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Czech Republic restricts payouts to traffickers in poverty running residential hotels

Prague, 29.12.2014 1:58, (ROMEA)
One of the residential hotels in Ostrava on Cihelná street (2013). (Photo:  František Kostlán)
One of the residential hotels in Ostrava on Cihelná street (2013). (Photo: František Kostlán)

The payment of housing supplements for accommodation in residential hotels will now be restricted by law. The supplements will be provided by the state to residential hotel operators based on the amount of space rented, not per the number of people living in a single unit.

The amount of rent charged for such housing is not supposed to exceed normal local rates. The change will be introduced by a Government amendment to the law on aid to those in material distress that takes effect as of January.

The amendment is supposed to prevent the operators of residential hotels from benefiting from being overcompensated for the housing they provide. It also establishes the requirements that such housing must meet in order to be eligible for the program.

In the lower house, a provision according to which it will be possible to pay the supplement to a residential hotel operator only with the consent of the relevant municipality was added to the Government's original bill. The aim of the provision is to restrict the creation of residential hotels in inappropriate places.

That provision will take effect as of May. The Government's amendment is also intended to relax several construction and technical requirements for recreational buildings so their owners can access such supplements when these properties are used for permanent housing.

The provision is supposed to particularly affect people who already live full-time in small cottages that they own. According to the current law, they currently are not entitled to the supplement.

The number of people receiving these housing supplements and the volume of money disbursed through them has increased in recent years. In 2011 there were 24 400 recipients of CZK 850 million; last year there were 65 100 recipients and the volume of money disbursed had grown to CZK 2.8 billion.

ČTK, fk, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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