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29 June 2018
In March 2017 the federal government submitted to public consultation several proposals to amend the legal regime governing foreign investments in Swiss real property. The vast majority of the comments received rejected the proposed amendments. Consequently, the government dropped its plan to amend a federal law concerning the acquisition of real estate by non-Swiss residents (known as the 'Lex Koller')(1) and a related ordinance.(2)
The proposed amendments aimed to:
In particular, additional restrictions were considered for the following areas:
The public consultation resulted in nearly 200 comments from political parties, cantons, industry players and organisations representing municipalities, cities and alpine regions.
The vast majority of respondents were firmly against the planned amendments and argued that there was generally no need to change the law after Parliament had recently rejected motions to tighten the relevant legal regime. Respondents also feared increased administrative work and a negative impact on the industry and national economy. Conversely, however, a few cantons partially supported the federal government's proposals.
Considering the overall result of the public consultation, on 20 June 2018 the federal government decided to drop its plan to amend the law.
The current legal regime will not be changed for the time being. Accordingly, the acquisition of Swiss business premises by non-Swiss residents will not be subject to the Lex Koller restrictions and the focus of the law remains on residential real property.
However, under the current regime, Lex Koller issues may arise (in practice) if transactions involve Swiss real property and aim to:
The following pending parliamentary motions may affect the Lex Koller regime in the medium term:
For further information on this topic, please contact Michael Lips or Larissa Rickenbacher at Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law Ltd by telephone (+41 44 217 91 11) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com). The Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law Ltd website can be accessed at www.pestalozzilaw.com.
(3) For further details please see "Stricter rules for foreign investments in Swiss real property?".
(4) For further details please see "Latest developments in foreign real property investments".
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