Expats who rent an apartment in Zurich usually must pay a security deposit. Watch out! If you deal with an untrustworthy landlord, he might make you pay it to his account directly and try to ripp you off once you leave the apartment you rented in Zurich.
It is simple: the one who holds the money has the power! If you pay your rental deposit directly to the bank account of your landlord, you might have disadvantages if there should be any issues later on. If you rent an apartment in Zurich, the security deposit can be up to three monthly rents. Say you pay 2000 Swiss francs rent, this sums up to a lot of money. Unfortunately, every now and then, some landlords try to take advantage of this.
Basically the security deposit is paid so in case the expat renting the apartment in Zurich causes any damages to the apartment they can be covered with the deposit. However, what if the landlord just claims that, for example, a minor damage which usually must be paid by the landlord, must be paid by the tenant? If the expat renting the apartment in Zurich secured the deposit in a blocked bank account, he or she can just relax and not agree to unblock the amount until you find an agreement. If the deposit was paid directly to the landlord, he /she will have much more power over you.
A landlord who is untrustworthy might just poker and hope that you will give in. Especially if you are an expat renting an apartment in Zurich. Being a foreigner everything is more complicated. Some landlords might just not give you back the deposit stating that there are damages that must be paid. They might poker and hope that the effort of hiring a lawyer and sue them is too high. Expats renting an apartment in Zurich should always insist on paying the security deposit to a blocked account. This might save you trouble.