On 18 September 2023, the Council of States, Switzerland’s upper house, followed parliament in passing changes to Swiss tenancy laws that make life easier for landlords, reported parlament.ch. Two changes reduce tenants ability to sublet and make it easier for landlords to end rental contracts.
Supported by 25 versus 11, the upper house passed a new rule that prevents tenants from subletting a property for longer than 2 years. The new rule, which aims to prevent subletting abuses, requires tenants to get the landlord’s approval in writing before subletting and allows landlords to reject their approval if the subletting period is greater than 2 years or the sublet causes significant inconvenience.
In addition, 29 versus 11 members of the upper house were in favour of a rule change making it easier for landlords to remove a tenant when they plan to move into the property themselves. Currently, a landlord may have to wait 3-4 years to remove a tenant.
The two changes sailed through parliament and the Council States despite opposition from the Federal Council and politicians on the left.
Those opposed to the changes describe them as a strategy of death by a thousand cuts. They argue that there is no need for these changes that weaken the position of renters, who make up the majority in Switzerland. Carlo Sommaruga, president of Asloca, a tenant advocacy group, said referenda will be launched against both of these changes.