish to leave before the contract expires, it will be your responsibility to find one other solvent tenant to take over the unexpired lease. This will discharge you from your responsibilities. The rent is normally increased when the mortgage rates go up or when renovations are made to the property. You must be notified also 3 months in advance. You are expected to leave the apartment spotlessly clean when you move out and you can also be insistent that it is handed over to you spotless as well. The landlord or real estate company will check every inch of the apartment and if not immaculate then he can deduct the re-cleaning price from your deposit or have you re-clean at your own expense. It is highly recommended that you get a professional cleaning company with hand over guarantee. As it is very difficult to maintain the standard you will be expected to leave the apartment in. You will have to pay for any damages incurred to the apartment outside the normal wear and tear. The deposit will be transferred back to you, the length this takes, depends on the state of how you leave the apartment. House rules All apartment blocks have house rules. You should receive a copy on moving into your apartment. If you do not understand them have them translated. A noise curfew after 10 PM and no loud noises on Sunday or public holidays Conditions for laundry usage including cleaning after use A requirement to inform your neighbours if you are having a party No pets without permission Restrictions regarding children e.g. playing times in the garden No leaving footwear outside the house door Moving in / out inspection (Inventory) Sgier und Partner GmbH will be present with you during the moving in/out inspection, where mandated. You should be aware that, when concluding a lease, it is necessary for both parties to complete and sign a separate inventory document known as the inspection. This is a record of the overall condition including damage, excessive wear, leaking pipes, torn wallpaper, etc. in the accommodation, which is kept on file with the lease, and will be used when you depart from the accommodation. Any additional defects you find upon occupation of the premises should be reported in writing to the real estate agency / owner within 10 days after completion of the inspection. This is essential as, if no record of the deficiencies / damage is kept, you could be held liable for these when moving out. The accommodation must be delivered to you in good condition and clean, and should be returned in the same condition when you vacate at the end of the lease. Please see Appendix A for checklist of what is expected of you when you move out. 9 Accommodation Electricity Supply The electricity supply in Switzerland is 220 V, alternating current 50 Hertz, for appliances and electrical equipment up to 2,200 watts. For bigger equipment like cookers, washers and dryers either a 1 x 380 V or 3 x 380 V supplies are necessary. Appliances which use 110 V will require a transformer. Another problem with appliances is the frequency they operate on. Check the back of the appliance, which should list both current and frequency in the USA appliances are usually 60 Hz, while here in Switzerland they are 50 Hz. Appliances marked 50/60 should be okay. There is no guarantee that American appliances will work here on a transformer because of the power and frequency differences. All appliances will need their plugs changed or the use of adapters as the Swiss use 2 or 3 pin plugs. Keys You will usually receive three keys to an apartment or house and two keys for the post box. The locks fitted to most apartments are of a high security type. Keys have individual numbers and copies cannot be cut at a lock smith. All keys must be returned on departure of your apartment. If some keys have been lost they cannot be replaced, a locksmith will install new locks at tenant s cost. This can be quite expensive so insure that this is covered in your house hold insurance. A key finder can be purchased at the post office for 30 CHF for 5 years running contract, should your keys get lost the finder can place them in any letter box and the post office will send them back to you by mail. A recommended service! Construction standards, fittings and equipment Construction standards are high in Switzerland where everything is built to last 300 years! This means best materials are used which further increases cost of accommodation and, subsequently, rental prices. Standard fittings for rental are different from what you would expect overseas: No overhead lights (only what has been left by previous tenant) Mostly no curtain rails or curtains Wall to wall carpet is usually reserved for bedrooms Parquet or tile for living areas Several apartments have a fireplace built in Laundry areas or rooms in apartments are equipped with machines. In apartment buildings, there usually are com munal laundries and a roster system for tenant s use Properties where the kitchen is equipped do not usually have a microwave oven. Fridges and freezers are smaller than those you may be used to No fly or mosquito screens and no airconditioning Phone connections are mostly analogue connections Garages and outside parking are mostly not included in the basic rent Lease Contract (rights and responsibilities as a tenant) Your responsibilities as a tenant are written down in a lease contract, including specific clauses relating to your particular situation. In general, leases are drawn for a period of three years for houses and for a period of one year, renewable from year to year by tacit agreement, for apartments. Leases can start on the first or the fifteenth day of the month. 10 Accommodation Sending a registered letter three months before the date on which the contract expires should do lease termination. If your lease is drawn in both your name and that of a co-tenant or your spouse, you should both sign the registered letter you send to the real estate agent / owner. In the case of one year leases, after the first year of rental, you can terminate your lease by giving a three month notice period for the next quarterly expiration date which is specified in your lease. The advantage of securing a three year lease is that your rental is blocked for three years, unless the lease contract states otherwise (check for clauses related to indexation of rental). The disadvantage is that, if you leave before that date, you are still held responsible for the rental payments unless you can present to the owner, a replacement tenant who is financially solvent. In Switzerland, exclusively the owner supports brokerage fees associated with securing rental accommodation. A security deposit equivalent to three months rent is required for either furnished or unfurnished accommodation. It is held by the bank of your choice and refunded with interests accrued when the lease is terminated, provided everything is in order. In addition to the lease, there are other responsibilities and practices issued by local authorities called Allgemeine Bedingungen / General Terms and Conditions, see Appendix B which vary from one canton to another. You will usually be asked to sign a copy of these conditions along with your lease. A résumé of major responsibilities is presented on the next page. Excessive wear & tear. You will be expected to replace, repair and clean damaged, lost or soiled items Damage caused by leaking pipes (gas or water), frost Damage caused by pets Maintenance of household appliances equipment Drainage pipes, gutters (annual clean & removal of any leaves or refuse) Maintenance of the heating system (yearly check, keep all invoices for presentation to agent) Chimney sweep (yearly check, keep all invoices for presentation to agent). Failure to do so could mean your insurance does not cover you, in case of an accident or damage resulting from this Maintenance of garden including lawn, fruit trees, rose bushes and hedges, if any unless otherwise spe
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