| Ramzi Chamat
Rental law in Switzerland is at the heart of a spirited debate, reflecting the tensions between landlords and tenants. Recently, two legislative proposals have been introduced, eliciting a range of reactions and highlighting the current concerns of both parties. In this article, we will delve into these proposals, the reactions they have sparked, and the potential implications for the future of the housing market in Switzerland.
Switzerland, known for its picturesque landscapes and reputation for neutrality, is also the stage for an intense debate on rental law. The relationships between landlords and tenants are governed by a set of laws that have evolved over time to reflect the socio-economic realities of the country. Recently, two proposals aimed at amending this law have been presented, underscoring the growing concerns of both landlords and tenants.
I. The Current Context of Rental Law in Switzerland
Rental law in Switzerland is a set of laws that govern the relationships between landlords and tenants. These laws aim to balance the rights and obligations of both parties, while taking into account the socio-economic realities of the country. Recently, two proposals have been put forward to amend this law, reflecting the current concerns of both landlords and tenants.
II. The Proposed Changes
The first proposal aims to address abusive subletting. It allows landlords to refuse a sublet that lasts more than two years or that could cause them significant inconvenience. Moreover, it requires tenants to inform landlords in writing about any sublet, specifying its purpose and price, and obtaining their written consent.
The second proposal, on the other hand, aims to simplify lease terminations when the landlord needs the property for their own use. Currently, a landlord must prove an "urgent need" to reclaim their property. The new proposal eases this requirement, allowing the landlord to reclaim their property based on a "significant and current need."
III. Reactions to These Changes
These proposals have not been received uniformly by all. Carlo Sommaruga, president of the Swiss Tenants' Association (ASLOCA), expressed his concerns, believing that these changes could tilt rental law against the tenants. He also highlighted potential complications for sub-tenants.
On the other hand, voices like that of Philippe Bauer (PLR/NE) have defended these changes, arguing that landlords are often unable to fully enjoy their properties due to current restrictions.
IV. Future Implications
Lisa Mazzone (Greens/GE) highlighted a major concern: the possibility that landlords use the "urgent need" as a pretext to terminate contracts and raise rents. This concern is especially relevant given that Switzerland has a high proportion of tenants.
In response to these changes, ASLOCA announced its intention to launch a referendum against these two revisions. Carlo Sommaruga emphasized the potential societal impact of these changes, particularly on low-income tenants and the middle class.
The issue of rental law in Switzerland is complex and multifaceted. While some see these changes as necessary to protect the rights of landlords, others view them as a threat to the rights of tenants. This debate reflects the underlying tensions between the various stakeholders in the Swiss housing market. It is crucial to find a balance that protects both landlords and tenants while ensuring a stable and affordable housing market for all.
Keywords: Rental law, Switzerland, abusive subletting, lease terminations, personal need, ASLOCA, landlords, tenants, referendum, housing market.