Switzerland moves to make it easier for landlords to evict tenants
The National Council of Switzerland has approved a plan that will make it easier for landlords to evict their tenants if they need the house or apartment for personal use (Eigenbedarf). The law change for rental contracts was approved by 114 votes to 79 on March 7, but faces heavy opposition from the Federal Council and some parties in parliament.
Law change to relax criteria for personal use evictions
The aim of the initiative, according to 20 Minuten, is to relax the criteria authorities use to determine whether a landlord is allowed to terminate a rental contract in order to reclaim the property for "personal use". Current law requires that landlords must have an “urgent” need to use the property if they want to evict tenants quickly.
With this new change, instead of an urgent need, landlords can simply assert that they have "a significant and current personal need based on an objective assessment." 20 Minuten explained that this will streamline the termination process for landlords - as they will only need to prove that they have a personal need, not an urgent one - and make it harder for tenants to appeal.
Supporters hope it will speed up appeals process for Swiss landlords
Supporters also hope the change will dissuade tenants from taking their personal use eviction to court. Speaking to 20 Minuten, FDP. The Liberals National Councillor Christa Markwalder said that, for landlords, the plan “only requires that the argument of personal needs really applies," for an eviction to be successful.
In addition, the National Council also pushed forward with plans to change the rules around subletting property in Switzerland. Under the plans, a landlord must explicitly agree to sublet a property in writing and will be given an “extraordinary right of termination” if the tenant does not comply with the agreed subletting rules.
Any attack on Swiss tenancy law will face referendum, SP confirms
Opposing the two bills, Green Party National Councillor Florence Brenzikofer told 20 Minuten that the plans are “an attack by the landlord lobby on the balance between landlords and tenants." The Social Democratic Party (SP) added in a statement that they amount to a “frontal attack on the rights of tenants.”
The two plans will now be sent to the Council of States for approval. However, as was announced at the start of the spring parliamentary session, the SP and Swiss Tenants’ Association have promised that any approved legislation reducing the rights of tenants would be forced to a referendum - a plan that was confirmed by the SP after the vote.
For more information about the law change, please consult the official press release (in German).
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