The so-called “social”, albeit rather luxurious, apartments owned by the city council in Marosvásárhely/Târgu Mureș might soon be empty, as tenants are about to move out due excessive rental fees. Tenants of the Bența tower blocks already asked for a reduction, but city council members voted against it.
The highest apartment blocks in Marosvásárhely – Pandúrok Street 44-46 – were built eight years ago. But because the contractor was unable to finish the construction, the city council bought the real estate, emphasizing that they were going to use the completed buildings for social housing.
Some had already underlined back then that these properties were built as luxury apartments and only a few would be able to afford the high rental fee.
A one-room apartment in the Bența tower blocks is 54 square meters, and a two-room one is 79 square meters. Originally, the rental fee was 2 euros/m2; now it’s 3 euros. Plus, for those living there for more than five years, the rental fee increases by 10 percent each year.
Six tenants already canceled their contract
A representative of the Locativ Housing Management Company, Szabolcs Tóth, told szekelyhon.ro that the five-year rental contract of some tenants expired in 2018, when the City Council passed a resolution on increasing the rental fee 10 percent yearly. They explained their decision by saying that they wanted to urge tenants to move out after the five-year grace period.
Normally, the rental fee of an apartment owned by the city council is lower than the market price, and initially, this was the case here. But following the yearly 10 percent increase, this would no longer be the case. “When it came to light that we will increase the rental fee by 10 percent, several tenants said they are going to move out. Twenty-four tenants have been living here for eight years, meaning that now we have to calculate a 30 percent higher rental fee for them. Six of them decided not to renew their contract.
“We are afraid that others will follow
and then the apartments will be empty, causing a loss for the company, which
is owned by the city. Therefore, we asked
the local municipal council to cap the
price increase to 20 percent.”
– said Szabolcs Tóth.
City council members: The increase is justified
City council members disagree with the housing management company’s request because they believe new tenants will arrive and say that even after the increase the rental fees are still below the market price.
According to local councilor of the Free People’s Party, Radu Balaș,
“The best solution for the city would be to sell the luxury apartments and build real social apartments instead because there is high demand in Marosvásárhely for smaller apartments with low overhead.
Balaș also emphasized that the city council is not a real estate agency and is not supposed to rent out luxury apartments.
In the end, nothing changed. The city council did not accept the draft resolution of the housing management company, meaning that the rental fees will increase 10 percent a year for tenants who have lived in the apartments longer than five years.
Titled image: Bența tower blocks (Photo: Vincze Haáz/szekelyhon.ro)