Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law Ltd updates

Revision of Federal Act on the Reduction of CO2 Emissions
Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law Ltd
  • Environment & Climate Change
  • Switzerland
  • December 18 2017

The Federal Council recently published its dispatch regarding the total revision of the Federal Act on the Reduction of Carbon Dioxide Emissions for 2021 to 2030. The parliamentary debate on the revision of the act will start in 2018. This will define the development and course of Swiss climate policy for upcoming years. Switzerland aims to tighten the act and reinforce its contribution to the limitation of global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Legislative developments in land-use planning
Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law Ltd
  • Real Estate
  • Switzerland
  • November 24 2017

The proposed second part of the Spatial Planning Act revision will give the cantons more flexibility with regard to construction activities outside building zones so that they can consider their individual needs more appropriately. An initiative to stop uncontrolled urban sprawl will oblige the federation, cantons and communities to freeze the present size of building zones and ensure that the zones grow no further.

Major steps taken towards linking Swiss and EU emissions trading systems
Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law Ltd
  • Environment & Climate Change
  • Switzerland
  • October 09 2017

Contrary to the EU emissions trading system (ETS), thus far the Swiss ETS does not incorporate aviation emissions. In order to align and link the Swiss and EU ETS, the Swiss system must include these emissions. As such, the Federal Council recently adopted the Ordinance on the Acquisition and Reporting of Tonne-Kilometre Data relating to Distances Covered by Aircraft.

Federal Supreme Court stops property sale between foreigners
Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law Ltd
  • Real Estate
  • Switzerland
  • July 14 2017

Foreign investments in Swiss real estate are governed by a federal law known as the 'Lex Koller' and additional cantonal rules. The law restricts the acquisition of residential real property by non-Swiss residents. In a recent decision, the Federal Supreme Court decided for the first time that the sale of a vacation home between two non-Swiss residents is allowed only in designated communities. The decision stops a long-standing practice of the cantonal authorities.

Swiss inventories of second homes published
Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law Ltd
  • Real Estate
  • Switzerland
  • May 05 2017

An initiative adopted in 2012 led to a constitutional amendment limiting the total number of second homes in any municipality to 20% of the total number of residential units existing in the concerned municipality. Each municipality is obliged to keep an inventory of all homes and to update it by the end of each calendar year. The Federal Office for Spatial Development recently published the inventories of second homes for the first time.

Environmental legislation in effect and in the pipeline
Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law Ltd
  • Environment & Climate Change
  • Switzerland
  • May 01 2017

Various amendments to Swiss environmental statutes and ordinances came into effect in 2016 or will come into effect in 2017. These new measures include certain amendments to the adjustments to the Ordinance on Movements of Waste, a revision of the Ordinance on the Protection against Non-ionising Radiation and amendments to the Federal Act on Forests and the Ordinance on Forests.

Stricter rules for foreign investments in Swiss real property?
Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law Ltd
  • Real Estate
  • Switzerland
  • April 07 2017

Even though the federal Parliament recently rejected two motions to tighten the legal regime governing foreign investments in Swiss real estate, the federal government has now submitted a number of proposals that head in the same direction. Under the guise of closing loopholes and improving law enforcement, a substantial tightening of the legal regime governing foreign investments is under discussion.

Federal Supreme Court decision on building in noise-affected areas
Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law Ltd
  • Environment & Climate Change
  • Switzerland
  • December 19 2016

Swiss environmental laws provide for certain requirements to allow new building zones and new buildings in areas that are affected by noise. To assess compliance with these requirements, noise measurements are required. In a recent decision, the Federal Supreme Court decided that a widely used method of measurement – so-called 'ventilation-window practice' – is not compatible with legal requirements.

Federal Supreme Court decision on building in noise-affected areas
Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law Ltd
  • Real Estate
  • Switzerland
  • December 16 2016

Swiss environmental laws provide for certain requirements to allow new building zones and new buildings in areas that are affected by noise. To assess compliance with these requirements, noise measurements are required. In a recent decision, the Federal Supreme Court decided that a widely used method of measurement – so-called 'ventilation-window practice' – is not compatible with legal requirements.

New register of public law restrictions on land ownership
Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law Ltd
  • Real Estate
  • Switzerland
  • November 04 2016

The cadastre of public law restrictions on land ownership (PLR cadastre) is being developed by the federal government and the cantons. It is one of the three cornerstones of the Swiss cadastral system, besides the land register and cadastral surveying. Whereas information on private law restrictions can be obtained from the land register, the PLR cadastre provides information about the most important public law restrictions on land ownership.

Federal Supreme Court decision on 'polluter pays' principle and heirs' liability
Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law Ltd
  • Environment & Climate Change
  • Switzerland
  • July 25 2016

The Federal Supreme Court recently decided on the environmental liability of owners that make their property available to landfill operators in return for financial compensation. The court also held that the cost-bearing duty of the initial property owner did not transfer to the heirs and so they must therefore be released from any cost-bearing duty.

Brexit vote: time to buy Swiss real estate?
Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law Ltd
  • Real Estate
  • Switzerland
  • July 01 2016

Following the United Kingdom's EU referendum, the legal situation of UK citizens – particularly those living in Switzerland – is likely to change in relation to Swiss real estate. Until Brexit takes legal effect, UK citizens with legal and actual Swiss residence may be treated as Swiss residents and thus may acquire Swiss residential properties without restriction. However, this should change once Brexit takes legal effect.

Access to land register information
Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law Ltd
  • Real Estate
  • Switzerland
  • June 03 2016

The Civil Code and the Federal Ordinance on the Land Register govern formal and substantive land register matters, including land register management, access to register information and the legal effect of register entries. Even though land register matters are mainly governed by federal laws, the registers are kept by cantonal authorities. Thus, land register information should be requested from the cantonal authority at the place of the concerned property.

Key environmental legislation in effect and in the pipeline
Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law Ltd
  • Environment & Climate Change
  • Switzerland
  • March 21 2016

Various amendments to Swiss environmental statutes and ordinances came into effect in 2015 or will come into effect in 2016. These new measures include certain amendments to the Ordinance on Air Pollution Control to reflect technical improvements and amendments to the Ordinance on the Reduction of Risks Relating to the Use of Certain Particularly Dangerous Substances, Preparations and Articles to align Swiss laws with international regulations.

Recent jurisprudence on construction activities in aquatic areas
Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law Ltd
  • Environment & Climate Change
  • Switzerland
  • December 07 2015

The Federal Supreme Court recently decided three cases concerning the undertaking of construction activities in aquatic areas, which is limited by federal water protection laws and allowed only in exceptional cases. While only fixed installations that serve the public interest may be built in such areas, the authorities may authorise exceptions in certain circumstances.

Non-Swiss residents can own several holiday homes in exceptional cases
Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law Ltd
  • Real Estate
  • Switzerland
  • November 13 2015

A non-Swiss resident inherited one Swiss holiday home and already owned another. The question arose of whether he had to sell one of the properties due to restrictions on the acquisition of Swiss real estate by non-Swiss residents. The Federal Supreme Court confirmed that the rule that non-Swiss residents may acquire only one holiday home does not apply to legal heirs.

Federal Supreme Court decision on subsidies to remediate polluted sites
Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law Ltd
  • Environment & Climate Change
  • Switzerland
  • August 03 2015

The Federal Supreme Court recently decided on whether a canton is entitled to federal subsidies for remediation measures in connection with a project on a site that, without the building project, would not be in need of remediation. The court held that there is no legal ground obliging the confederation to subsidise remediation on sites that do not generally need it and that require remediation due only to a particular construction project.

Parliament adopts new federal rules on second homes
Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law Ltd
  • Real Estate
  • Switzerland
  • July 24 2015

In March 2015 Parliament adopted the Federal Act on Second Homes, which is expected to enter into force in early 2016 and will govern the final implementation of the new rule restricting second homes. The relevant constitutional provision states that no more than 20% of the total number of residential units and of the gross residential floor area in any municipality may be used as second homes.

Federal Supreme Court decision on standing to challenge lease termination
Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law Ltd
  • Real Estate
  • Switzerland
  • April 17 2015

The Federal Supreme Court recently considered whether a co-tenant had standing to challenge wrongful termination of a lease contract on her own. It stated that a lease contract cannot be terminated for one co-tenant only; therefore, all parties concerned must participate in an action challenging the lease termination. However, this does not mean that all co-tenants must be on the same side of the bar.

Federal Supreme Court decision on lease termination during blocking period
Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law Ltd
  • Real Estate
  • Switzerland
  • April 10 2015

The Federal Supreme Court recently had to decide for the first time whether challenging the termination of a lease during conciliation or court proceedings requires the landlord's knowledge of the pending proceedings. It concluded that protection against untimely termination applies from the start of the proceedings until a final decision is rendered, irrespective of when the landlord becomes aware of proceedings.

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