The Polish rental market
1. Housing policy goals history
The dominant form of housing development during the period 1945-1989 was centrally-steered construction of large settlements by housing co-operatives and enterprises. The transition of Poland towards market economy caused large scale privatisation of the dwellings located in the municipal housing stock by leaving the housing co-operative as rather facility managers of existing housing stock. The role of extending the housing stock based on increasing demand on dwellings has been undertaken by private developers, which construct the multifamily buildings in order to immediate sale of dwellings to private persons. There is very small portion of buildings constructed after 1990 with dwellings for rent.
However, the renting of dwellings is subject of activity of municipalities and of significant portion of private owners of dwellings, being parts of co-operative housing stock and of condominiums. The newly established program for construction of pure rental housing brings yearly few buildings yearly. Additionally the small group of private owners of multifamily buildings are trying to create the rental market typical for market economy.
Almost 83% of all dwellings privately owned are occupied by the owners (EU28 average=70%). Only 4 % of dwellings are rented based on market prices (EU28 average=19%) and 12% of dwellings are rented for rents below the market level (UE28=11%).
According to the “Housing development support until 2020” (2010), there are three following goals of housing policy:
1. Satisfying the fundamental housing conditions for vulnerable households
2. Ensuring affordability of dwellings for households without enough creditworthiness, including creation of supply of low-price dwellings
3. Improvement of technical conditions of the housing stock, including increase of energy efficiency.
The private rental stock is regulated basically by the Civil Code and special law: Act of 21 June 2001. On the protection of the rights of tenants, housing resources of municipalities and on the amendment of the Civil Code (Journal of Laws of 2005 No. 31, item. 266).
As response to the lack of experience in renting of dwellings and imperfection of legal regulations, 2012 the association of private owners of dwellings “MIESZKANICZNIK” was founded by a group of rental market players. Currently, this is only professional body, which tries to civilise the rental market, providing samples of rent contracts, training for owners of dwellings on facility management.
2. Structure of the Polish housing stock
The housing stock in Poland in 2013 consists of approximately 13,8 million dwellings in around 5 800 thousands buildings. Individual single family buildings represent around 91% of the Polish residential building stock. The blocks of flats represent around 9% of the building stock.
Fig.1. Residential buildings by the construction period and size (in th.)
40% of the buildings are located in rural area (3517,1 th). In the urban area are located 2326,4 th of buildings (60% of the total buildings stock).
Fig. 2. Residential buildings in 2013 by location (in the residential building, both in rural and urban area, dominate single-family houses)
The most prevalent building type in the residential sector is the urban multi-family house (74,8%), followed by the rural single family house (64,8%).
Fig. 4. Structure of the residential buildings by location
In 2013 in Poland were 13 853 th of dwellings, in which 73% are located in the buildings constructed before 1985.
Fig. 5. Dwellings in 2013 by construction year and size (in th).
Although single family houses dominate in the buildings structure (88%) most of the dwellings are located in the multifamily houses (around 87% in urban area and around 13% in rural area).
Tab. 4. Number of dwellings by building type and construction period
Fig. 6. Structure of the dwellings by building type and construction period
2.3. Floor area
At the end of 2013, the total residential floor area was 1 012 million m² from what 65% was located in buildings constructed before 1985.
3. Rental market scale and quality
The majority of both existing and new residential property in Poland belongs to private individuals .
Households in Poland by the title to flat
According to the official statistics (2011 National Census) around 10,7% of the dwelling stock is rented at reduced rents, mostly in communal or social housing (5,7%) and on the basis of cooperative tenancy (2,1%), followed by the dwellings located in stock of state-owned companies (1,2%), the State Treasury (1,2%) and public buildings society (TBS, 0,5%). Additionally around 4,5% dwellings are rented by the owners for free market rents.
Households structure in Poland by ownership title of flat
It is estimated that the rental sector for free market rents by private landlords is the most developed in Poland's largest cities and resort towns. Eg. in Warsaw 21% of households lived in rented apartments, although about half of this comprised rentals in social and communal housing.
In the private rental market one can distinguish between three types of rental property using criteria such as technical quality, building age, management of legal/contract issues:
1) rental units in new housing stock
2) rental units in old housing stock of decent quality
3) rental units in old housing stock of low quality
The first type of unit is typically situated in new houses, developed or refurbished over past 5-10 years and have reasonable good quality. The owners consist mainly of households that have moved to the larger dwelling and for some reason kept the former one.
The second type consist of rental units in old housing stock, either built in the socialist era or in the pre-war period. The unit itself typically has an acceptable quality though the building and common areas are often in poor shape. This units are often inherited and rented without any long-term vision. Since rents in large cities are relatively high landlords are reluctant to invest in any improvement.
The difference between second and third type is that the quality of the third one is poor and usually no agreement is signed, however rental levels are much lover.
4. Energy performance data of the housing stock
Energy performance and specific component requirements Poland has performance-based requirements for new buildings and renovations. The Polish building codes also have prescriptive/ element-based criteria for thermal insulation, ventilation, efficiency for boiler/ A/C system and for lighting efficiency. According to the current regulations the architect must ensure that the quality of the building components is at a certain level or that a certain primary energy demand is not exceeded.
The energy performance of existing buildings according to the construction period presents table below.
Table 3. Energy performance of the Polish buildings by construction period
Typology Approach for Building Stock Energy Assessment Tabula Project - 2012
At the end of 2009, the Council of Ministers adopted a resolution on “Energy Policy of Poland until 2030”. This document, based on the Energy Act, describes Poland’s strategy to meet the most important challenges the Polish energy sector faces, both over short-term and by 2030. The main objectives of the Polish energy policy regarding energy efficiency are:
• to stop the increase in primary energy demand while economic growth continues (zero-energy economic growth);
• to significantly decrease the energy intensity of the Polish economy aiming to reach the EU-15 level in 2005.
In this context the Polish government has implemented several programmes and measures to promote energy efficiency in buildings (see chapter 6).
"Regulation of the Minister of Infrastructure of 12 April 2002 on the technical conditions to be met by buildings and their location (last updated in July 2015) establishes technical conditions, which are to be met by buildings and their associated devices, building location on a plot and development of the plots earmarked for buildings. The provisions of the Regulation shall be applied to design and construction, including also extension, superstructure, reconstruction and change of exploitation.
Chapter X of this document has title "Energy savings and thermal insulation" and states that all the new and modernised buildings has fulfil the obligations related to minimum energy performance requirements defined by max. EP value and max U value. The required values are presented in the tables below.
Table 1. Energy performance of the buildings according to the Polish regulation
5. Housing stock typology
Polish housing typology presented in table 1 below based in typology developed for the TABULA project. It shows typical "average" building by construction periods, building size and occupancy type.
6. Modernisation activities
The Thermo-modernisation and Renovation Fund was established in 1998 through the ‘Act on Support for Thermo-Modernisation Investment in Buildings’, which defines the Government’s principles supporting the energy efficient refurbishment of buildings in Poland. The introduction of the Thermo-Modernisation Law and Fund in 1999 established the regulatory framework for making operational the Thermo-Modernisation Fund. To become eligible, refurbishment projects must meet certain technical and financial criteria, which have to be verified by an energy audit and a financial analysis prior to receiving the financial support from the Fund. Among other eligibility criteria, the refurbishment has to deliver at least 25% energy savings. The Fund focuses on owners of multi-dwelling units, housing facilities and local governments. The measure provides loans for thermo-modernisation and renovation investment, of which 16% can be rewarded as a grant. To obtain the thermo-modernisation bonus, the investor should carry out an energy audit (to determine the work, the estimated cost and the expected savings), draw up a construction plan and carry out the investment accordingly (NEEAP Poland, 2012). The Fund has an annual budget of PLN 200 million (about 47 million euro) and is implemented by Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego. This currently only instrument of the state housing policy dedicated for the improvement of technical condition of the housing stock in Poland.
• Typology Approach for Building Stock Energy Assessment TABULA Project - 2012
• Institutional Rental Market in Poland - REAS, CMA, PWC - 2013
• Implementing nearly zero-energy buildings (nZEB) in Poland - Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE) - 2012
• Statistical Census 2011
• Statistical yearbook - 2013