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COST OF LIVING

Noisy construction work in Switzerland: What are my rights?

You rented an apartment in a quiet location but all of a sudden there is construction going on and the noise is driving you crazy. Is there anything you can do in Switzerland other than pack up your stuff and move away?

Noisy construction work in Switzerland: What are my rights?
Hammering noise can really disrupt your peace. Photo by Burst on Pexels

While Switzerland might have a range of unusually strong tenant protections, you can’t stop the construction or the noise, no matter how much you are bothered by it.

In Switzerland, there are regulations relating to noise reduction in densely populated areas.

The appropriately named Construction Noise Directive (CAD) aims at protecting living and working places in the vicinity of construction sites.

It uses criteria such as the distance between a dwelling and the construction site, the days and times of construction activity (no nights or Sundays, for instance), as well as the duration of the noisy phase of construction.

What if the construction is in your building?

As a tenant, you have the right to ask the landlord in writing for a reduction in the rent due to the work and the inconvenience suffered (dust, noise, etc.) during the construction period.

The amount of the rent reduction will depend on the extent of the inconvenience and disruption to your life and health, so describe the situation in detail.

Renting in Switzerland: Can I pay less when my landlord renovates the apartment?

If other tenants in your building are also bothered by the noise, you could sign and send one letter to the landlord from all of you.

Aside from the construction noise in general, you can also can also request rent reduction if you are considerably inconvenienced by landlord-ordered transformations in your building which generate noise and dust, or your inability to use your balcony or open your windows for an extended period of time because of scaffolding.

What if the landlord refuses to lower your rent?

You can always take legal action once the construction / transformation is finished and final amount of the reduction can be determined.

If the parties can’t reach an agreement, the court will decide whether the landlord should grant lower the rent, and if so, by how much, and for what period of time.

To this end, Swiss Tenants Association advises to document — with photos and videos — any major disruptions emanating from the construction. https://www.mieterverband.ch

This site which also exists in French and Italian also provides general advice on  tenants’ rights.

READ MORE: Buying property versus renting in Switzerland: What is actually cheaper?

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COST OF LIVING

Six no-gimmick websites that help you save money in Switzerland

Sure, there are many adverts on the internet that claim to offer cheaper this and that, but more often than not, clicking on the link could cost you even more money (and time). However, there are also credible sites in Switzerland that will actually help you spend less.

Six no-gimmick websites that help you save money in Switzerland

When you live in an expensive country like Switzerland, getting more bang for your buck (or franc) may seem like an impossible feat.

Some residents of border areas save money by shopping for groceries in France, Italy, or Germany, where most products are much cheaper.

But not everyone in Switzerland has access to these stores and some people may actually prefer to support their own economy, even if it costs more.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about the cost of living in Switzerland

These six sites will not help you save money on everything, but they will help you in that direction.

Comparis.ch is an independent comparison platform that provides well-researched and impartial information on best deals in a variety of areas.

They include lowest prices for insurance (health, life, travel, car, and others); properties (including loans and mortgages); vehicles; and mobile phone and internet plans.

You can also find price comparison for various electronics; toys; beauty and wellness services; car and motorcycle accessories, and other products and services.

Moneyland.ch is another, though similar, cost comparison website, where lowest prices for banking, insurance and telecom services can be found.

Like Comparis, Moneyland will often produce reports ranking certain products and services, such as healthcare and insurance plans, which can give you a valuable insight on how to save in Switzerland. 

We can’t tell you which of the two resources is better; visit both and see which one fits your needs. Both have a English-language pages, as well as producing reports in Switzerland’s national languages. 

Cost of living: How to save on groceries in Switzerland

Toppreise.ch

This comprehensive portal also lists prices for hundreds of products in a wide range of categories, including electronics; household items, and appliances; clothing and jewellery; and even wine.

You can get good deals on wine if you look around. Image by Holger Detje from Pixabay

Bonus.ch

This site compares prices of items ranging from foods to body care products at Coop, Migros, and Lidl.

The prices may not always be up to date (and may change as the war in Ukraine and inflation progress), but the site will nevertheless give you a good idea of which products are cheapest where.

READ MORE: 13 things that are actually ‘cheaper’ in Switzerland

Consumer sites

While these websites aim primarily at protecting and defending consumer rights, they also have some useful information on how to save money on various purchases.

For instance, the Swiss-German chapter, Stiftung für Konsumentenschutz has advice on how to save on customs taxes when purchasing goods online in foreign countries.

In the French speaking cantons, Féderation  Romande des Consommateurs has information on where in the region you can pick your own strawberries and save money while doing so, and in Ticino, Associazione consumatrici e consumatori della Svizzera italiana has similar information.

If you visit these consumer sites regularly, you will find helpful advice on how and where to spend less on certain products and services at that particular time.

Find out where picking your own strawberries will save you money. Photo: Anna Tarazevich / Pexels

And then there is this…
 
If you want to know how much the price of communal services such as water and waste management is in your commune and how it compares with other Swiss municipalities, you can check it out on this official government website.
 
It doesn’t tell you per se how to save money on these services but it is a useful resource nevertheless.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: Why is Switzerland so expensive?

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