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Legal basis

  • Land register ordinance on federal level
  • Swiss Civil Code
  • Cantonal Land Register regulation


The organisation of the land register, the districts and administrative supervision is regulated by the cantons.  The confederation exercises high surveillance. Some cantons have a register per district. In the canton of Geneva, there is only one land register.

In general

Art. 942 Swiss Civil Code

1. The land register is kept as a record of property rights.
2. It consists of the main register, the plans, property directories, supporting documents and property descriptions appended to the main register, and the journal.


Art. 945, paragrahp 1, Swiss Civil Code

Each item of immovable property has its own folio and number in the main register.

Folio content

it contains the ownership, the easements and real burdens, the liens with which it is encumbered, priority notices, notings.

Registration requests are first recorded in the journal, then verified by the registrar of the land register.

Art. 967, paragraph 1, Swiss Civil Code

"The entries in the main register are made in the order in which applications are received or in which certifications and declarations are signed by the land registrar."

Rights in rem are established and assigned their rank and date by virtue of being entered in the main register. The entry has retroactive effect as of its recording in the journal.

Priority notices

Personal rights may be entered under priority notice, for example right of pre-emption, right of repurchase, right of purchase.


It could be noted, for example the the statutory representative, the representative of the heirs, the administrator of a condominium association.

Other registers in the land register

  • Owner register
  • Creditor's register
  • Additional register (street register, building register)


Art. 965 Code Civil

A disposition in the land register, such as an entry, amendment or deletion, may be made only on the basis of documents establishing the right to make such disposition and its legal basis.

Public nature of land register

Art. 970 Code Civil

Any person showing a legitimate interest is entitled to consult the land register or to be provided with an extract.

A person is entitled to obtain the following information from the main register without showing a legitimate interest:

1.the name and description of the immovable property
2.the name and identity of the owner
3.the form of ownership and the date of acquisition.

The Federal Council shall specify other particulars of easements, real burdens and notices in the register which may be made public without the need to show a legitimate interest. It shall pay due regard to the protection of personal privacy.

An objection based on ignorance of a land register entry is inadmissible.


© Written and translated by Esther Lauber, Real Estate Trustee with Advanced Federal Diploma of Professional Education and Training, real estate broker
Articles in official English version from the portal of the Swiss goverment