Czechia: flats approved for housing cannot be used for short-term recreation

by   CIJ News iDesk III
2024-04-02   11:17
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Apartments approved for permanent housing cannot be used for short-term accommodation services, according to the Ombudsman Stanislav Křeček. He considers this to be a circumvention of the Building Act. The owners of such flats should have them re-licensed. The Ombudsman informed about it on the web today. He was dealing with a complaint from a resident of a building who was bothered by the fact that neighbouring flats intended for permanent housing were being used by holidaymakers for short-term stays.

According to the ombudsman, the building can only be used for its permitted purpose. "It is in the public interest that the building be used for its permitted purpose. Offering short-term rentals in buildings intended for permanent housing is contrary to the approval and I consider it to be an evasion of the Building Act. Owners should have such flats re-approved," Křeček said.

The building authority can assess whether flats approved for housing are actually used as such or whether they are used for short-term accommodation. In cooperation with the Trade Licensing Office, it can check the purpose of the services provided and make unannounced inspections. In this case, the building authority did carry out several unannounced inspections, but during its normal working hours. The inspections were thus unsuccessful. Typical tenants are tourists who often do not return to the flat until late in the evening.

"I am aware that finding the boundary between when an apartment is used for living purposes and when it is not requires very precise and therefore time-consuming proof. Nevertheless, from my position, I cannot condone the actions of apartment owners whose actions violate one of the basic obligations of public building law, which is the obligation to use a building only for its permitted purpose," the ombudsman said.

According to him, this is not just a matter of insisting on compliance with the law. Renting a flat or house for permanent housing has a completely different purpose and different effects on the surrounding area than temporary accommodation of a recreational and touristic nature. "One cannot arbitrarily confuse the basic need for housing and short-term, usually repeated, accommodation. A permanent tenant is satisfying his basic housing needs, while a short-term lodger is satisfying, for example, his social needs," Křeček explained.

The ombudsman advised the building authority to obtain the necessary evidence not only from inspections but also from the testimonies of the residents of the house. He also reminded that the building authority can request the assistance of the police if it suspects that an offence of unauthorised use of a building has been committed. The latter may check the documents of persons moving in the house or the registration plates of cars in front of the house.

The building authority also used these procedures and subsequently issued a decision prohibiting the use of the two flats in question for short-term use. It initiated offence proceedings with the owners of the flats. "For future cases, I expect the regional authority to provide methodological assistance or consultation to the building authority," the ombudsman concluded.

Source: CTK

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