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City of Zurich to enforce new restrictions on Airbnb

City of Zurich to enforce new restrictions on Airbnb

Following an administrative court ruling, authorities in Zurich will place new, heavy restrictions on Airbnb in the city. The latest move is part of a wider backlash against serviced and short-stay apartments in Switzerland, which are seen as exacerbating the ongoing housing crisis.

Housing in Zurich can no longer solely be used for short-term lets

On Wednesday, the administrative court of Zurich rejected a complaint brought by four short-term let providers regarding new restrictions targeting holiday, furnished and short-stay homes. The proposal, originally submitted in December 2020, prohibits landlords from using housing blocs exclusively for short-term and holiday accommodation.

Under the new rules, holiday lets would no longer count towards minimum residential requirements. In practice, according to City Building Department spokesperson Urs Spinner, "In a residential zone with a minimum residential share of 90 percent, an operator of business apartments may only rent out 10 percent of the apartments as furnished apartments, 90 percent of the homes must be rented out as 'normal' apartments."

Holiday apartments blamed for exacerbating Zurich housing crisis

The measures are designed to curb the emergence of short-term lets in Zurich, which have boomed in recent years. According to official city statistics, around 1,9 percent of total housing stock in the city (4.170 apartments) is now being used as short-term or holiday lets. Supporters of the change have complained that these dwellings are often far more profitable than standard apartments - some are advertised for 14.532 francs a month - and further fuel the housing crisis by taking homes off the market.

With the appeal rejected, Spinner confirmed that "the ruling will be final in 30 days, and from then on operators will have to register their apartments with the city." For his part, he argued that too many holiday homes change the character of Zurich districts, while forcing permanent residents out of the city.

Zurich lawmakers want to go further to restrict Airbnb

In response to the ruling, the Social Democratic Party told 20 Minuten that while it approved the new law, it wanted to go further to restrict Airbnb in the city. Specifically, they confirmed that a proposal mimicking the law that was passed in Lucerne in March 2023 - which mandated that apartments could only be rented out as holiday homes for 90 days a year - would soon be submitted to the local council.

While they are yet to respond to the recent ruling, Airbnb wrote in a statement in 2023 - when the Lucerne proposal was being debated - that it was in favour of "fair, proportionate and contemporary rules for home sharing." "Many people are away from home for more than 90 days in total for professional or private reasons and should have the opportunity to rent out their homes during this time and earn some extra money," they argued.

Jan de Boer

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Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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