Information and legislation

Do you need further information? Pierre Étoile provides advice on recent legislation and helps with the legalities of purchasing your property

The LAT: “Loi sur l’aménagement du territoire”

The revision of this planning law was accepted in March 2013. Its aim is to concentrate development in urban areas and limit sprawl.

The revised law limits the number of sites eligible for development over the next 15 years, and requires developers to complete construction within agreed time limits.

The two objectives of the revised law are to increase the density of residence in town centres, near to public transport, and to limit urban sprawl in other locations. Communes and cantons that have permitted excessive development outside town centres are required to take steps to put a stop to these construction projects and compensate developers for their financial losses.

The new law entered into force in early 2014, with communes having five years to implement it. The law has less impact in city centres, where there is already a shortage of building sites, but will have a significant impact on peripheral areas previously zoned for what is now seen as over-development.

In French-speaking Switzerland, the cantons of Vaud, Fribourg and Valais are particularly affected by the law, with a large number of sites already in the hands of developers. The law requires developers to complete construction on these sites within fixed timescales, and forces the communes involved to take appropriate action to ensure that this happens.

More details on the law (in French)

Lex Weber

Adopted in March 2013, the initiative Franz Weber, named after its principal proponent, prohibits the construction of new second homes in communes where 20% of residences are already second homes. The impact of the law will be felt most strongly in Alpine regions.

The law applies to all building permits granted since 11 March 2012, on the following conditions:

  • Building permits granted in principle between 11 March 2012 and
    1 January 2013 may be withdrawn, if opposition to the developments was lodged during this period. Confirmed building permits are not affected.
  • Building permits granted since 1 January 2013 by communes already over the 20% quota are no longer valid.
  • Construction authorised before 11 March 2012 may proceed on the basis of permission already granted.

The Lex Weber is due to be ratified by the Swiss parliament shortly.

More detail on the law (in French)