The housing stock of the Czech Republic has not fully recovered from the central planning and state-financed development that started in 1948 in the former Czechoslovakia and lasted until the 1990’s. During this period massive expropriation of residential buildings took place and even the leasing concept was replaced by the figure of the “personal use of flats”. Rent was controlled and artificially set with subsidies from the state budget (Podrazil et al., 2014).
Even after the political changes in the 1990s, which brought the restitution of the housing property, the level of controlled rents reached 80 percent of the rental stock. These low rents were not necessarily in function of the tenant’s income levels, however. It was only in 2011, when legislation changed, that rent control was cancelled and replaced by a non-regulated market. This change was followed by a period of deregulation of the rent, where rent increases were allowed under controlled circumstances (Špalek and Špalkova, 2014).
According to the 2011 “Census of people, houses and dwellings” the overall housing stock in the Czech Republic included 4.756.572 dwellings, out of which 920,405 (22,4% of the permanently occupied dwellings) corresponded to dwellings occupied by tenants. Regional variations are evident across the country. In Prague, for instance, 35% of all households live in rental flats. Therefore the potential impact of improving the rental housing stock is substantial, as acknowledged by the RentalCal project.
The new “Housing Policy Concept for the Czech Republic till 2020” is the key strategy to improve the Czech housing market, including the rental segment, through the State Housing Development Fund (SFRB). The main goals of the SFRB include the support for the construction of new flats (especially rentals), the energy-efficient retrofitting of the existing housing stock (especially large panel buildings) and other infrastructure investments at municipal level.