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Czech Republic: Romani tenants overcharged for substandard housing

Liberec, 16.4.2013 5:38, (ROMEA)

Romani tenants of tenements in excluded localities on the outskirts of Liberec, a town of 100 000 in the Czech Republic, pay almost CZK 9 000 in rent for studio apartments, often with mold-infested walls. According to a study mapping the ghetto in Liberec, about 1 100 people are living in such conditions in several residential hotels and 14 apartment buildings.

According to the study, the tenements on Vojanova street are some of the most problematic localities in Liberec. A cursory glance at the muddy courtyard full of clutter near one building with peeling walls confirms that. Most of the repairs that have been made to properties there are only temporary, with the exception of several newly-installed plastic window frames, which glow against the banged-up façade.

The real problems here, however, cannot be seen from the exterior. For example, in one building the drains have not worked for several years and wastewater has flowed directly into the basement instead.

“If they would bring us some gravel it would look different here,” a Romani man about 50 years old says, pointing to a small group of young children up to their ankles in water who are tracking mud from the courtyard through the gate to the entrance of a neighboring building.

An older Romani man  smoking in front of the building points out that exclusively Romani tenants reside there. According to him, between 10 and 12 families live in each building.

“Fortunately I live somewhere else already. I paid CZK 8 600 per month here even though it was horrible. There was mold in the bathroom and the entryway, it leaked everywhere,” the older man says, pointing to a building across the way which is still in the same pitiful state.

An interview? Pay me CZK 10 000, says the landlord.

“Don’t photograph anything here, you don’t have the owner’s permission!” the small blonde woman who manages the building fires at me. A moment later she hands me her mobile phone so I can speak with the owner directly.

“I will answer all your questions for CZK 10 000. I’m an aristocrat, I don’t say anything for free,” the voice on the other end says.

The older Romani man says he knows the landlord and that response does not surprise him. “He tells himself ‘Gypsies don’t mind’, the main thing is that you pay and repair everything yourself,” the former tenant says angrily.
Novinky.cz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Ubytování, Liberec, Romové, ubytovny, Czech republic, Ghetto, Housing, news, Roma



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