NEWS BRIEFS

Plan to build blocks of flats for rent non-payers abandoned

In an attempt to tackle the problem of delinquent flat payments by tenants, the Bratislava district of Ružinov has proposed an initiative supporting the construction of a cheap block of flats to be primarily inhabited by habitual non-payers (non-payers usually turn out to be Romanies).

The plan was abandoned when it was determined that financing the project would be just as expensive as building a standard block of flats.

In spite of the project's failure, district officials said they are convinced that the problem of non-payers needs to be solved. According to the district Mayor of Ružinov, Pavol Kubovič, financial sources for the construction could be attained through the fund for the development of housing.

But the question of where the block of flats would be placed remained since a majority of the non-payers lack mobility. Keeping them in the centre, however, is also undesirable because they lack a sense of communal living and are most likely to cause trouble in the future, he said.

The district now intends to find a suitable location somewhere on the outskirts of Bratislava. Another barrier to the proposal is a housing law which lays tough restrictions on land owners wishing to evict tenants. Under the law, a lengthy court process is required for eviction.

Mayors of Slovak towns have been criticised by human rights groups in the past for evicting Romany non-payers from city centres and installing them in ghettoes on the outskirts of town.

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