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In Switzerland, a second home is a house or apartment that is neither used by a person who is resident in the commune concerned nor used for work or education purposes. Second homes are often used either as holiday homes or are rented to private tenants.
A second home is not the same as a second place of residence. A second place of residence is where a person lives when studying or training, or when working and is not regarded in legal terms as a permanent place of residence. People who have a second place of residence are often called "weekly residents".
On 1 January 2013 the Second Homes Ordinance came into force (following the adoption of the popular initiative "Stop the endless construction of second homes" brought by the environmentalist Franz Weber, after a vote on 11.3.2012).
It applies to the construction of second homes in communes where second homes represent 20% or more of the housing stock. These communes can only approve the construction of second homes under certain conditions.
For further information on the limits placed on second homes including the communes concerned, consult the website for the Federal Office for Spatial Development.
Second homes are taxed in a similar way to permanent homes. You can find further information on the hausinfo.ch website.
Foreign nationals who want to buy a holiday home or a second home require permission. You can find further information about this on the relevant page of the ch.ch website.