Vice-Mayor of Vsetín, Czech Republic says Roma tenants do not owe the town CZK 13 million
Květoslava Othová, the Vice-Mayor of Vsetín, has corrected the information reported about the amount of debt owed the town by Roma residents of the Poschlá locality. Media recently reported that Roma tenants owed a staggering CZK 13 million, but that sum is the total amount owed by all defaulting tenants living anywhere on the town's territory since records were kept, not the sum owed by tenants in Poschlá.
Roma residents of the quarter were moved into "container" housing in Poschlá by former Mayor Jiří Čunek from a condemned building in the town center. Their share of the total debt owed the town is almost CZK 3 million, most of which is debt for back rent prior to 2006 that they are slowly paying off. Of that CZK 3 million, since the move in 2006, residents of Poschlá have accrued only CZK 288 000 in debt, i.e., approximately CZK 8 000 per family on average. The town is also collecting CZK 10 million in debt from properties on the rest of its territory.
"That total number is very misleading. The entire volume of debt concerns the entire town and an amount of CZK 10 million has been owed since 2006. Those are the debts of tenants who no longer rent from the town and who are paying off their debts through collections, by court order, or in other ways, in very small amounts. However, we definitely cannot say that most of that debt concerns the residents of Poschlá as it currently exists, nor the residents of the building they were evicted from," the Vice-Mayor told news server Romea.cz.
The town wants any new property leases concluded in future to be fixed-term only. The leases will include a so-called "collections record" which the town hall can use to evict tenants should they fail to pay their debts.
The families concerned, however, cannot afford to pay off their debts. They live almost exclusively on welfare, without any vision of future employment. Their job-seeking has been extremely complicated by the fact that many of them are now subject to collections, which means any money they do make will be confiscated by collections agents, leaving them unable to pay their current rent or make more debt payments. The residents of Poschlá are saying they will have to move away soon, but the town has not confirmed any plans to evict them.
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