Pilot project supported by Japanese government motivates owners to rent unoccupied flats in Pardubice and Hradec Králové, Czechia
Prague – The International Organization for Migration (IOM), in cooperation with the Ministry of Regional Development of the Czech Republic and the non-profit organization Laxus, has launched a pilot project, Pronájem s garancí, which provides housing for temporary protection holders. The project has received financial support from the Japanese government, demonstrating the significant commitment of foreign partners in addressing the unprecedented migration situation. The long-term goal of the project is to activate the potential of unused flats and thus increase the overall availability of rental housing in Czechia. In this context, the Japanese ambassador to Czechia, Hideo Suzuki, visited Pardubice, where the pilot project is still running, as well as in Hradec Králové.
According to research conducted by the Department for Regional Development in October 2022, owners of vacant flats have different reasons for not letting them. The most common ones include concerns about the risks associated with renting or the fact that they have never rented a flat before. However, the research also showed that up to 50% of landlords would consider renting to refugees from Ukraine or people in housing need if such a rental came with a guarantee or security.
For this reason, a pilot project called Pronájem s garancí was established in Pardubice and Hradec Králové to motivate owners of unoccupied flats to rent them out on a long-term basis. Under this project, owners will receive a financial bonus of CZK 30,000 for renting an apartment. In addition, a specialised company takes care of the overall management of the lease, including the necessary administration and the occupation of the apartment by the tenants. The tenants will also have the initial period of the lease facilitated thanks to the deposit already paid. The smooth functioning of the entire housing process and any communication needs are then handled by a non-profit organisation providing social services. This pilot project, which has been financially supported by the Japanese government, was introduced by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and is a collaboration between the Ministry of Regional Development, the NGOs ADRA and Laxus, and the company Tvůj správce.
"We motivate and help owners to offer unoccupied apartments on the open rental market and connect this offer with the needs of refugee families who need to move from hostels and hotels into standard housing," explains Petr Čáp, head of the Czech office of the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
The Ministry of Regional Development is also interested in the project, as the lack of housing units is a nationwide problem. "We are analysing the data and experience from the pilot project in Pardubice and Hradec Králové and will use it to set up support for municipal affordable rental housing for all citizens of Czechia," said Deputy Minister for Regional Development Lukáš Černohorský.
The pilot housing project is being implemented thanks to the support of the Japanese government, which is helping Czechia during the highest refugee movement in Europe since World War II. Hideo Suzuki, the Japanese Ambassador to Czechia, visited Pardubice on Friday 24 March together with Petr Čáp, Head of Office of the IOM Czechia, and Lukáš Černohorský, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Regional Development, where he met with Mayor Jan Nadrchal and the city's leadership.
"I am delighted that the Ambassador has found his way to Pardubice again, and as he mentioned, this is the fourth time he has returned to Pardubice. We are doing our best to help the refugees and the Ukrainian state as much as we can, for example, this week we are sending 60 beds and 60 sleeping bags to Zhytomyr," says the Mayor of Pardubice Jan Nadrchal about the visit of the Japanese ambassador: "However, we understand that the Ukrainian people need much more support. Therefore, we welcome the initiative of the Japanese government within the framework of the IOM and MMR project, which aims to help occupy unoccupied privately owned apartments, as urban housing capacity is not inexhaustible."
The Japanese ambassador's visit ended at the Kalyna Community Centre in Pardubice, which has been helping refugees from Ukraine in Pardubice for a long time and where Japan, through the IOM, will support the important work of community workers.
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The project was generously supported by the Government of Japan.