Czech vice-mayor hopes real estate agent will avoid renting to "inadaptables"
Municipal authorities in Ústí nad Labem are concerned that Romani residents of the Šluknov district might be planning to move into their town. Rumors are being spread that the town's available housing is being sought by Romani tenants. Vice-Mayor Jan Řeřicha (ODS - Civic Democrats) has expressed similar concerns. The Czech Press Agency reports that the CPI Byty company, which owns some of the apartments currently available in the town, has ruled out any such intention.
In an open letter to CPI Byty, Vice-Mayor Řeřicha expressed concerns last Tuesday that Romani people were planning to move into town. "Because I am not indifferent to the future development of this matter and I understand our residents' concerns regarding quiet and safety in the town, I am writing this open letter to you to express my great concern and unease regarding the eventual moving of 'inadaptable' Romani tenants into properties located in the districts of Ústí nad Labem," Řeřicha wrote.
CPI Byty began reconstructing Ústí's housing stock last year and reportedly does not want to allow the properties to be "destroyed" by "inadaptable" tenants. "It is not in our interests to move risky tenants into the reconstructed apartments or into buildings scheduled for renovation, especially if we know beforehand that they are unable to pay for rent and services. We do not want tenants who might destroy our property or threaten other tenants. The current law is deficient and makes it difficult to evict such tenants," CPI Byty general director Zdeněk Havelka wrote in a press release sent to the Czech Press Agency.
The company intends to defend itself in court against the rumors spreading around town. "I consider these lying reports to be an attack against landlords who are currently facing the results of a poorly-configured deregulation policy. Our firm is already considering legal steps in this matter," confirmed Daniel Bacík, the business director of CPI Byty.
According to the mayors of towns in the Šluknov foothills, landlords and real estate agents have been moving Romani residents into the region from various parts of the country. The real estate agents move the Romani residents out of flats in potentially lucrative localities and then either rent or sell the properties at a profit. According to the management of CPI Byty, that situation should be prevented in future by a recently adopted amendment to the civil code tightening the conditions and norms for renting accommodation.
"The current situation in the regions affected proves that the amendment to the Civil Code that was adopted in May of this year on the terms of rental relationships (for example, the number of people per household, their obligation to report household members to the landlord, the options for monitoring apartments) is not and never was aimed against decent tenants. It is supposed to ensure a certain amount of prevention against the rental relationship being abused by problematic tenants and also to protect decent ones," Bacík said in defense of the amendment.
In August, the situation in Šluknov district became acute after two violent incidents in which Romani perpetrators allegedly attacked members of the majority. Local residents have been protesting against crime and the security situation in the region for six weeks. Today the anti-Roma protests are taking place in the regional capital, Ústí nad Labem
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