STA, 14 October 2019 - The Environment and Spatial Planning Ministry presented a new housing bill proposal on Monday. The document aims to make housing more accessible to those in precarious jobs, young families and the poor, as well secure more effective management of apartment blocks. It also makes it harder for owners to rent out their apartment through Airbnb.
The bill abolishes non-profit rent and replaces it with what it calls a cost rent, which would amount to up to 5.2% of the cost price of a new apartment.
Depending on location, the cost rent would stand between EUR 5 and EUR 7.30 per square metre, Environment and Spatial Planning Minister Simon Zajc and state secretary at the ministry Aleš Prijon told the press.
Under the new system, those renting out apartments are to make more in rent, however nothing is to change for those renting the apartments, as the difference in rent will be covered by a housing allowance.
This will bring in more money to the national Housing Fund and municipal housing funds, which is to be used for maintenance and construction of new apartments.
Eligibility of renters is to be checked annually, which has not been the case in the past. If the renter will exceed the income limit, they would be able to remain in the apartment but would have to pay a higher rent, up to 1.5 times as high as the cost rent.
Last year, municipalities spent EUR 12.4 million for housing subsidies, while the state contributed EUR 3.8 million.
Under the new system, municipalities will contribute EUR 12.3 million for the housing allowance, while the state is to provide EUR 28.5 million.
Moreover, the national Housing Fund is to establish a rent-out service, a kind of national real estate agency that would facilitate the renting out of empty apartments.
The public service will pay rent, find a renter and make sure that the apartment is returned to the owner in the state it was in before it was rented out, said Prijon.
The ministry expects that this would put between 20,000 and 30,000 apartments on the market, out of 170,000 apartments that are officially empty.
The bill also introduces state guarantees for the young and young families, who are unable to acquire a housing loan with banks.
In case that the loan-taker would no longer be able to pay off the loan, the Housing Fund would become the owner of the apartment, however, the loan-taker would still be able to live in the apartment and pay cost rent.
Moreover, the bill will increase the municipal funds' borrowing limit from 10% of its capital to 50%.
It also changes multi-dwelling management rules, for instance making it easier for residents to change the apartment block management firm.
New restrictions on Airbnb
Also, those who will want to let out their apartments through platforms such as Airbnb, thus changing the intended function of their flat from private to commercial, will have to get the approval of all apartment owners in their building, said Prijon.
The bill also lays out the conditions for housing cooperatives. The Housing Fund would likely contribute plots, while members of the cooperatives would each contribute a part of the cost of construction.
The rest of the funds needed would come from loans taken out with a guarantee from the Housing Fund. Members, who would want to withdraw from the cooperative, would get their contributions returned.