Zoltán Roy Zsiday rents four council-owned apartments in a baroque building in the middle of Budapest’s Castle District for a total of HUF 126,126 (USD 489) a month. He then leases out the four apartments as boutique hotel suites for hundreds of dollars per day, reports hvg.hu.
One day at the exclusive “atelier” suite of the Zsiday group’s Pest-Buda Hotel costs EUR 290 (USD 342). Based on the data hvg.hu requested from the district council, the suite where residents can sleep under the “original baroque roofing” and enjoy peering out the “window opening from the floor to the ceiling” is leased to the Fidesz-tied entrepreneur at way under market prices.
According to the data provided by the council, the Zsiday group rents four council apartments for the following monthly amounts:
- First floor 42 sqm apartment – HUF 16,400 (USD 63.6)
- First floor 64 sqm apartment – HUF 24,991 (USD 96.9)
- Second floor 99 sqm apartment – HUF 38,658 (USD 150)
- Top floor 118 sqm apartment – HUF 46,077 (USD 178.7)
Hvg.hu compared the specifications of the council apartments with the suites of the Pest-Buda Hotel’s suites and concluded that Zsiday divided the apartments into rooms and suites that the hotel rents out separately.
According to management, hotel pricing is periodic depending on season, the number of events in Budapest, and occupancy, writes hvg.hu. The basic pricing of the suites is as follows:
- Atelier suite (roof floor) – EUR 290 (USD 342.5) / day
- Suite – EUR 215 (USD 253.9) / day
- Delux room – EUR 155 (USD 183) / day
- Room – EUR 124 (146.5) / day
Hvg.hu estimates monthly rental from just one suite to exceed HUF 2.6 million (USD 10,090). The Zsiday group rents the top floor containing the two atelier suites for a mere HUF 46,000 per month, that is, for a mere HUF 23,000 per suite. Based on this, a fully booked atelier suite brings an income 114 times higher than its monthly rent cost.
Hvg was denied access to the property, and the architects of the renovation refused to speak with them on the grounds that their client was not the district city council but the Zsiday group itself.
According to the district notary Teodóra Nagy, the Zsiday group acquired the right to lease two of the apartments through an open tender and another through a rental right exchange. In exchange for the right to reconstruct the top floor, the Zsiday group had to pay 50 percent of the top floor’s commercial price. “After this, the renter [Zsiday] indicated that they would renovate the council owned monument building at their own expenses. The representative body consented to the renovation and to the merging of the four rental contracts into one as well,” Nagy told hvg.hu.
Zsiday also rents a 1,023 sqm council-owned real estate where he operates another hotel and his restaurant Baltazár for a net monthly rent of HUF 1.71 million (USD 6,630). With its HUF 1670 (USD 6.5) per square meter price, it is also considered to be very low compared to the market prices in the district.
The Castle District Council is known to lease valuable council property to Fidesz-tied entrepreneurs, friends, relatives and business partners of mayor Gábor Tamás Nagy, who is currently under investigation for misappropriation of funds.