Swiss Law Regarding Second Homes

09.01.17

Useful information for residence owners and buyers.

The Sper Davos Apartments are for sale in the popular winter sports destination Davos. They are an interesting investment for foreign buyers. However, buyers should consider specific conditions of the Swiss real estate market, particularly the Federal Act on second homes that has taken effect since January 1, 2016. The good news is, however, that the restrictions mainly apply to apartments established or legally approved after 11th March 2012 – the Sper Davos Apartments were completed in 2011 and therefore, the practical implications of the Federal Act on second homes on Sper Davos Apartments are limited.

Since the adoption of the second-home initiative on 11th March 2012, the percentage of second homes in Switzerland is limited by law to 20% per community. A second home is anything that is not considered to be a primary residence or a residence equivalent to a primary residence. A primary residence is a residence in which at least one person permanently resides, that is used for commercial or educational purposes or as an employee or service residence.

Conversion of existing residences under previous law

The premium Sper Davos Apartments, which are located in front of the Hotel InterContinental Davos, were completed in 2011. Due to the fact that these residences were established and legally approved prior to 11th March 2012, the residences count as so-called dwellings under previous law and may in principle be used freely and one benefits from relatively generous provisions regarding conversion. What this means particularly: They may be converted from primary residences to second homes and from second homes to primary residences. Renovations, alterations and even reconstructions within the framework of the main usable area are permitted. New residences may also be created through floor-plan changes if the prior main usable area is maintained. If corresponding space for expansion is available, an enlargement of the usable area by max. 30% is permitted as long as no additional residences are created. For example: A dilapidated chalet with two primary residences may be demolished and rebuilt within the boundaries of the previous main usable area. In this case, it is permissible to redistribute the usable area across three holiday apartments. Conclusion: The second–home act does not have a great impact on the use or conversion of the Sper Davos Apartments.

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