Engel & Völkers Licence Partner Basel > Blog > What are my obligations after buying a property?

What are my obligations after buying a property?

Those who go from renting to owning are usually full of excitement at the prospect of having their own home. But in addition to the rights you benefit from when you purchase property in Switzerland, you also have new obligations that you need to be aware of.

Planning on knocking down walls, replanting trees or adding a conservatory? As long as your local planning authority allows it, you as the owner have almost unlimited freedom to do whatever you want with your property. But with rights also come obligations, and those who are making the switch from renting to owning for the first time are often unaware of these requirements.

The duties homeowners are required to carry out are also known as maintenance obligations; these are in place to ensure that no one else is affected by someone’s property. But what are these obligations in concrete terms, and what do I have to keep in mind as a homeowner?

1. Maintaining your property and retaining its value

Work such as pruning shrubs, cleaning the pavement, waste disposal and annual servicing of the decalcification system are duties that are transferred to the new owner when a property is purchased. In addition, depending on how old the property is, there may be some expensive maintenance work required in order to preserve the value of the building. In most cases, major renovation work, such as replacing the roof or bathroom fittings and fixtures, is required after 20 to 30 years. As the owner, you have a duty to ensure that your property retains its value. This includes, for example, maintaining the exterior façade, which is due after a lifespan of about 40 years. It’s usually easy to figure out what work needs to be carried out when based on the lifespan of the individual building components. And if you spread the work out over different years, you can also save a lot of tax.

2. Responsibility for safety

As a homeowner, you must not only ensure your own safety on your property, but also the safety of others. Annual checks of the decalcification and ventilation systems are just as much a part of this as frequent inspections of the electrical installations, and the oil and gas heating systems.

In addition, you also have what’s known as duty of care. This means that you are responsible for your home and land, and must ensure that no one can get hurt there. Let’s say your driveway is iced over in winter, and someone slips on it and breaks their leg – in such a case, you as the owner will be held liable. Or if someone were to injure themselves on your property due to a lack of lighting, you would also be held liable for this.

3. Protection against excessive disturbance

Even though you have a lot of freedom, you must ensure that you and your property do not excessively disturb your neighbours. What constitutes excessive disturbance are things such as heavy smoke from barbecues, or loud noise until late at night. Even things that spoil the aesthetics of the neighbourhood are considered such a disturbance, like a neglected garden or a compost heap on the property boundary. Although many things can be ironed out and resolved with a friendly conversation, if this is not the case and your neighbourhood dispute is dragging out, a court can also be called in to mediate.

If you have questions about the obligations you have after purchasing property, or if you would like to know how you can maintain the value of your property and what its current market value is, the property experts at Engel & Völkers are your best port of call. Get in touch with us online, by phone or drop into an Engel & Völkers shop – we’d be happy to help.

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