Rent a flat without a salary

As a FIRE person, what are the possibilities to rent a flat long-term?
In Switzerland without a salary, it is really hard (impossible ?) to get a rental contract, unless going through Airbnb or sub-letting. Did anyone think about this? or could share their experiences?

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Maybe negotiate a higher advance payment ?

Yes, maybe.
Most flats receive a lot of applications (at least in/near big city centers). In most cases, your application will go to the trash before negotiation as you’ll write 0 on the salary line.
You would need to negotiate on the case per case basis and have a lot of luck

Well I guess other income like dividends can also be stated as salady…

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  • rent before you retire
  • lie (though I think they sometimes ask for the employer, don’t they=
  • state “retired” on your application and dividend income instead of salary

Occupation: retired
Income: 4% of your networth

If they ask for proof, just send a statement.

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I know someone in that case. What he did was simply show a bank statement with a very large sum and proposed a 12-month deposit on the apartment.


That’s starting to be a lot of money on which you pay interests to just keep it at the bank (better than no flat though).


Renting is not that difficult once you go a bit outside of the big urban centers like Zurich and Geneva.

I know somebody in her 70s who is FIRL (financially independent, retired late).

Has AHV income, no second pillar, but quite some real estate that yields a decent income.

She was turned down by several banks where she applied for a credit card. Somehow they only considered her AHV annuity…

Landlords might not be as “checklist-driven” as bank clerks, hopefully. I’d also suggest to show a tax declaration maybe?

PS. She now has a Neon card and is happy with it. :slight_smile:


Interesting thread. I guess this could be uncharted territory in many cases. Would showing them your tax declaration with total wealth higher than the value of the flat not be enough? I mean, who is more certain to be able to pay rent: a person with 100k income but no savings, or a person with no income but 2m savings? And who is more likely to be a decent tenant?

I read somewhere that the really rich people (idk. 50m+?) don’t need to get cash to buy things (e.g. by selling their stock or whatever). Instead, the banks give then a “line of credit” (LOC), based on the businesses they hold, real estate etc.

I think the landlord prefer to deal with a “standard” case. If the renter loses its job, unemployment will replace the income. Btw, the 2 million could be invested in a non-liquid asset :wink:

If you assume a 2% yield and try to rent a 1500.-/month flat, you would need to show a 2.7 million statement. Most landlord assumes that 1/3 of your monthly salary is the maximum

Yes, line a credit is a solution if your assets are with a bank.
In fact, you can do that with Swissquote or IB (Lombard loan or margin loan). I think it’s the same

A lot of agencies will check by hiring a private detective.

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yes and if you like on the countryside, you would probably have apartments being rented directly by the owner who could be keener to rent it to you (e.g. often they only ask 1 month rent deposit compared to the normal 3)

Abroad this has worked for me twice. I wrote a short application letter explaining that I’m between jobs and relocating to the country for family reasons, offered 6 months down payment and both times got accepted on the first apartment applied for.

In Switzerland this might not be as easy, at least where competition is intense. Maybe this is partially down to cultural reasons, but maybe also because once accepted there is also a relatively good tenant protection and therefore hard to throw somebody out.

As for making stuff up, in 3 out of the 4 apartments I had in Switzerland I know for sure that they called my employer. In the 4th probably as well, but I didn’t ask at the time.

Well she’s not that rich!

And if somebody FIREd there’s no safety net, as far as a landlord is concerned.

Only if you don’t withdraw from the principal. But why shouldn’t you?

…only for so long. And only partly.

If someone with no savings becomes unemployed and has other financial commitments (alimony, leasing rates for a car, general lifestyle expenses) he might be more prone to being unable to pay the rent than someone who has cash in the bank (or securities in his accounts).

Your best bet is to find a property being rented out directly by the landlord and explaing your situation and/or make an offer for higher rent or advance payment. I tried this when I first returned to Switzerland and although I didn’t end up getting those places, they did at least consider me. Property management companies won’t even bother looking at your application if you aren’t employed. The only other option are the expensive short-term rental offers (i.e. Swiss Star or similar).

It looks live having real estate is a must for FIRE people?

Come on, just ask your landlord, if it’s a company, how they treat such people. That is, if you’re not too embarrassed to ask :flushed:

I know for a fact that apart-hotels, i.e. furnished flats usually meant for a medium rent period, do not require such rigorous vetting. When I came to CH, I lived in one for a month, in the search of a flat. But I paid 2300 CHF for a single room!

Exactly, the price is 1.5 to 2x above the market. But if you’re a foreigner, you don’t have a lot of choices when you arrive in Switzerland, because most landlords would like to have 3 salary slips and Swiss citizen are put first (It’s easier to pursue a Swiss in case of non payment)

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