The municipal housing firm from Vienna to Spain: “You should never sell public flats” | Economy | EUROtoday

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Christian Schantl (Klagenfurt, Austria, 64 years previous) has been the top of the International Relations division of the general public firm Wiener Wohnen since 2019, the entity that manages public leases within the metropolis of Vienna. The Viennese mannequin is a reference and lots of nations look to this metropolis, with almost two million inhabitants, to seek out clues that may assist them confront the extreme rise in housing costs. Vienna has been selling its mannequin for greater than a century, which at this time permits it to have a inventory of greater than 220,000 public rental houses, to that are added one other 200,000 backed ones. This signifies that greater than half of the residents reside in one in all these properties and that the municipal authorities is a elementary actor in relation to controlling rents. For Schantl, who offered the Viennese case on April 12 in Pamplona, ​​on the event of a nationwide assembly of public firms, one of many keys to success is the supply of an in depth public housing inventory that operates underneath a transparent premise: these properties ought to by no means be offered.

Ask. Around half of the homes in Vienna have costs beneath market costs, whereas in Spain essentially the most optimistic estimates place the general public inventory at 2.5% of the whole variety of houses. What would you advocate to extend inexpensive housing?

Answer. You can’t make a replica and paste of the system, it could not work. As a tip, one factor you shouldn’t do [el Gobierno español] is to promote your public housing. This is essential, as a result of many cities in Europe have made that mistake and are actually going through severe issues. So that's the very first thing: by no means promote what you’ve. And then, there are some components which might be vital to consider, such because the monetary scenario, the mandatory land, the authorized framework and housing insurance policies.

P. Can the truth that the classification of protected housing is indefinite discourage non-public traders?

R. In Vienna we don’t face that downside. We have 58% restricted profit cooperatives that compete with one another. Of course, it’s not an funding mannequin for speculators, however it’s for individuals who assume long run and who wish to make investments safely on this sector. It must be attention-grabbing for personal corporations as a result of in any other case they wouldn't do it.

P. In nations like Spain, a house shopping for tradition prevails. Is that appropriate along with your housing mannequin?

R. Why not? I might say the vital factor is how safe that property is. When you get one in all our flats, you conform to an indefinite contract, so you’ll be able to keep so long as you need; You may even go the residence on to your kids. The scenario between those that lease an residence in Vienna and those that personal it’s virtually the identical, so the necessity or want to be an proprietor is totally different. There are many tenants who even assume they’re homeowners.

P. How have they managed to assemble so many homes?

R. The motive we’ve a lot inexpensive housing in comparison with different cities is due to the legacy we’ve. Around 50% of the whole housing inventory is owned by the municipal firm, a non-profit cooperative or a non-public developer. We have a terrific supply.

P. How do these restricted profit cooperatives work?

R. Well, they're not allowed to make earnings. And those that have, should reinvest them in inexpensive housing once more. So, through the years, it has grow to be a system that evolves by itself as a result of the reinvestments are steady. This has allowed us to construct or rehabilitate between 5,000 and seven,000 formally protected houses every year. In addition, we put money into municipal housing, which additionally helps hold the system operating and creates 1000’s of latest houses yearly, that are actually mandatory. Vienna is rising a lot sooner than different cities like Barcelona or Madrid.

P. Who can entry these houses?

R. Some standards need to be met. For instance, being 18 years previous on the time of signing the contract, being an Austrian citizen or coming from one other Member State of the European Union. Of course, it’s a must to reside in Vienna for at the very least two years to have the ability to apply for it. Economically, on the time of signing the contract, the household unit can’t exceed a sure earnings stage. However, these limits are so excessive that they cowl between 75% and 80% of the inhabitants. Almost everybody has entry to the general public park. Each individual can then request the place they wish to reside. There is a ready listing and people on the prime can entry the flats that grow to be obtainable. And whoever asks for it first, will get it. That makes individuals happier and reduces coexistence issues.

P. What in case you are assigned a house and later your earnings exceeds that threshold?

R. We management the earnings as soon as, when signing the contract. If you meet that standards, you’ll be able to request the residence. We don't management it anymore. So, for those who enhance your dwelling circumstances, for those who handle to achieve success in your work, that's wonderful with us. Because? Because one of the vital issues for us is to create a different social ecosystem. Not solely on the metropolis stage, but in addition in every of the residential complexes.

P. How a lot do households pay for these leases?

R. It is 6.67 euros per sq. meter per 30 days. The quantity of lease is identical wherever the residence is situated. That is the web lease for municipally owned flats and is outlined by legislation. That worth will increase according to inflation. The worth doesn't rely upon what you cost both.

P. Therefore, those that earn much less proceed to need to allocate a a lot larger share to paying this lease.

R. Yes, I perceive that debate, however what we would like is to create a different social ecosystem and in addition entice these with larger incomes. That is why we don’t imagine that the earnings of those individuals must be elevated. If not, you’d be penalizing those that are profitable of their work life. The want or to not yearly management household earnings additionally enters into the dialogue, however, as I’ve talked about, nearly all of the inhabitants falls inside the necessities. We can’t monitor the five hundred,000 individuals in our flats yearly to seek out those that have elevated their earnings above the restrict. The funding we must make can be a lot higher than the profit we’d acquire.

P. What occurs if the lease isn’t paid?

R. We have an eviction prevention group that tries to assist these households who can’t pay their lease. In many circumstances, they’re profitable, but when there isn’t a answer and that household doesn’t pay their lease for a number of months, they’re evicted. Whether or not they’ve dependent kids. There are social flats meant for these households.

P. What is the principle criticism of the system?

R. That the system is financed via taxes. We have an city contribution tax that every one staff within the nation need to pay. It represents 1% of gross earnings. It is a federal tax that the federal authorities distributes among the many provinces. Vienna is the capital of Austria, however it is usually the capital of its province. So, yearly, Vienna receives round 250 million euros from this tax that it could possibly put money into new housing or within the rehabilitation of the previous park. Even so, Vienna invests way more, round 450 million euros per yr.

P. In latest years, vacationer flats have proliferated which, together with different components, has induced an extreme enhance in rental costs, particularly in giant cities. What have they accomplished about it?

R. We have modified our laws. To start with, subletting a municipal or publicly funded residence is a motive for eviction. In addition, the municipal authorities of Vienna has additionally tailored the laws relating to the non-public sector. It's not about the place the residence is situated, however how lengthy you lease it. If you supply it continually to vacationers, you need to regulate the exercise via the common rental market. It is true that we’re engaged on methods to regulate this exercise as a result of the businesses that supply these flats should not at all times keen to collaborate.

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