Most Read Contributor in Switzerland, February 2017
The Swiss Federal Government intends to adapt the federal laws
on the acquisition of real estate land by persons abroad (Lex
Koller) in order to address widespread concerns that foreign
investments - also by individuals immigrating to Switzerland -
continue to drive up real estate prices in Switzerland. On March
10, 2017, the goverment opened the consultation process ending on
June 30, 2017, by presenting the draft legislation.
With a view to reverting to the purpose of the law, the Swiss
Federal Government proposes that the acquisition of capital housing
by nationals of countries other than the European Union (EU) or the
European Free Trade Association (EFTA) be subject again to
authorization, this authorization to be combined with an obligation
to sell the residential property again as soon as the place of
residence in Switzerland is abandoned (what led in the past to
cases of obvious abuse, also with respect to owners acquiring under
the EU/EFTA-safe haven).
In addition, the Swiss Federal Council wants to clarify
controversial practical questions, for example, the conversion of
commercial real estate into residential properties. And the Swiss
Federal Goverment intends to shorten the procedures by abolishing
double cantonal appeal bodies and to reduce administrative
The Swiss Federal Government also uses the consultation process
to obtain feedback on potential revisions regarding the purchase of
commercial real estate in combination with a business operation in
Switzerland (in other words to reintroduce the authorization
procedures required until 1997), whereby the cantons would be given
the possibility of loosening the rule in cases of considerable
investment importance or their local community for reasons of
tourism. And even more importantly, the Swiss Federal Goverment
wants to debate whether the purchase of shares in residential
property investment companies by foreigners should be again subject
to stricter rules (after this basic ban had been lifted in
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