by Malcolm Curtis|The Local, Switzerland|August 23, 2012
The federal government has decided to delay by four months the implementation of a law to limit the construction of holiday homes in Switzerland.
The legislation, which aims to ban new secondary residences in Swiss municipalities where the level is already above 20 percent, is now set to take effect on January 1st 2013.
Voters on March 11th approved the law, an initiative spearheaded by environmentalist Franz Weber.
In delaying the legislation, the government issued a statement on Wednesday noting that it requires diverse changes to Swiss property regulations.
Weber pushed for the restrictions to end the “invasion” of secondary homes in some communities, particularly in tourist resorts, where chalets remain vacant for much of the year.
Supporters of the initiative were also concerned about real estate developments threatening natural areas.
The so-called “Lex Weber” applies to the authorization of new holiday homes in municipalities where the quota of 20 percent is exceeded.
However, an exception applies in cases when builders can guarantee that they will not have “empty beds” for most of the year and that they are to be used exclusively for tourists.
The federal government officially defines a secondary residence as one that is “not used year round by a person officially living in the municipality or for a business activity or training purposes”.
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