romea - logo
February 24, 2018
extended search

Czech housing estate sees water cut off, situation is critical for residents

31.10.2017 7:29
The Janov housing estate in Litvínov, where Romani residents have been subjected to harassment and intimidation by the local authority, local media, local police and social workers, property owners and ultra-right political groups for almost a decade. (PHOTO:  Google Maps)
The Janov housing estate in Litvínov, where Romani residents have been subjected to harassment and intimidation by the local authority, local media, local police and social workers, property owners and ultra-right political groups for almost a decade. (PHOTO: Google Maps)

Several families with young children living at the Janov housing estate in the Czech town of Litvínov have had their water supply cut off through no fault of their own. Hot water has not been available to them for several weeks now, and for the last few days cold water has not been running there either.

The families have been properly paying their rent and utilities bills, and have now jointly filed a report of a crime against an unidentified perpetrator for violating hygienic norms. The debt owed to the water company has been caused by irresponsible owners of the apartment units and administrators of the local buildings, who are behaving untransparently.

"Now we are absolutely without water," one of the residents of Bloc C of Janov told news server "Nobody is communicating with us."

"We are going to acquaintances' homes to get water for cooking, bathing, and to use the restroom," the tenant said. "This is a catastrophe."

Access to clean, potable water is a basic human right. Cancelling water supplies to an apartment unit is a serious intervention that prevents housing from being used and can be perceived as endangering a dignified way of life.

"These are decent, nice people with two young children," Naděžda Kuzmina, an owner of one apartment unit at Janov who leases it to a Romani family, told news server "They have paid all their bills, but now they are absolutely without water."

"Many apartments here are owned by people who cannot be located, they do not communicate with the tenants at all, they live in another city or even outside of the Czech Republic, and they do not take care of these properties," she said. Kuzmina is one of a very few owners who do take care of their properties at the housing estate and who has properly paid all creditors.

Despite this, the company LiRaS s.r.o., which administers the entire building, is now demanding that she and other members of the condominium association pay a certain amount of money to cover debts related to the properties. The administrator's approach will apparently lead to the remaining tenants moving away and to the building going unused.

The units are essentially unsellable. Two other buildings on the estate face a similar situation in advance of the winter.

Unpredictable housing situation

The critical situation currently involves five families. Four have been offered replacement apartments directly at the Janov estate by the management company, with the fifth being asked to relocate to the UNO residential hotel in Litvínov.

Yesterday Kumar Vishwanathan, director of the Life Together organization and a representative of the ROMACT project, which is supposed to encourage community work in excluded localities, visited Janov. "The apartment situation at Janov housing estate is actually very unclear. A large number of units here are owned by people who take no interest in the sitaution. The City of Litvínov and the Labor Office finally began to attempt to figure out where the money being paid for rent and utilities and where the housing allowances are going," Vishwanathan told

"It is not at all clear how these debts arise - at Janov there are enormous housing estate blocs with dozens of individual aparment owners, many of whom cannot be located. The buildings are administered by different companies and frequently there are also middlemen involved between the owners and the renters as rent collectors," Vishwanathan told

He sees the problem as being that if the condominium association is so dispersed it has no opportunity to agree on a common approach, as more than half of the owners must support any decision. "I see hope in negotiations with a bigger investor, a responsible one, who would buy out more than half of the units in the building. The Janov housing estate can be a nice place, but it is necessary to have a common approach, not a fragmented one," he said.

Money is "getting lost"

Bloc C, where units are cut off from water supplies, was still being administered one year ago by the Krušnohor Housing Construction Collective (Stavební bytové družstvo Krušnohor - SBD Krušnohor). At that time, however, the administrator of the building gave up on it because of the debts of its irresponsible apartment unit owners - not the tenants - and it was taken over by the LiRaS s.r.o. company, short for Litvínov Real Estate and Property Management (Litvínovská realitka a správa).

The growing amount owed to creditors was then divided among several of the few remaining apartment unit owners who have nothing to do with the debt other than the fact that they are members of the condominium association together with the members who have defaulted on their obligations. "Many tenants are actually paying, but the money gets lost on the way," František Ryba, the director of SBD Krušnohor, who is famous for his anti-Romani, racist remarks, told news server

It is not clear how much money has been "lost" in the case of Janov's Bloc C, but tenants have filed a crime report and hope a police investigation will aid them. The debt owed to the utility supplying heat to the building exceeds CZK 300 000 [EUR 11 700] according to a document seen by news server

According to the information in that document, some debtors have already agreed to pay their debts. Despite that fact, the management company is demanding the other condomonium association members, who have paid their bills on time, now make up the difference for those who do not.

voj, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
Views: 698x

Don't miss:

Related articles:


Housing, Janov, Litvínov, Sociální vyloučení


--ilustrační foto--

Czech survey finds youth are more prejudiced against minorities than their elders

8.2.2018 7:46
A survey performed by experts from the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes (ÚSTR) in collaboration with the Institute of Sociology has ascertained that while the subjects of the Holocaust, minorities and tolerance are being taught in the Czech schools, the instruction is having no influence on some widespread prejudices. ÚSTR has long focused on instruction about these sensitive historical subjects in the schools and more than 600 teachers take its courses annually.
 full story

--ilustrační foto--

Outgoing Czech PM backs MP who doubted Romani Holocaust, says he has apologized and his words have been "misinterpreted"

7.2.2018 16:32
Outgoing Czech PM Andrej Babiš (ANO) says that he believes the chair of the SPD movement, Tomio Okamura, has already apologized for his remarks about the Protectorate-era
concentration camp at Lety u Písku, a site of the genocide of the Roma during the Second World War. When asked today whether he supports removing Okamura from his post as vice-chair of the lower house, as the Christian Democrats propose, the PM said he considers Okamura's apology to have been sufficient.
 full story

--ilustrační foto--

Czech Republic: Unique "Memory of the Roma" project keeps historical memory alive through video

7.2.2018 7:33
Over a cup of coffee in her apartment in Rokycany, Czech Republic, 67-year-old Květa Tůmová Tomášová recalls the stories of her family, whose roots are in the Šariš region of eastern Slovakia. She talks about labor camps, partisans, the Second World War, the postwar migration to the Czech Republic, her childhood in Rokycany, and the classroom where she and her brother Mírák were the only Romani children.
 full story


Každý diskutující musí dodržovat PRAVIDLA DISKUZE SERVERU Moderátoři serveru si vyhrazují právo bez předchozího upozornění skrýt nevhodné příspěvky z diskuse na Ty pak budou viditelné jen pro vás a vaše přátele na Facebooku. Při opakovaném porušení pravidel mohou moderátoři zablokovat zobrazování vašich příspěvků v diskusích na ostatním uživatelům.

More articles from category

romea - logo