The Prague City Hall coalition is due to meet on Friday to discuss a controversial proposal to collect anonymous data from electricity meters to identify vacant housing units. Mayor Zdeněk Hřib of the Pirate Party, which is behind the move, says despite alarm calls by his coalition partners, the intention was never to try to identify the owners of vacant properties – whether ‘foreign speculators’ or local investors – in order to tax them.
Interest in rental housing has seen a significant rise in recent months, in
response to the central bank tightening mortgage rules, the ctk news agency
reported citing real estate companies.
The interest in rental housing has driven rents higher, by an average 3 percent in Prague (to 340 crowns per square metre) but as much as 11 percent in the most lucrative areas.
The monthly rent for a medium-sized two-room flat in Prague is now between 15 to 19 thousand crowns, depending on its proximity to the city centre.
The Czech Foreign Ministry has summoned Russia’s ambassador for talks
over the news that apartments for Russian diplomats are reportedly being
rented to third parties in Prague.
The ambassador was summoned following reports in the Czech media that thousands of apartments intended for diplomatic personnel were being leased to third party tenants, which is in violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova previously said that the reports were based on local sources that “distort the truth.”
A new study by the Prague Institute of Planning and Development suggests
the Czech capital could face a sizable housing crisis in the future.
According to the report, which was quoted by news site iDnes.cz, the
city’s population will grow by 160,000 by 2030. To satisfy projected
housing demand, 8,000 new apartments would need to be built annually, a
representative of the institute said.
However, last year fewer than 5,300 flats were completed and developers say a log-jam relating to zoning and planning permits means the number will only decline further in the next few years.
On Monday, the Czech daily Deník N came out with a story that an official at the Russian Embassy is renting out hundreds of flats owned by the Czech state to tenants in Prague. The flats are available to the Russian state through a decades old agreement, but renting them to third persons may be breaking diplomatic rules.
The Russian Embassy in Prague has been profiting from the lease of hundreds
of flats in Prague 6 which were intended for Russian diplomats, Czech Radio
reported on Monday citing the news site Denik N.
The flats belong to the Czech state and were allotted to the Russian Embassy for its diplomats for an unspecified period of time before the fall of communism in 1989.
According to Denik N the flats are being leased to people without a contract and they are paying rent in cash directly to the Russian Embassy.
This activity is reportedly documented by a number of ads offering the flats for rent.
According to former Czech foreign minister Cyril Svoboda, it is in violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.