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Property law reform Foreigners could suffer under new building restrictions

Swiss politicians and investors are at loggerheads over government plans to tighten the laws on non-EU citizens buying property. (SRF/swissinfo.chexternal link

Under the proposed reform of the ‘Lex Koller’ law, people living outside the European Union or the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) may have to get a permit before they can buy property in Switzerland. Some restrictions already exist, but the reform would further tighten the terms under which property may be acquired by foreigners.

The justice ministry says the changes would close loopholes in the current legislation external linkand reduce the administrative burden for the local authorities. 

People from countries not in the EU or EFTA may have to sell their apartments or houses if they leave Switzerland. 

Both right and leftwing politicians support the changes, but property investors and the homeowners’ association have rejected the proposal, saying it is xenophobic.