Changes to Swiss law on renting recently passed by parliament have met with public resistance. This week, enough signatures were collected to trigger a vote aimed at overturning the work of parliament on rental law reform, according to RTS.
The two changes, which would make it easier for landlords to move into their own properties and require written approval to sublet, are viewed by some as a cynical move to weaken the hand of tenants. A representative of the group organising the referendum described the changes as a frontal attack by the real estate lobby on tenancy law.
Last year, Parliament decided tenants must have written approval to sublet. The principle reason for this change is the increasing number of sublets via platforms such as Airbnb. In addition, it decided landlords should be given an extraordinary right of termination if tenants do not comply with these subletting rules.
The second change concerns personal use of a property. Currently, owners can move into their own properties only if they have an urgent personal need. The new rule allows lease termination if the owner can prove a significant and current personal need, a softer test. The argument in favour of this change is that it will lead to faster resolution when there are disputes.
Referenda called to oppose federal legislation require 50,000 signatures to go ahead. 76,000 signatures were collected for votes opposing both of these recent legislative changes.
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