What is the LDTR ?
October 21, 2019
The LDTR is a law on Demolitions, Transformations and Renovations of Residential houses. This law, which is often controversial, is therefore applicable to demolitions, transformations and renovations of property, but also to changes of use as well as sales of PPE apartments which were already rented. For information, it was created in 1983 to prevent the depopulation of downtown Geneva. Since then, the Genevan have been asked several times to make it evolve. It only concerns residential flats on the Canton of Geneva.
For the demolition:
Concerning demolition, this law stipulates that "no one may, subject to the granting of a derogation within the meaning of Article 6, demolish all or part of a building, occupied or unoccupied". It is therefore forbidden to demolish a building in Geneva unless it is really in bad conditions and very dilapidated. To demolish, you must obtain a derogation beforehand. For some of the detractors of the law, this would prevent the renewal of the Geneva housing stock with the energy problems that includes.
If an owner wishes to renovate his apartment or house, it is very important that he enquires about the LDTR first. Indeed, if the works exceed the current maintenance, it is necessary that the owner asks for an authorization by stipulating the list and the nature of the work. By transformation, we mean all works whose object is "to change the architecture, the volume, the location, the destination, the internal distribution of all or part of a house". This extends even to the attic and all the work of rehabilitation (partial or total) of the heating system, the elevator, the bathroom, the kitchen ... Moreover, it is the administration who will fix the rent of the apartment for a period of three years. The reason is to avoid abuse. This is a great thing for tenants who benefit from a rent capped with a new housing but on the other hand it can restrict the owners to refresh their property.
For the change of use:
Changes of use are those intended to replace residential accommodations with commercial, administrative or industrial premises. According to the law, it is imperative to ask permission to do so because it is prohibited by principle. The reason for this ban is to avoid some drifts by making sure to keep a sufficient number of dwellings dedicated to renting, especially in downtown Geneva.
For PPE apartments already rented:
Finally, the LDTR also submits to authorization the sale of PPE apartments if they have already been rented at least once since the current owner acquired them. However, since 2017, any apartment having obtained a LTDR authorization in force in the past doesn’t have to re-apply for a change of ownership (for instance : succession, sale ...). In addition, if an owner owns several apartments in the same building, he will have to ask for this authorization in the majority of cases. Again, the purpose of the law is to maintain a sufficiently large number of rental housing. On the other hand, it restricts the access to the property of the tenants who would like to buy an apartment to live in it.
Here is the link to the law.