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What is a council or municipal flat
A council flat is, as the name suggests, a flat owned by the council. These flats are offered at lower prices than on the property market, but the number is very limited. Therefore, they are definitely not available to everyone. Very few new council flats are being built, and therefore most vacant council flats are only offered when the previous tenant has died, moved out or been evicted (e.g. for non-payment of rent).
Amount of rent for a municipal flat
As already mentioned, municipal flats are the property of the municipality and the amount of rent is therefore decided by the municipality itself. Prices will therefore vary from municipality to municipality. However, the rent for a council flat is usually much lower than for conventional flats owned by private individuals or companies. However, you will need to check directly with the municipality of your choice for specific prices.
In any case, you should also take into account that rent increases may occur in city flats. This is often due to renovation costs or inflation, which has increased the prices of almost all commodities this year, including the rent of municipal flats.
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Types of urban apartments
City apartments can be for everyone, but there are also types of city apartments that are offered for certain groups of people. These include:
- Starter flats: this type of flat is for young people (usually under the age of 30) with a limited lease period (a few years).
- Apartments for the elderly: Municipal apartments are also intended for the elderly, who often suffer from low income and health limitations.
- Service apartments: Some municipalities offer apartments for their employees.
- Apartments for people with disabilities: Some municipal housing may also be reserved for persons with disabilities who would otherwise have difficulty finding conventional housing. For example, many municipalities offer specially adapted wheelchair-accessible flats, which are difficult to find on the property market.
Advantages and disadvantages of a council flat
Advantages of council flats
- Affordable Housing: council housing provides an affordable housing option for low-income individuals and families who might otherwise struggle to find decent and affordable housing in the property market.
- Stability: Municipal housing provides a stable and long-term solution, reducing the risk of homelessness and housing costs for vulnerable populations.
- Social and economic integration: Municipal housing can promote socio-economic integration by enabling low-income people to live in neighbourhoods with better amenities, schools and job opportunities.
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Disadvantages of council flats
- Limited supply: there are few council flats and not many new ones being built, leading to long waiting lists and limited availability. This means that not everyone who needs them has access to them.
- Quality issues: Some council housing can suffer from maintenance problems and lack of investment in repairs, leading to sub-standard living conditions for residents.
- Stigma: There is often a social stigma attached to living in council housing, which can negatively affect residents’ self-esteem and outlook.
- Bureaucracy: The application and qualification process for council housing is highly complex and bureaucratic, which puts many people off.
- Social problems: Some areas of towns with high concentrations of council housing can face problems related to crime, drugs and social problems that have a negative impact on the quality of life of residents.
Who is eligible for council housing
Each city sets its own conditions for getting council housing. However, the basic conditions are almost everywhere citizenship of the Czech Republic, reaching the age of eighteen and permanent residence in the city, often accompanied by a certain duration of this permanent residence (which can be several months or even years). Other conditions include that the applicant must not be the owner of the property and must have a salary high enough to be able to pay the rent. The municipality may also set a maximum salary for the applicant in order to provide municipal housing only to less well-off citizens.
Application for allocation of a council flat
The form for applying for a council flat will usually be provided by the local authority. However, you will most often find the following sections:
- Your personal details, such as your full name, address, date of birth, etc.
- Contact details such as your telephone number, address or email.
- Personal details of other people who will share your household and your relationship with them (spouse, children, etc.).
- Your income or the income of your household as a whole.
- Adescription of your current situation – i.e. why you are applying for the apartment, what your health condition is, or a description of your current residence.
- Specification of what kind of apartment you are applying for. This may include the specific flat advertised or perhaps the size or number of rooms required.
- Anaffidavit and handwritten and dated signature .
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Once you have made your application, you will have to submit it and decide whether you will actually get a council flat. There are several ways in which the city selects applicants. But the three most common ways of selecting applicants are:
- Points-based: In this case, applicants are assigned points by the Housing Commission and City Council based on their situation. For example, overall living situation, financial and social security, etc. are considered. This gives priority to socially vulnerable individuals, such as single mothers or seniors
- Lottery: Applicants are selected by random draw. They are often divided into several groups (families with children, seniors, etc.). You can then apply for only one of the corresponding groups.
- Envelope. The city will then select the highest bid.
Sale of city apartments
Not only do you have to rent a city apartment, but sometimes there is also an opportunity to buy one. This is because cities regularly dispose of unneeded property, including apartments. The municipality must post a notice of intent to sell an apartment for at least 15 days on the official board (most municipalities now have an official board available online). If you are interested in buying this apartment, the sale must still be approved by the municipal council.
If the City decides to sell municipal apartments, preference for purchase is usually given to existing tenants. Only if they are not interested are the flats made available to the public.
Another option is for you to apply to buy a council flat. However, here you have a much lower chance of success. Not only does the municipality have to approve the sale of the flat, but in this case the advertisement for sale will be posted on the official notice board and then the sale will have to be approved by the council, so anyone can blow you off.
Transition of a municipal apartment lease
The transfer of a municipal apartment lease consists of the transfer of the lease to a new person upon the death of the original tenant. However, the lease can only be transferred to a person who was a member of the deceased’s household and who is not also the owner of another apartment in the Czech Republic.
Cohabitation means the permanent cohabitation of persons with a common household.
In summary, municipal housing serves as a good source of affordable housing, but its scarcity and complex allocation processes pose significant challenges. Therefore, understanding the criteria and procedures in your particular municipality and being patient with the application process is key to a successful application.