Most Read Contributor in Switzerland, February 2017
A Swiss national residing in Dubai and married to a British
husband wanted to purchase two land parcels in the Canton of
Friborg for CHF 1.6 million. As the so-called Lex Koller regulating
the acquisition of land property in Switzerland applies only to
foreigners, Swiss nationals were so far not subject to the Lex
Koller. In line with this practice, the local land registry
authorities of the Canton of Fribourg ruled that the envisaged land
property was not subject to a Lex Koller approval.
The Swiss Federal Justice Agency supervising the local
implementation of the Lex Koller appealed against this decision
before the Swiss Federal Supreme Court by arguing in the specific
case constellation that a large part of the land purchase price was
financed by the foreign husband. The highest court in Switzerland
confirmed that Swiss expatriates along with Swiss nationals
residing in Switzerland are not subject to the Lex Koller as long
as the foreign financing ranges within the usual limit of two
thirds of the sales value of the land property.
However, the Swiss Supreme Court held that the Lex Koller should
apply to Swiss nationals too if the financing exceeds 80 percent
since the foreign financier acquires a quasi-ownership position in
the Swiss land property. In the specific case constellation, the
British husband residing in Dubai contributed around CHF
400'000 to the purchase price. Furthermore, the mortgage of CHF
1'200'000 was entirely served by the husband's income
which led the Swiss Supreme Court to the conclusion that the
British husband's share of the financing was well over 80
percent of the overall purchase price.
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