Second homes act

The Second Homes Act, which came into force in 2016, introduced a regulation according to which no second homes can be authorised in municipalities in which the proportion of second homes exceeds 20% of the housing stock. With a few exceptions, it is no longer possible to build a holiday home or holiday apartments in these municipalities.

The restrictions of the Second Homes Act affect Swiss and foreigners equally.

Exceptions to the limitations on second homes include for example:

  • Properties associated to organized accommodation establishments
  • Second homes located within protected buildings
  • Second homes that existed before March 2012 (or for which a construction permit already existed); these can also be renovated, converted or rebuilt (restriction on the increase in the main usable area up to a maximum of 30%)

The process for obtaining a license to purchase a holiday home or second home is overseen by the relevant authority in the respective municipality.

In Andermatt, some properties are not affected by the Second Homes Act: for example, there are no restrictions on the purchase and resale of a residence in the 5-star deluxe hotel The Chedi Andermatt.

Touristically Managed Apartments:

An apartment is considered to be touristically managed, for example, if it is consistently offered for exclusive short-term use by guests under market and local conditions, and…

  • is located in the same property as the owner’s main residence ( “granny flat”);
  • is not tailored to the personal needs of the owner and is managed as part of a structured accommodation business; or
  • is not tailored to the personal needs of the owner, is certified for its quality level, is mostly available in the high season, is offered on a commercially managed rental platform.

Foreign buyers can, depending on the further cantonal laws and the setup of the accommodation business, sometimes acquire touristically managed apartments without the need for approval.