Are you the lucky owner of an apartment that you are letting out and want to sell? Watch out, this will not be as simple as selling an owner-occupied property. Selling this type of housing involves a special administrative process, and care must be taken to ensure that the sale is not invalidated for failing to follow the correct procedure.
Rented apartments come under a cantonal law in Vaud, the Preservation and Promotion of Rented Housing Act. Passed in early 2018, it repeats and amalgamates two previous legal texts: the Demolitions, Transformations and Renovations Act on the one hand, and the Alienation of Rented Apartments Act (LAAL) on the other. It states that administrative permits must be obtained before any transaction can take place. These permits are issued by the municipality where the apartment is located, as well as by the canton, which delegates this task to its housing department.
A law that lets tenants make an offer
The application for permission to sell must be submitted to the municipal housing office or the local council of the municipality where the building is located. The application is made by completing a specific form in two copies and submitting it along with the required appendices. The procedure takes between seven and thirty days before a decision is made and the owner and tenant are notified by the Cantonal Housing Department. The parties may appeal to the Cantonal Court, but this runs the risk of extending the procedure by six months to a year.
What is the reason for this administrative complication and additional delay? The LAAL law was introduced in response to an increase in the number of notices to quit for sale in the 1970s and early 1980s. Inspired by the Geneva model, it aims to give tenants of an apartment for sale a small advantage so they can make an offer on the property themselves.
Villas are exempt
This law nevertheless has its limits. It only applies to apartments. Private houses are exempt, so if you are the lucky owner of a villa that you are letting out and want to sell, there is no need to apply to the cantonal or municipal administrations.
The practical consequence is that the law applies mainly to small and medium-sized dwellings, usually older, built before the Swiss condominium system known as PPE (propriété par étages) became widespread in the 1980s and 1990s. This permit must also be obtained for recently built apartments, which have always come under propriété par étages. Although it is only an administrative formality in this case, the owner still has to complete the official administrative procedure.
Would you like more information on the subject? Do you have any other real estate questions? If so, our expert brokers will be more than happy to answer all your questions and offer some advice!