Our 5 tips: How to find a flatmate


Whether you want to set up a new flat share or already have one and a room becomes vacant, searching for a flatmate can be tricky and time-consuming. There’s a massive demand for rooms in flat shares, but finding the right person in the flood of enquiries can be a challenge. Check out our five tips for finding a new flatmate and the perfect flat share.

Our 5 tips: How to find a flatmate

The essentials at a glance

  • Set out clear criteria for your new flatmate.
  • Harness the powers of your social circle, the usual portals and social media.
  • Select potential candidates according to your criteria.
  • Plan apartment viewings well in advance and give yourself enough time.
  • Make sure that all contractual and administrative matters and insurance cover are sorted out.

Tip 1: Set out your criteria

Before you start searching for a suitable flatmate, think about the kind of person you actually want to live with. Should they be a certain age? Students: yes or no? Are pets allowed? Would you be happy to spend a lot of time with your flatmate, or do you prefer your own space?

Having a clear idea will equip you to handle the potential flood of enquiries more easily and find a good match for you.

Tip 2: Search the right way

Searching in your group of friends and acquaintances is an easy way to go and has a good chance of success. Let your social network know that you have a room free and ask if anyone knows someone who might like to move in.

If you don’t manage to find a new flatmate that way, place an informative ad on some property and flat share portals. You could opt for Homegate or portals like wgzimmer.ch or students.ch. Social media is always a good option, too: either share a post or story from your profile and allow your friends to share it, or create an ad in a Facebook group. You can find a list of useful websites in our article on looking for a flat share.

The quality of your ad is also part of searching the right way, however. Your ad should contain all of the key information about the room, plus quality images and contact information. It must include the following:

  • Rental price and other fixed costs (internet, TV, insurance, etc.)
  • Size/number of rooms in the apartment
  • Size of the room; furnished or not?
  • Is the room only available on a temporary basis? If so, for how long?
  • Facilities (internet, washing machine, dishwasher, etc.)
  • Pictures of all relevant rooms (ideally in daylight)
  • Your contact details (we recommend giving your email address)
  • Short description of you and the person you’re looking for. You can also mention the definite no-goes here.

In a rush? You can set a deadline for applications in your listing.

Tip 3: Sift thoroughly

If you did a good job of your listing, you might well receive a flood of applications. Now it’s a matter of sifting through them. Ideally, do a few passes. Start by taking out anyone who doesn’t meet the basic requirements. You can then go through the applications in greater detail with each pass.

And don’t forget: the applicants will appreciate if you let them know as soon as possible whether they are invited to a viewing or not.

Tip 4: A well-planned viewing

Before your potential flatmates come to a viewing, you should think about exactly how you want to arrange it. Besides letting the applicant view the room and the property itself, you’ll probably also want to find out something about them. Jot down any questions that you definitely want to ask and give yourself enough time. At the first meeting, it is very important to be honest and clearly communicate the reality of living in a flat share. This will prevent any misunderstandings or unpleasant surprises.

Tip 5: Sorting out the contract & admin

Different types of tenancy may apply when renting out a room in a flat share:

  • Co-tenancy: You are both main tenants, so you both sign the rental agreement and are both liable. This is particularly recommended for long-term living arrangements.
  • Subtenancy: One person is the main tenant and signs the rental agreement for the property, while the other person is the subtenant. This requires the landlord’s consent.

In addition to the type of tenancy, it is also important to clarify how you will handle the deposit, who has the internet subscription and whether you will need to get joint insurance.