Szeged will make up to 250 renovated council flats available to impoverished residents, Mayor László Boka announced on Tuesday. After handing over the first key, the socialist politician said that as many as 175 people could move into council flats by the end of the year.
Qualifying individuals will be able to rent a 40 sqm flat for as little as HUF 18,000 (USD 67) a month, plus utilities.
The left-wing mayor of Hungary`s second-largest city bemoaned the fact that the country does not have a comprehensive, state-financed, subsidized council flat housing program.
Altogether, the southern university city plans to provide housing for 400 socially disadvantaged individuals meeting the following criteria:
- They must be residents of Szeged
- They must be employed for a minimum of five years
- Household income must be at least HUF 37,000 per household member, but not more than minimal wage
- They cannot own a flat
- They cannot own valuable property
Szeged real estate management company CEO Kálmán Kardos told sister publication abcug.hu there are presently 5200 municipal flats in Szeged, 600 of which are empty. He said the typical cost of renovating a flat was HUF 4 million (USD 15,000).
He said HUF 37,000 a month per household head is the minimum income deemed necessary to be able to afford both the rent and utility costs.
The CEO said that last year total rental arrears amounted to some HUF 900 million, of which the city only managed to collect HUF 40 million. Despite the strict criteria, Kardos says they do not have enough council flats to satisfy the demand for affordable rental housing, and the program is 4.5 times oversubscribed.