The Czech government plans to introduce a new housing support law that guarantees rent payments for those in need. The law aims to reduce the number of people facing housing difficulties in the country, which currently stands at around 150,000.
Under the proposed system, landlords could only charge rent up to the locally determined market rate for up to 18 months. The government would then cover any shortfall in rent and any costs associated with damage to the property caused by tenants. The government would also handle tenant selection and eviction proceedings.
Minister for Regional Development Ivan Bartoš has said that the government expects the system to be used by landlords with multiple properties, who may have had negative experiences with tenants. There are currently between 150,000 and 200,000 unoccupied apartments in the Czech Republic, and the government conservatively estimates that at least 2,000 of these could be used for guaranteed housing.
The law also includes provisions for housing advice, social assistance, and other forms of support for those in need. The total annual cost of the law is estimated at around CZK 1.5 billion, with the government arguing that failure to address the housing crisis could cost the state CZK 4.1 billion annually.
Critics of the law argue that it only goes halfway towards solving the housing problem in the country. Klára Dostálová, an opposition member of parliament, has called for more significant investment in social housing and non-profit housing cooperatives. The government has argued that such investments will be handled separately, with plans to finance social housing construction using a combination of EU loans and public-private partnerships.
While the proposed law has been generally well received by experts, some have cautioned that it may not go far enough in addressing the root causes of the housing crisis. Nonetheless, it represents a significant step forward in the government’s efforts to support those in need of housing in the Czech Republic.