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Czech Interior Ministry: It is unacceptable to evict residential hotel tenants in order to access state support for arrivals from Ukraine

23.3.2022 6:48
Vít Rakušan (2019) (PHOTO: Lenka Hatašová, Wikimedia Commons)
Vít Rakušan (2019) (PHOTO: Lenka Hatašová, Wikimedia Commons)

Only facilities with which Regional Authorities have agreements and concluded contracts will be receiving contributions from the Czech state for the accommodation of refugees fleeing Russia's war on Ukraine. The state will not send money to landlords, but will provide it to the Regional Authorities.

The regional level of administration will then distribute the funding. The Czech Interior Ministry informed the Czech News Agency about the process over the weekend. 

The ministry was responding to the information that some owners of boarding houses or residential hotels are evicting current tenants and instead want to rent to newcomers from Ukraine because of the contribution toward their housing provided by the state. The ministry says such evictions would be inadmissible. 

Last Wednesday, the Czech Government decided that the state will be paying CZK 250 [EUR 10] per night to hotels or pensions accommodating refugees from Russia's war on Ukraine; the payment is not meant to cover any kind of meal service. "The Interior Ministry has noted information that some private owners of boarding houses or residential hotels are about to evict their current tenants in an effort to access the contribution from the state for the accommodation of Ukrainians fleeing the war. Such actions are not allowed," said ministry spokeswoman Klára Dlubalová. 

Czech Interior Minister Vít Rakušan (Mayors and Independents - STAN) called on accommodation operators to just offer their capacities that are genuinely unoccupied for the accommodation of refugees from Russia's war on Ukraine. "We will not allow anyone to traffic in human suffering. This contribution is not for profiteering, but for being able to take care of the women and children fleeing the war," the minister said.

Daniel Hůle, an expert from the Czech NGO People in Need, raised the alarm about eviction on Twitter. He alleged that the first residential hotel in the country had already evicted its tenants in order to receive the state allowance for accommodating refugees. 

That tweet has since been deleted. Other experts have also criticized the set-up of this support. 

According to them, the amounts disbursed should not be uniform, but graduated according to a facility's standards. ANO movement opposition politicians have been promoting the model of compensation to such business owners that they launched during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the Interior Ministry, the state contribution is not for facility operators, but for Regional Authorities. "The redistribution of the contribution is therefore up to the Regional Authority and within its competence. If an operator moves citizens of Ukraine into a boarding house or residential hotel without prior agreement and consent from the Regional Authority, that operator will not be entitled to a contribution," the ministry spokeswoman said. 

Dlubalová added that Regional Authorities are looking for accommodation and it is up to them which capacities they will contract. For temporary emergency shelter, for example in gymnasiums, the cost is estimated at CZK 200 [EUR 8] per person per day, including food. 

In boarding houses or residential hotels, the cost is estimated at CZK 250 without food. Speaking after last week's cabinet meeting, the Interior Minister said the Regional Authorities should contribute an additional CZK 100 [EUR 4] from their own resources.  

According to the head of the Association of Hotels and Restaurants of the Czech Republic, Václav Stárek, the amount now established will not cover costs, which he calculated at CZK 500 [EUR 20] per person per night. Czech Finance Minister Zbyněk Stanjura (Civic Democratic Party - ODS) noted that with an award of that amount, a landlord would receive CZK 45 000 [EUR 1 800] monthly for accommodating a mother with two children.

"Don't get mad, but that it is beyond the reality of the public budget. Not just the state budget, but also those of regions and municipalities. We should also ask whether such a price involves profit," Stanjura said.

The contribution of CZK 250 for the accommodation of a mother with two children yields CZK 22 500 [EUR 900] per month in rent. If Regional Authorities themselves would contribute another CZK 100 per person per night, the total rent paid would be CZK 31 500 [EUR 1 275] per month.

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Housing, Immigrants, refugee, Ukraine



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