City to help fund new apartments

11/1 2024

Ostrava is once again offering financial support for the creation of new apartments in non-residential buildings that have been vacant for a long time. Such conversion projects will help expand the range of affordable housing in the city. The funding programme is targeted at the renovation and revitalization of buildings that have demonstrably been vacant for long periods, and its focus is on providing affordable housing.

City to help fund new apartments

Illustrative photo. Author: Ostrava City Authority

The City has set aside 10 million CZK for the programme in 2024.

Deputy Mayor Hana Tichánková gave more information: “The grant programme basically has two goals. Firstly, we want to encourage the revitalization of buildings that have been unused for at least one year. Secondly, we want to expand the range of affordable housing on the market, so apartments created with funding from the programme will be offered at 70% of the average local rent level. The first applications were submitted last year, and in 2023 we contributed 8.1 million CZK, helping to create 40 new apartments.”

Either owners or co-owners of buildings are eligible to apply for the funding. Applications can be submitted from 8 February 2024 to 8 April 2024. Applications must include documentation proving the applicant’s (co-)ownership and demonstrating the current state of the building. Detailed information about requirements can be found on the City’s website. The programme motivates owners to renovate their property, as they are jointly responsible for funding the work. The City’s contribution is 5 000 CZK per m², up to a maximum 350 000 CZK per apartment, and the maximum level of funding available per applicant is 3 million CZK. The maximum grant is 50% of the total eligible project costs, and the remaining costs are the responsibility of the owner. Funding will be provided in two instalments – one after signing the contract, and the other when the project is complete.

The project implementation must not last longer than two years from the date on which the grant provision contract comes into effect. Apartments must be offered for rental during a period of at least seven years after the project completion, and at least a quarter of the apartments must fall into the category of affordable housing. This means that the rent per 1 m² must not exceed 70% of the average local rent level. It is permissible to raise the rent once a year on the basis of an inflation clause.

The City expects that around 60 new apartments will be created with assistance from the programme. Other apartments in Ostrava are being renovated using financial reserves that have been allocated to improving the City’s housing stock; the reserve fund has been operating for several years now, initially releasing an annual sum of 50 million CZK. Deputy Mayor Jiří Vávra explained the purpose of the fund: “The reserve fund was created to help our municipal districts manage and maintain their housing stock, which (just like privately owned housing stock) includes a certain percentage of apartments that are not fit for habitation. In 2022, we responded to the arrival of Ukrainian refugees by increasing the allocation to 90 million CZK. A sum of 68.9 million CZK was approved as part of the 2023 budget, and the budget for 2024 is 60 million CZK.”