– May 22, 2024

Letting condominiums via Airbnb: legal aspects

Renting out condominiums via platforms such as Airbnb is an issue that raises relevant legal questions for both owners and the condominium owners’ association.

According to Article 712a para. 2 ZGB, the condominium owner is free to manage, use and structurally design his own rooms, but may not make it difficult for any other condominium owner to exercise the same right and may not damage the common components, facilities and equipment in any way or impair their function and external appearance.

However, regular rentals as vacation apartments can lead to problems if guests use communal facilities (e.g. pool area, roof terrace, car wash) and possibly do not observe the quiet hours.

The limits of free use are defined by law or in the regulations of the condominium owners’ association. It is important to note that the possibility of restricting the special right is not unlimited. Restrictions must be legally justified and must not violate the core of the special right.

A distinction must also be made between a pure change of use and a change of purpose of the property. A change of purpose requires the consent of all owners and affects the overall characteristics of the property, while the consent of the majority, which also represents the greater part of the property, is sufficient for a change of use.

In the ruling of the Federal Supreme Court 5A_436/2018 of April 4, 2019, a case was decided in which a high-standard condominium was rented out via Airbnb. The Airbnb guests used the communal sauna and pool, which led to legal disputes with the other owners. The court ruled that the use of the shared infrastructure by Airbnb guests impaired the rights of the other owners. In particular, the court pointed out that the house rules prohibited uses with high customer traffic, such as a doctor’s surgery, from the outset.

It is important to emphasize that this ruling is not transferable to all cases of condominium ownership. The permissibility of letting via Airbnb depends on the individual circumstances and the provisions of the regulations. Depending on the circumstances of the individual case, renting out a condominium apartment via Airbnb may result in a change of use or a change of purpose of the property as a whole – but it does not have to. The latter requires the consent of all condominium owners. Each case must therefore be assessed individually. Ultimately, it is advisable to seek legal advice if you have any questions about the legality of the letting.