Talks and Poster Presentations (without Proceedings-Entry):

V. Bodevin, A. Schindelegger:
"The exception to the rule - Unintended effects of restrictive second home regulations in Austria and Switzerland";
Talk: 14th Conference of PLPR, Usti Nad Labem; 02-18-2020 - 02-21-2020.

English abstract:
The Alps are a major winter and summer tourism destination and attract both tourists and capital. In Switzerland, especially the second home construction industry thrived over decades in most touristic and alpine municipalities. Additionally, local tourism financing models used the selling of second homes in order to cross-finance commercial accommodations. In the western states of Austria, the restrictive policy towards second homes started in the early 1990s while Switzerland held a national referendum demanding a change in policy to prevent rural sprawl. In both countries a restrictive legal framework now applies to alpine areas.
The paper explores the meaning of exemption clauses in second home regulations and what they mean for the future spatial development. This, using law interpretation as well as case examples with expert interviews analyzing the benefit as well as potential spatially undesirable developments.
The Swiss constitutional provision determines 20% as the maximum percentage of second homes per municipality. Although its wording seems imperative, the ban on second home construction only applies to new building permits. The use of the existing building stock can be easily changed. This is not case in the western Austrian states at all. Second homes need either an explicit permit or a specific second home zoning. Exceptions exist as well for inherited dwellings. The Swiss legislation additionally introduced the possibility to allow new second homes in buildings that should be preserved even though the municipal share already exceeds 20 per cent. The most dynamic development can be observed in multi-owned-tourism-accommodation (MOTA) models. Since new second homes are forbidden, apartments are often sold leased back and rented out. Regulations in Switzerland and Austria widely allow this model with vague effects that this paper shall explore.

second homes, planning law, Alps

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