Buy an apartment while residence permit being renewed

Hello,

I have searched the forum for some time but couldn't find a similar case as mine. So me and wife are both non-EU nationals, working in Switzerland on B permits. Two years ago, we signed a "promesse de vente" (sale agreement) with a real estate developer to buy an off-plan apartment. This month, the construction is finally completed and the apartment is supposed to be delivered to us soon. Now we need to sign the formal contract to conclude the deal.

In the meantime, we have applied for C permits and we have yet to receive an answer from the immigration office. Now our B permits have expired, but the notary told us that we have to have a valid residence permit in order to sign the contract. It sounds like if we don't hold a residence permit, we don't have the right to buy a property. But we are just waiting to receive the permit. Even if our application for C permits is rejected, we should still get our B permits anyway. Does anyone know what to do in this case? Did any of you have a similar experience?

Many thanks in advance.

You should have a piece of paper given to you at the time of renewal verifying its completion and that all you are waiting on is the card. Bring a copy of this to the notary ASAP and explain that you are valid permit-holders, but you are still awaiting the new plastic card in the mail. Being a notary, they should be able to understand that you have proof of residency in the form of that paperwork.

The bank, on the other hand, might require the final C-permit if that is a specific condition of the mortgage terms that you were offered.

Thanks a lot, Tox_Rat. The thing is that I'm converting my permit B to C and for now I haven't heard anything from the immigration office regarding the status of my application. So I don't have a paper verifying the completion of my renewal as such. But I suppose I'm entitled to a B permit even if my application for C is rejected. I don't know how to convince the notary that I can buy the apartment without having the physical card (be it a B or C), simply because I have a decent job and I'm entitled to the same rights as the other permit-holders....or I'm really not allowed to buy it, according to the law?

Thanks a lot, Tox_Rat. The thing is that I'm converting my permit B to C and for now I haven't heard anything from the immigration office regarding the status of my application. So I don't have a paper verifying the completion of my renewal as such. But I suppose I'm entitled to a B permit even if my application for C is rejected. I don't know how to convince the notary that I can buy the apartment without having the physical card (be it a B or C), simply because I have a decent job and I'm entitled to the same rights as the other permit-holders....or I'm really not allowed to buy it, according to the law?

You won't hear anything about the status of your application. You are almost assuredly going to get the C permit if you have met all the criteria for one. You'll know for sure when it arrives by registered mail.

Outside of that, I think you are worried and over-thinking it. You have a permit, or you would not be allowed to reside or work in Switzerland. Yes, you don't have the most obvious proof of that at the moment, because your magic plastic card is in production somewhere. But you do have proof (in the form of the piece of paper) that you own a valid permit, but don't know the number just yet. Instead of spinning the 'problem' around and around in your own head, just discuss the documentation that you have with the notary as soon as possible. Then they won't be surprised at the time of handover, and can get ahead of any 'issues' that may arise. Or they may not see this as a problem at all. Just stop talking about it as 'we aren't sure if we have permits' because A) that's not accurate (based on what you've said) and B) that can only make the situation worse for you, when you want to encourage the Notary to be helpful.

The notaries know the laws, so you should approach to find out what applies for your situation. If they refuse your documents (generally) it is not because they are not knowledgeable of the procedures, it is because they cannot be accepted based on the laws and guidelines they have.

Your problem is this: in most cases, one uses a permit to prove residence in Switzerland (eg for a bank, rent a house etc...)

Here, you need to prove your permit status and what permit type you hold . The law for buying makes a difference between those who hold B, C, other permit, and there are different conditions that apply after a sale.

So it is not a question "I am legally here" they need to know your exact permit type.

At a minimum, the notary need to know what to put in the acte de vente. He risks penalties if he hasn't checked correctly. What if in the end you receive an L permit?

So really the issue is as you say that you will get " maybe B, maybe C" , but the notary needs to know...

He is correct to require further proof. The renewal paper from the commune means almost nothing (anyone can apply, does not mean they will get it),

and moreover makes no mention what permit will be issued. An attestation from the commune proves that you are resident there (this is usually required on top of the permit) but also says nothing about the future permit type.

Your best bet (aside from talking to the notary) will be a visit with the cantonal center where they make the permits directly (not via the commune).

After explaining the situation, they can issue a proper Cantonal letter mentioning the permit type (if they know it) which will be accepted.

(I don't know what the law about purchases says about this, but this paper is known to be accepted in places where neither the renewal nor attestation are.)

Moreover, often this contact may trigger the renewal to mysteriously be fast-forwarded and just by chance a few days later a permit will be ready (if your application was straightforward). They try to be helpful.