Ticino Rules On Short-Term Holiday Rentals Attract Federal Ire


(MENAFN- Swissinfo) In the southern canton of Ticino, owners of traditional converted barns can rent them to tourists for up to 90 days without applying for planning permission – even when they are in protected areas. Officials in Bern are unenthusiastic about the local rules.

This content was published on June 21, 2024 - 11:00 3 minutes Karoline Thürkauf, Marcel Niedermann, SRF
  • Deutsch de Wegen Rustici: Bern und Bellinzona auf Konfrontationskurs Original Read more: Wegen Rustici: Bern und Bellinzona auf Konfrontationskur
  • Français fr Le ((rustico)), ce mayen tessinois à usage touristique qui agace l'Etat fédéral Read more: Le ((rustico)), ce mayen tessinois à usage touristique qui agace l'Etat fédéra
  • Italiano it Affitto dei rustici, Berna e Bellinzona in rotta di collisione Read more: Affitto dei rustici, Berna e Bellinzona in rotta di collision

According to federal conservation laws, such dwellings situated outside development zones need planning permission to be rented out. This is because the influx of tourists means a situation of so-called intensified usage – for example, more traffic.

Thomas Kappeler from the Federal Office for Spatial Development thus considers the fact that Ticino authorities allow the renting of“rustico” dwellings – converted farm stables – for up to 90 days year without such a permit to be questionable.

“We think this approach is risky,” Kappeler says.“Renting via the usual platforms leads to an intensification of use. And this intensification harbours the potential for conflict.”

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For example, neighbours might decide to file a complaint if there's suddenly regular noise coming from the nearby meadow. Or if local water supplies dwindle due to the sudden influx of visitors.“Such complaints stand a good chance in court,” Kappeler says. As such, he adds, cottage-owners in Ticino should be aware of the consequences.

It's unclear what prompted Ticino to decide on such an exception. Authorities in the region pass the“patata bollente”, or“hot potato”, between themselves. A short written statement from the canton plays the issue down:“the short-term use of a rustico by a tourist is comparable to its use by its owner”, it says.

Successful lobby

The owners of these traditional homes are naturally happy about Ticino's interpretation of federal law. Oliver Keller from the Ticino Holiday organisation says that the canton has provided“clarity and security, which is from out point of view a success”.

In Ticino, the advantage of being able to promote these converted homes is greater than the fears of possible legal complaints. The rustico lobby has successfully managed to impose its view in cantonal capital Bellinzona – to the detriment of federal law.

This article was first published by German-language Swiss public broadcaster SRFExternal link , before being adapted by swissinfo in the framework of the“Dialogue” project.

“Dialogue” is a Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) platform which aims to offer debates and content for users across all Swiss language regions, as well as for Swiss living abroad.

Adapted from German by Domhnall O'Sullivan

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