• Switzerland edition
 
Switzerland delays holiday home restrictions
Holiday homes in Verbier (Photo: Zweitwohnungsinitiative.ch)

Switzerland delays holiday home restrictions

Published: 23 Aug 2012 11:37 GMT+02:00
Updated: 23 Aug 2012 11:37 GMT+02:00

The federal government has decided to delay by four months the implementation of a law to limit the construction of holiday homes in Switzerland.

The legislation, which aims to ban new secondary residences in Swiss municipalities where the level is already above 20 percent, is now set to take effect on January 1st 2013.

Voters on March 11th approved the law, an initiative spearheaded by environmentalist Franz Weber.

In delaying the legislation, the government issued a statement on Wednesday noting that it requires diverse changes to Swiss property regulations.

Weber pushed for the restrictions to end the “invasion” of secondary homes in some communities, particularly in tourist resorts, where chalets remain vacant for much of the year.

Supporters of the initiative were also concerned about real estate developments threatening natural areas.

The so-called “Lex Weber” applies to the authorization of new holiday homes in municipalities where the quota of 20 percent is exceeded.

However, an exception applies in cases when builders can guarantee that they will not have “empty beds” for most of the year and that they are to be used exclusively for tourists.

The federal government officially defines a secondary residence as one that is “not used year round by a person officially living in the municipality or for a business activity or training purposes”.

“Owners will still be able to convert their principal residence into a secondary residence,” Environment Minister Doris Leuthard said in Bern.

“But after transforming a principal residence into a secondary one, an owner would not be able to apply for a permit to build a new principal residence,” Leuthard said.

 Supporters of the initiative were angered by the government delay.

“It is a veritable denial of democracy,” Pierre Chifelle, a representative for Weber, was quoted as saying by several newspapers.

“The Swiss people wanted an immediate halt to anarchic development.”

Concerns have been raised over hundreds of applications already filed to build holiday homes that may escape the law’s restrictions.

The Zurich-based Tages Anzeiger newspaper outlines numerous loopholes that will allow builders and owners to skirt the legislation.

The law, for example, allows for hotels older than 25 years to be converted into condos.

However, an appraiser must certify that such hotels are no longer economically viable.

Resort developments remain possible provided they are managed in a way to ensure year-round use by tourists.

Tages Anzeiger also notes that the timetable set out by Leuthard is only provisional and that the actual legislation needs to be passed by parliament.

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

2012-08-23 18:39:37 by evianers
Although we live just across the border in France, we travel regularly in CH. For years we have noticed that greed has overtaken common sense and almost every available field of land is being built on. Money has always ruled Switzerland and viewing the number of new developments, this is probably obvious to everyone.
Today's headlines
Expats lace up running shoes for Swiss races
Runners take in mountain scenery in the Aletsch half marathon. Photo: Kathy Zimmerman

Expats lace up running shoes for Swiss races


From the simply beautiful to the downright barmy, Switzerland's vast array of running races are a great way for expats to integrate into the Swiss way of life, The Local's Caroline Bishop learns. READ () »

Unit sale drives rise in Novartis Q1 net profits
Photo: Sebastien Bozon/AFP

Unit sale drives rise in Novartis Q1 net profits

Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Novartis on Thursday posted a 24-percent jump in first-quarter net profit from the same period a year earlier, driven largely by the sale of a blood transfusion diagnostics unit. READ () »

Doctor acquitted for aiding senior’s suicide
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Doctor acquitted for aiding senior’s suicide

A Neuchâtel cantonal court has overturned the conviction of a doctor found guilty of breaking the law by helping an 89-year-old man die without getting a proper diagnosis of his condition. READ () »

Vote set for ban on food trading 'speculation'
Photo: Michael Buholzer

Vote set for ban on food trading 'speculation'

The Swiss will vote on a proposal to ban speculation on agricultural commodities and food, the government said on Wednesday, announcing that organizers had gathered enough signatures to put the issue to a referendum. READ () »

Tweet exposes Iran trip by right-wing Swiss MPs
Swiss People's Party MP Luzi Stamm. Photo: Federal Parliament

Tweet exposes Iran trip by right-wing Swiss MPs

Six members of the right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP) wanted to discreetly visit Iran without publicity last week but one of them inadvertently made the trip public in a tweet. 
 READ () »

Armadillo and crocodile meat seized at border
"Bush meat" seized by customs agents. Photo: Federal Customs Administration

Armadillo and crocodile meat seized at border

A Frenchman living in Switzerland was caught entering the country from France with unusual contraband in his suitcase: 16 kilograms of meat from exotic species native to the African jungle. READ () »

UN health agency hits back at vaccine foes
WHO headquarters in Geneva. Photo: Yann Forget

UN health agency hits back at vaccine foes

The Geneva-based World Health Organization (WHO) hit back on Wednesday against vaccine deniers who claim that immunization is pointless, risky and that the body is better off fighting disease unaided. READ () »

More protection sought for Lavaux vineyards
Photo: Malcolm Curtis/The Local

More protection sought for Lavaux vineyards

Voters in the canton of Vaud are set to go to the polls for a third time next month to decide on the future of Lavaux, the celebrated vineyard region east of Lausanne. READ () »

Zurich Insurance study warns of cyber risks
Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Zurich Insurance study warns of cyber risks

Organizations must dramatically improve their response to cyber risks to avoid a new global shock on the scale of the financial crisis that rocked the world in 2008, a study from a Swiss-based insurer concludes. READ () »

Zurich inaugurates city's giant quartzite plaza
Image: Raumgleiter

Zurich inaugurates city's giant quartzite plaza

The city of Zurich inaugurated the largest plaza in Switzerland on Tuesday night after a 17.2-million-franc ($19.5-million) facelift. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Bern finds solution for Erasmus student exchange programme
National
Bern zoo faces animal cruelty charges over bear cub deaths
Society
Swiss alpine ski champion announces same-sex marriage
Features
Former industrial zone transforms into Zurich’s trendiest spot
Tech
Swiss Solar Impulse team shows off new fuel-free aircraft
International
Suspect in Liechtenstein bank CEO murder case 'likely dead'
Sponsored Article
Caveman comedy comes to Zurich in English
Society
Innovative building provides refuge for hypersensitive tenants
Tech
VIDEO: Teenage boy sends Swiss army knife into stratosphere
International
Switzerland ranks second in world for social progress: report
National
Pharrell Williams set to perform in first Montreux jazzfest concert
Sport
American wingsuit flyer dies after Bernese Oberland accident
Advertisement:
Business & Money
H&M plans hefty Swiss minimum wage for employees by 2015
International
Caterpillar accused by US senator of dodging taxes through 'Swiss plan'
International
Geneva man in Facebook page fight with Italian carmaker Ferrari
International
Schumacher’s wife pays for 'medical suite' at Swiss family mansion
International
Aborted Swiss airlines take-off injures four at London airport
International
Swiss refuse asylum request from topless protest group founder
Business & Money
British expat former banker to head Swiss finance regulator FINMA
National
Swiss honey contains harmful plastic: TV consumer affairs report
Business & Money
Luxury watchmaker Patek Philippe threatens Geneva exit over taxes
Business & Money
World's largest watch fair opens in Basel amid uncertain times
International
'Fergie' credits hikes around Verbier mountains for recent weight loss
Etoiles de Montagne
Sponsored Article
How to summer holiday up a Swiss mountain
Swissbenefits
Sponsored Article
How to avoid Switzerland’s tax haven trap
International
Switzerland's residents are the happiest in the OECD: report
Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

2,088
jobs available