Czech village wants to stop housing benefits altogether, plans to buy up apartment buildings
The village of Trmice in the Ústecký Region of the Czech Republic is defending itself against a potential influx of impoverished, problematic residents. Its local council has requested an expansion to its "measures of a general nature", on the basis of which new arrivals to the village will not be awarded housing benefits anywhere on its territory.
The local council is also buying up apartment buildings from private owners so they will not fall into the hands of real estate speculators. Before this recent change the restrictions on housing benefits for new arrivals applied to just five locations in the village of 3 000.
The original request by the local council was for the restrictions to apply in 10 places. The Ústí nad Labem City Hall, which is considered the municipality with expanded scope covering the local authority in Trmice, found just half of the sites originally designated by the village met the criteria for restrictions.
Now the village wants to significantly harden those restrictions. "We perceive a danger of more problematic, socially vulnerable people moving to Trmice. For that reason, we have adopted this new resolution and delivered to City Hall a new request for measures of a general nature and for an expansion of the validity of our not disbursing housing benefits to new arrivals to the village to cover its entire cadastral area," Mayor Jana Oubrechtová said.
Defending against speculators
If the approval of the restrictions goes well, the measures could begin applying within four months. The local council, moreover, says it will do its best to buy up bigger apartment buildings that might get into the hands of speculators.
During the last two years the council has bought two pieces of real estate for CZK 5 million [EUR 195 000]. "We bought the properties exactly because we feared an influx of people, mainly from Slovakia. At the one building we are developing a project to reconstruct it and offer smaller apartment units. We intend to turn the other building into community housing for senior citizens. The project documentation is being developed for that also," the mayor said.
The local council wanted to buy another building located on a corner near Trmice's Václavské náměstí, which, according to the cadastral office, has 11 apartment units. However, the village has backed out of the purchase, the price for which was set at roughly CZK 1 500 000 [EUR 58 000].
Concerns over the arrival of people from the residential hotels
"Unfortunately, there were big complications with the former owner, who is under collections, and the purchase was not completed. Eventually, after reaching agreement between the real estate broker and our lawyer, it was recommended that we not buy that building," the mayor said of the corner property.
According to public records, that building already has a new owner, a man whose permanent residency is in Košice, Slovakia, but according to three laborers who have been working on the building, the owner has not yet come there and they do not have his contact information. Construction materials have been brought to the building and the men there confirmed it is to be entirely reconstructed.
An anonymous posting to online social networks alleges that people about to be evicted from the two residential hotels in Ústí nad Labem that are ceasing operations at the end of this month will be heading to the Trmice building. "That information reached me also," the mayor said.
"Probably we will discuss this on 18 June at the local assembly meeting - we assume people will come to that meeting," the mayor said. Ústí nad Labem itself, which is adjacent to Trmice, also wants to expand its measures of a general nature to cover the entire city and make it impossible for new arrivals to qualify for housing benefits.
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