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Old 22.07.2013, 10:44
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New Swiss real estate law - secondary vs primary residence restrictions

Does anybody know or have a copy of this new Swiss real estate law that restricts the amount of secondary holiday housing to 20% of total housing per Gemainde? Some parts of Switzerland have a lot of secondary residences and the swiss want to limit this to 20% vs primary residences
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Old 22.07.2013, 14:21
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Re: New Swiss real estate law - secondary vs primary residence restrictions

So far it is only part of the Swiss Constitiution:

Art 75b Swiss Constitution
Quote:
1 No more than 20 per cent of the total stock of residential units and the gross residential floor area in any commune may be used as second homes.

2 The law shall require communes to publish their first home percentage plan and a detailed report on its implementation every year.
and
Art 197 Abs 9
Quote:
9. Transitional provision to Art. 75b (Second homes)

1 If the relevant legislation does not come into force within two years of the adoption of Article 75b, the Federal Council shall issue the required implementing provisions on construction, sale and recording in the land register by ordinance.

2 Building permits for second homes granted between 1 January of the year following the adoption of Article 75b and the date on which the implementing provisions come into force shall be null and void.

The Federal Council released a draft of the law open for comment until October 20
It can be found here:
(German)
(French)
(Italian)
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Old 22.07.2013, 14:35
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Re: New Swiss real estate law - secondary vs primary residence restrictions

I wonder how this law will be interpreted for a secondary residence houses that were built before 2013.

What happens if someone has a house that is currently considered a secondary Swiss residence (house was bought or built a house few yrs ago so not new) because he is not a Swiss resident at the moment. If he comes back to Switzerland as permanent resident in 2015 and he makes this house as his primary residence for 6 months to 1 year until he finds another house as primary residence can he go back to having this residence again as secondary or does it get reclassified to primary permanently?

Is best solution for him to rent or buy a completely new house for his primary residence from day one that he comes back as Swiss resident?
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Old 22.07.2013, 14:38
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Re: New Swiss real estate law - secondary vs primary residence restrictions

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The Federal Council released a draft of the law open for comment until October 20

The Federal Council has opened the consultation on draft laws and ordinances on second homes. The consultation lasts until 20 October 2013.

Does this mean that the law has not been passed yet`?
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Old 22.07.2013, 14:39
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Re: New Swiss real estate law - secondary vs primary residence restrictions

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I wonder how this law will be interpreted for a secondary residence houses that were built before 2013.

What happens if someone has a house that is currently considered a secondary Swiss residence (house was bought or built a house few yrs ago so not new) because he is not a Swiss resident at the moment. If he comes back to Switzerland as permanent resident in 2015 and he makes this house as his primary residence for 6 months to 1 year until he finds another house as primary residence can he go back to having this residence again as secondary or does it get reclassified to primary permanently?

Is best solution for him to rent or buy a completely new house for his primary residence from day one that he comes back as Swiss resident?
It greatly will depend on how many of the other properties are second residences .
Generally taxation is high in places with lots of second homes...............
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Old 22.07.2013, 14:45
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Re: New Swiss real estate law - secondary vs primary residence restrictions

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It greatly will depend on how many of the other properties are second residences .
Generally taxation is high in places with lots of second homes...............
I should have added that I was referring to a holday area where there is more than 20% of secondary homes.
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Old 22.07.2013, 15:15
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Re: New Swiss real estate law - secondary vs primary residence restrictions

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The Federal Council has opened the consultation on draft laws and ordinances on second homes. The consultation lasts until 20 October 2013.

Does this mean that the law has not been passed yet`?
A referendum, the Zweitwohnungsinitiative, was passed in 2012. The popular vote makes the concept law.

After a referendum is voted in the details, the actual text of the law, are then hammered out in the legislature. After a draft of the legislation is agreed to, a consultation period is held where interested parties can make their views known. Some details might change based on issues arising out of that commentary period, but the principle of the law - that no more than 20% of any Gemeinde/Commune be allowed as second homes - remains carved in stone.

Carved in stone, that is, until a future successful popular referendum reverses it.


FYI, the list of affected Gemeinden is here, click on the .pdf 'Verordnung über Zweitwohnungen von 22 August 2012'. The list can be found at the end of the document.
http://www.are.admin.ch/themen/raump...x.html?lang=de

However, I think I remember reading that the list has been adjusted in the intervening months. A few Gemeinden were found to be under the limit, IIRC.

(Oops - ASwissInTheUS already linked this bit...

Last edited by meloncollie; 22.07.2013 at 15:29.
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Old 22.07.2013, 15:31
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Re: New Swiss real estate law - secondary vs primary residence restrictions

From info received from someone in Verbier , it effects new builds, current primary residents can become second residences without issue. Of course the law may be interpreted differently elsewhere.
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Old 22.07.2013, 15:35
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Re: New Swiss real estate law - secondary vs primary residence restrictions

It is a draft and not an actual law a lot will change until it is an actual law. Right now we are at step 2 of the process.

What you are looking for is mentioned in:
Art. 12 Bauliche und nutzungsmässige Änderungen
1 Eine altrechtliche Wohnung im Sinne dieses Gesetzes ist eine Wohnung, die am 11. März 2012 rechtmässig bestand oder rechtskräftig bewilligt war.
2 Altrechtliche Wohnungen sind unter Vorbehalt bestehender oder künftiger Nut-zungsbeschränkungen des kantonalen oder kommunalen Rechts in der Art der Wohnnutzung frei.

English summary: Any aparement which existed before March 11 2012 can be used as primary or secondary residence w/o restriction.

But I do not think that the guy who started the initiative will like this Article.
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Old 22.07.2013, 15:40
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Re: New Swiss real estate law - secondary vs primary residence restrictions

This is what Verbier, and much of the Valais, wants. But this is not the spirit of the law voted in. There is a kind of immob 'civil war' going on about the final law, with Valais against the rest of Switzerland... interesting times ahead

Strangely our village which is not at all touristy, is in a 20+ situation. Because one of the farmers is obsessed with buying up any property coming on the market, outbidding until he gets the property, then leaves them un-attended and uncared for. Will be interesting here too... but in a very different way
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Old 22.07.2013, 15:55
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Re: New Swiss real estate law - secondary vs primary residence restrictions

There were are large no of primary residents in Verbier would have become secondary residences & the forfait tax payers would have rented a small flat in siviez as their main residences
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Old 04.01.2014, 03:31
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Re: New Swiss real estate law - secondary vs primary residence restrictions

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This is what Verbier, and much of the Valais, wants. But this is not the spirit of the law voted in. There is a kind of immob 'civil war' going on about the final law, with Valais against the rest of Switzerland... interesting times ahead

Strangely our village which is not at all touristy, is in a 20+ situation. Because one of the farmers is obsessed with buying up any property coming on the market, outbidding until he gets the property, then leaves them un-attended and uncared for. Will be interesting here too... but in a very different way
I guess his death will be marked with a large fall in property prices

I guess this will hurt some communes where the construction of second homes is a substantial industry.
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Old 04.01.2014, 11:16
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Re: New Swiss real estate law - secondary vs primary residence restrictions

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I guess this will hurt some communes where the construction of second homes is a substantial industry.
It already has.

I've been thinking that a second home would be the answer to my housing problem (because I cannot find a primary home, suitable to my needs, within commuting distance to Zürich) and have been looking in Toggenburg.

There are several tiny villages that are primarily second homes. These are generally built around a few farms; the village usually consists of a restaurant or two, a building/maintance/carpentry/gardening firm, and a small grocer. These are not the typical Swiss resort towns, these are not skiing areas, no international tourists would come here. Rather they are local-ish weekend getaways.

These villages are too far away for a daily commute to a metro area, and there are few jobs available in the immediate area. The primary resource of the area is a pretty view and room to breathe - hence the second homes. Around these second homes an income-generating industry has sprung up, management and maintenance of the holiday homes, bringing additional income to the local families.

The problem with the 20% limit in these villages is there is little to keep the 80% gainfully employed. It is unrealistic to think that traditional jobs could support that number of people in this area.

But with no more second homes allowed, the one growing source of income for the local folks has been cut off. In my search I've spoken to many local folks who have taken a serious economic hit due to the Zweitwohnungsinitiative.

Yes, owners of a second home could rent the home out and thus get around the Zweitwohnungs law - but again, this is not a tourist area. A few of the second homes have tried to rent, but I've been told there is little demand. It's a totally different market.

Hurting local economies was not the goal of the initiative either.
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Old 04.01.2014, 13:47
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Re: New Swiss real estate law - secondary vs primary residence restrictions

The Swiss are a funny bunch ! What are they trying to achieve with this new law ? Their Ski resorts are already having a hard time with record numbers of " cold beds " and property in the Valais is taking a long time to sell. Investment in the region is mostly on hold due to low visitor numbers and the recession in Europe has a knock on effect in Switzerland.
I would of thought that the Swiss would be looking at ways to boost their economy and not restrict it.
I spoke to someone involved in property sales and rentals in Saas Fee last week and he said that people in the village will simply find ways around the new law by redeveloping existing sites into new properties and converting barns into appartment blocks !
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Old 04.01.2014, 15:08
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Re: New Swiss real estate law - secondary vs primary residence restrictions

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I would of thought that the Swiss would be looking at ways to boost their economy and not restrict it.

IMO, the Zweitwohnungsgesetz fairly well illustrates the down side of government by popular referendum. The majority of Swiss voters - who happen to be city or surbaban dwellers who had no financial 'skin in the game' - approved the law, on the idea that preserving open spaces was most important to their enjoyment of the countryside, to their idea of what Switzerland is all about. That a minority - folks who live in small mountain or rural villages and who earn significant income from second home development - are aversely affected was not a concern to the majority of voters.
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Old 04.01.2014, 16:22
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Re: New Swiss real estate law - secondary vs primary residence restrictions

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IMO, the Zweitwohnungsgesetz fairly well illustrates the down side of government by popular referendum. The majority of Swiss voters - who happen to be city or surbaban dwellers who had no financial 'skin in the game' - approved the law, on the idea that preserving open spaces was most important to their enjoyment of the countryside, to their idea of what Switzerland is all about. That a minority - folks who live in small mountain or rural villages and who earn significant income from second home development - are aversely affected was not a concern to the majority of voters.
There's nothing wrong with the fact that city and suburban dwellers also have a say in this matter. If it wasn't for the billions of their tax money transferred to these regions every year, many of these rural villages wouldn't exist any more. But this kind of financial solidarity is only warranted if all Swiss citizens can decide if and how the landscape should be preserved.

I'm aware of the fact that the construction industry in these regions have taken a hit. Maybe there are also more flexible instruments than the 20% cap required by the Zweitwohungsinitiative. But the construction frenzy was, in particular in the canton of Wallis, out of control, leading to such architectural abominations that can be seen now in Verbier or Crans Montana. Since all the relevant players (construction firms, land owners, politicians) had a finger in the pie, nobody in these regions was willing to impose any restriction on this business model. And intervention from the outside was therefore necessary.
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Old 04.01.2014, 16:39
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Re: New Swiss real estate law - secondary vs primary residence restrictions

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But the construction frenzy was, in particular in the canton of Wallis, out of control, leading to such architectural abominations that can be seen now in Verbier or Crans Montana. Since all the relevant players (construction firms, land owners, politicians) had a finger in the pie, nobody in these regions was willing to impose any restriction on this business model. And intervention from the outside was therefore necessary.
The recent buildings in Verbier are pretty nice, what do you expect for 25,000CHF plus a m2? They generally knocked down ugly property from the 60/70's & replaced with new, guess much of the ugly stuff that left will have to stay, possibly with some wooden cladding over concrete.
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Old 04.01.2014, 17:22
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Re: New Swiss real estate law - secondary vs primary residence restrictions

It seems strange to me that the local communes don't get a say in what is essentially a local matter. If one commune decides they want to reduce 2nd homes, then let them to it, but why impose it on a different commune against the wishes of the people who live there?
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Old 04.01.2014, 18:26
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Re: New Swiss real estate law - secondary vs primary residence restrictions

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It seems strange to me that the local communes don't get a say in what is essentially a local matter. If one commune decides they want to reduce 2nd homes, then let them to it, but why impose it on a different commune against the wishes of the people who live there?
Nothing to do with people who 'live there', just a handful of people will make more money selling 2nd homes to foreigners.
I believe VS has roughly 30% of all the forfeit tax payers for the whole of CH. Most of those people will claim to have primary residences in CH but in effect will often 'live' somewhere else. Of course that huge amount of 'unfairly low tax rates' comes from people who don't vote & could depart tomorrow, turning their 3 year old primary residences to secondary residences & laughing all the way to the bank.
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Old 08.06.2017, 23:46
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Re: New Swiss real estate law - secondary vs primary residence restrictions

This law is unclear to me. My wife and I are Swiss citizens and we have our primary residence in a Graubünden valley which is at its 20% limit. If we wish to sell that primary residence (a single family home, built in 2010) are we forced to sell it to a buyer who will use it as their primary residence or do we also have the option to sell it to a buyer who will use it as their secondary residence? Our house was built before this law came into effect.
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