MMR: 69% of municipalities have insufficient housing stock, three quarters want to build

by   CIJ News iDesk III
2023-12-05   08:21

Sixty-nine percent of Czech municipalities surveyed consider their housing stock to be insufficient. Almost three-quarters of them would like to expand or reconstruct it. Larger municipalities that already have some housing stock want to build, while smaller municipalities are less interested. This is according to a survey by the Ministry of Regional Development (MMR) in cooperation with the Union of Towns and Municipalities (SMOČR), which the ministry published on its website. 242 municipalities and municipal districts, which together own almost 150,000 flats, took part in the survey. In total, there are 6249 municipalities and towns in the Czech Republic.

"Local governments are interested in expanding or repairing their housing stock, but they lack the money and often the necessary know-how to do so. The Ministry of the Interior offers them both within the framework of the Housing for Life reform. It is precisely the long-term cooperation with municipalities that we are relying on to increase the availability of housing in the Czech Republic," said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Regional Development Ivan Bartoš (Piráti).

Some 72 % of the municipalities surveyed are interested in increasing the number of their flats by a total of 14 000. More than 60 percent of them plan to build for regular rent, 57 percent want to create social housing, 43 percent of municipalities want to build housing for the elderly and about a quarter want starter flats for the young. Most often municipalities choose a combination of two or more types.

However, despite the high interest in building flats, only 37 per cent of the municipalities surveyed had experience with it in the last eight years. Thus, there are currently 38 municipal housing construction projects in the Czech Republic with a valid zoning decision or building permit. These projects have a total of over 1,000 planned housing units with a total value of CZK 4 billion.

A form of housing counselling is provided to residents by 81 per cent of municipalities, but in the vast majority it is part of other social work. The draft law on housing support submitted to the Ministry of the Interior envisages the establishment of contact points that would provide both housing advice and support. They would be established in all municipalities with extended competence, with funding covered by the contribution to the exercise of state administration in delegated competence.

"Some large towns in the Czech Republic have already set up housing contact points themselves and they have proved successful. We are convinced that this support must be systemic and available throughout the country," Bartoš added. According to the survey, 55 percent of municipalities are interested in introducing contact points. Almost one-third of municipalities would consider using guarantees to private landlords, subject to financial support from the state.

Just under 60 percent of municipalities said they use short-term rental agreements. This is due to potential problems with non-payment of rent, concerns about damage to the dwelling or disruption of cohabitation. A total of 80 per cent of municipalities register rent arrears totalling CZK 1.2 billion. The median is CZK 600,000. However, people in housing need account for only ten per cent of the total amount owed.

Through the State Fund for Investment Support, the Ministry of the Interior has supported the construction of municipal flats with more than CZK 1 billion this year under the Rental Housing Programme. In the next few years, the ministry plans to get about eight billion from the National Recovery Plan into affordable housing and to build on these funds with private money. In total, this should amount to CZK 20 billion.

Source: CTK