Higher rents and more returns – What do you say to the allegation of the FDP felt, Mr. Feller? – News

How much can landlords earn from their apartments? The Council of States is discussing this. The reason for this is a decision by the Federal Supreme Court. It has increased the permissible rate of return and argued with a proposal by FDP National Councilor Olivier Feller – although Parliament had not yet accepted it. A case of “FDP felt”, as the “Sonntagszeitung” recently headlined? Feller, who also chairs the French-speaking Swiss real estate chamber, defends the higher yields in an interview.

Oliver Feller

National Council FDP

Open the person box
Close the person box

The 48-year-old Olivier Feller has been a member of the National Council for the FDP since 2011. He is a lawyer and presides over the Real Estate Chamber of Western Switzerland.

SRF News: Do you live in a rented apartment?

Olivier Feller: Yes, I live in a rented apartment.

Although you represent property owners, you belong to the 60 percent of Swiss people who live in rented apartments. And who are struggling with a housing shortage and rising rents. Is Parliament failing these people?

Housing shortages are a real problem, but it’s not just affecting rents: it’s affecting homeowners too. Homeowners also have to reckon with higher costs and the problem is that there are not enough offers in Switzerland. Our population is growing and there is not enough construction to meet demand.

And you want to solve that now by simply wanting to guarantee landlords higher returns in the future?

Tenants may contest the initial rent. If they sign a new contract and move into the apartment, they can say within 30 days: “No, the rent is too high, it’s abusive. I deny this.” I think our case law and our laws are very well designed, including when it comes to the interests of tenants.

Two years ago, the federal court ruled that you can earn a higher return on rental apartments. The purely bourgeois panel of judges argued with your initiative, although Parliament had not yet decided on it. What do you say to the allegation of the FDP felt?

We are in an election year, and of course left circles have to attack middle-class circles. That’s polemical and doesn’t do much. This decision is about a 4.5 room apartment with 100 m² in Gland in the Lake Geneva region. There, the Federal Supreme Court said, with the new regulation: 1400 francs, no more. This is non-profit.

This is a specific case, but the judgment is generally applicable. Landlords are now allowed to make a 2 percent return instead of just 0.5 percent. As a new tenant, this can mean that I pay hundreds of francs more than the previous tenant.

If you think your new rent is too high, you can keep it.

This is simply said in a situation where it is difficult to find an apartment at all. Since the rent is hardly contested.

I think the vast majority of tenants are sensible and smart people. They sense whether a rent is abusive or not.

Parliament is currently in favor of the owners. Aren’t you afraid that at some point this will backfire and that the population will, for example, accept an initiative from the tenants’ association?

In January or February 2020, the population rejected an initiative by the tenants’ association. I don’t think you need to be afraid when you’re politicizing. But it’s true: At the moment there is a lot of polemics between tenants and landlords at the political level. I regret this.

Is that a concession that you also want to do more for the tenants?

Yes, from time to time we should find a middle way. I think we should be partners rather than adversaries.

The conversation was led by Larissa Rhyn.

source site-72