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Czech Republic: Owner offers Přednádraží properties to town of Ostrava

Ostrava, 23.5.2013 5:45, (ROMEA)
On the morning of 10 October 2012, technical services staff began blocking off the dilapidated buildings in the ghetto on Přednádraží street in Ostrava with tape and posting signs warning people not to enter. (PHOTO: Patrik Banga).
On the morning of 10 October 2012, technical services staff began blocking off the dilapidated buildings in the ghetto on Přednádraží street in Ostrava with tape and posting signs warning people not to enter. (PHOTO: Patrik Banga).

Yesterday the owner of the ill-fated properties on Přednádraží Street in Ostrava, Oldřich Roztočil, sent an open letter to Mayor Petr Kajnar (Czech Social Democratic Party - ČSSD) offering to sell his real estate in the locality to the town and asking for a meeting. The mayor says he is not opposed to meeting with the landlord.

According to Roztočil, current events on Přednádraží Street are significantly deteriorating the chances that the locality can be preserved. In his view, it should be used for social housing. "A large proportion of the disputes [over the properties] cannot currently be resolved other than through the courts," the letter reads.

Roztočil said he considers the main problem to be the broken sewer line, which is blocking further reconstruction and repairs. "According to last year's declaration by the town hall's property department, the sewer line is the property of the town of Ostrava. It therefore seems logical to me to call on you to ask the town council to consider the option of purchasing the real estate on Přednádraží Street," the letter reads.

The landlord went on to say that if the town were to purchase the properties, it would prevent the irreversible damage now being done to them in the locality every day. "Moreover, the town would get the chance to strengthen its position in the area of social policy, as there are 120 apartment units in those properties," the letter reads.

The mayor told the Czech Press Agency today that the town is not opposed to the idea of meeting with the landlord. "If he makes us an offer, the town will of course discuss it and he can definitely meet with the town leadership," Kajnar said.

The mayor also said that according to the estimates of appraisers previously contracted by the town, the annual income from rents in the properties has been roughly CZK 5 million in the past. "He has not invested any money into those buildings, which is why they are in such a state," Kajnar said.

Roztočil responded that it is generally known that the rents in the locality have been between CZK 3 500 - 4 500 monthly, as his leases document. "The only exceptions were the apartments which were leased completely furnished as per my agreement with the social welfare department. Mr Mayor's claim is quite incorrect and I hope that is just because he has been given the wrong information," Roztočil said.

There have been problems in the Přednádraží locality for years, but the media has only taken an interest in them since last summer. The main cause has been the broken sewer line, which the landlord claims is municipal property. The town has asked the court for a definitive ruling on who is the owner and the court has not yet ruled on the issue.

Most of the occupants of the locality have now moved away. Originally about 200 people lived there, but some families do continue to occupy building no. 8. The landlord recently signed new leases with those people but was unable to get the Building Works Authority to change the property's official registration from non-residential to residential. He then called on the remaining tenants to move out.

On Monday the Building Works Authority ordered Roztočil to demolish five of the buildings due because they are in danger of collapse. Moreover, the court initiated a collections proceedings against him several days ago on the basis of a motion filed by the Ostrava Waterworks and Sewer company (Ostravské vodárny a kanalizace). Roztočil's company, Domy Přednádraží, s.r.o., owes the utility several hundreds of thousands of crowns. There is a chance the buildings may be put up for auction.

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Ostrava, Přednádraží, Ubytování, Housing, news, Roma



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