One main piece of advice for organising accommodation in Geneva is… get it sorted early! Geneva is a relatively small city and home to many international companies and organisations, which means there is a large influx of international workers and students looking for accommodation.
University accommodation and private halls of residence: I highly recommend applying for halls as they usually provide you with the best deal on accommodation in terms of value for money, location and the added bonus of an instant circle of friends!
The university’s Bureau des Logements provides detailed information about each university residence and private student halls on their website.
The rent varies depending on the residence and the type of room, but the average price per month is £300, including bills. In Geneva, this is a great deal and the residences are of a good standard in general. Consequently, they are oversubscribed so although the deadline for applications for the autumn term is at the end of May, apply for halls as soon as you possibly can to ensure you have the best chance.
Private accommodation: The university’s Bureau de Logements also have a private housing database called ORISIS where landlords or students looking for flatmates post their adverts and you can contact them directly. You will get your password for ORISIS when your application to the university becomes successful. N.B The University doesn’t vet these adverts so it is still important to view the properties before putting down a deposit.
The university gives guidelines for how much you should pay for private accommodation depending on the room size and location. They recommend that you pay between £270-370 per month for a room on the outskirts of town and £350-450 for a room in the city centre. However, due to the high demand for accommodation, landlords are in a position to inflate the price of rent, in which case, privately rented rooms or flats are more likely to cost £500-675 per month.
Student flat shares: The best place to find a student flat share is on the site www.easywg.ch or around campus where students post adverts on noticeboards.
Areas: Geneva is a lot smaller than London so areas that may seem far out on the transport map may only be a 20/30 min commute to university.
The transport in Geneva is very good (student monthly travel card costs £30 at www.tpg.ch) however the buses are very irregular on a Sunday, after 9pm on weekdays and stop running around midnight except on Saturdays. Therefore, if you do live outside the city centre, you may pay less rent but getting home late at night on a weekday can be a problem!
Most students live around Uni-Mail and Plainpalais.
Try to avoid areas around Gare Cornavain as it isn’t a very safe area.
There are lots of flat shares on Rive Droite due to its proximity to the international organisations and the airport.
Further out: Carouge, Chêne-Bougeries and Le Grand-Saconnex are more residential areas.
Cologny is the Beverly Hills of Geneva, and right on the edge of the lake…
Arriving: If you arrive in Geneva without any accommodation or you go before term to find somewhere to live, you can find temporary accommodation at www.airbnb.ch or www.hostelbookers.com.
Tips: Apply for halls of residence early.
View private accommodation in person before putting down a deposit.
Private landlords usually ask for large deposits, anything ranging from 1.5- 3 months rent.