Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law Ltd updates

Federal Supreme Court decision on compensation due to limitation of secondary homes
Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law Ltd
  • Real Estate
  • Switzerland
  • 16 November 2018

The Federal Supreme Court recently addressed for the first time whether the prohibition to build secondary homes on private property entitles landowners to compensation. The court ruled on the consequences of the withdrawal of a previously established right through an amendment of the law and clarified that the concept of private property is not a fixed notion inaccessible to change. There is no entitlement to a permanent definition of the concept of private property.

Federal Supreme Court rules on allocation of clean-up costs for contaminated sites
Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law Ltd
  • Environment & Climate Change
  • Switzerland
  • 15 October 2018

The Federal Supreme Court recently ruled on the allocation of clean-up costs where certain polluters are exempt from liability. For the first time, the court discussed the question of whether a contaminated site owner's exemption from liability leads to a corresponding additional burden on the polluter which, through its own conduct, caused the clean-up measures or whether the additional burden passes to the canton and the municipality.

Federal government drops plan to tighten rules on foreign real property investments
Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law Ltd
  • Real Estate
  • Switzerland
  • 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. While the government subsequently dropped its plan to amend the Lex Koller and a related ordinance, certain pending parliamentary motions may impact the Lex Koller regime in the medium term.

Latest environmental legislation in effect and in the pipeline
Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law Ltd
  • Environment & Climate Change
  • Switzerland
  • 28 May 2018

Various amendments to Swiss environmental statutes and ordinances have recently entered into effect or will come into effect in the foreseeable future. These new measures include certain amendments to the Energy Act, the Water Protection Ordinance, the Ordinance on the Prevention and the Disposal of Waste and the Ordinance on Protection against Major Accidents.

Levy on added value of land resulting from planning measures
Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law Ltd
  • Real Estate
  • Switzerland
  • 27 April 2018

Swiss legislation provides for adequate compensation for considerable advantages and disadvantages resulting from spatial planning measures. In particular, land that is newly allocated to a building zone substantially increases in value. Owners of such land will benefit from spatial planning activities without any contribution on their part. For reasons of fairness, these benefits are subject to a levy which is supposed to 'skim off' part of the added value.

Revision of Federal Act on the Reduction of CO2 Emissions
Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law Ltd
  • Environment & Climate Change
  • Switzerland
  • 18 December 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
  • 24 November 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
  • 09 October 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
  • 14 July 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
  • 05 May 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
  • 01 May 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
  • 07 April 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
  • 19 December 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
  • 16 December 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
  • 04 November 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
  • 25 July 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
  • 01 July 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
  • 03 June 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
  • 21 March 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
  • 07 December 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.

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