High number of Prague tenants living in low-cost public housing have above-average salaries, new data shows

In Prague, thousands of apartments are set aside for some of the city's poorest population, including the elderly, disadvantaged and disabled

Samantha Tatro

Written by Samantha Tatro
Published on 13.07.2020 14:52 (updated on 19.09.2020)

At least one in seven tenants living in special low-priced Prague apartments for the disadvantaged have above-average salaries, Prague officials have discovered.

In Prague, thousands of apartments are set aside for some of the city’s poorest population, including the elderly, disadvantaged and disabled. New data now shows many more people with above-average incomes take advantage of discounted housing than previous thought, according to a new report.

These city-owned apartments offer rent at approximately 82 Crowns for square meter. In comparison, market-priced rent goes for around 300 Crowns per meter. In more than 5,000 of the available 7,700 Prague apartments set aside for the program, rent runs around 60 Crowns per square meter.

“Under the current market conditions, the city has no justification for renting its flats for an average of 82 crowns per square meter to people who have relatively high incomes and whose social situation does not require it,” a representative of the Institute of Planning and Development told Seznam Zpravy.

In the past, published reports have documented several cases of judges or public prosecutors earning well over 100,000 Crowns a month and living in the discounted apartments (those rental contracts have since not been extended). However, data now shows at lest 17 people have declared their income over 100,000 Crowns a month.

The data shows only eight percent of apartments are rented to the elderly; six percent are rented to the disabled; and three percent to people in social need.

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In an attempt to fix the system, Seznam Zpravy reports, Prague officials will raise rent between 120 and 164 Crowns per square meter, depending on the apartment location and the apartment standards. The increase in rent will apply to new contracts only.

In the fall, officials hope to revisit tenant’s existing contracts to determine whether the raised rent will work for them, or whether they need to keep their rate lower.