The housing sector has been more or less included in their programs by absolutely all parties running in the Riga City Council elections. In addition, the promises are ambitious. By meeting in the City Council, the parties will not only achieve the construction of new houses, but also obsolete houses will be restored.
The Ministry of Economics has been pointing out for years that there are too few apartments for rent in Latvia, but amendments to the law, which should be amended, have stuck in the Saeima. Several parties promise to put rental apartments as a priority in Riga’s housing policy. The goal is to keep new specialists and families in the capital. This does not mean that the municipality will build apartments for its own money.
“Sources can be different. One is private-public partnership projects. The other is simply not to disturb investors. We issue building permits twice as long as Vilnius and Tallinn. [..] Precise [dzīvokļu] I will not give a number today so that I do not lie or engage in populism. We will count, but there will definitely be such a policy, and we are already doing it in other municipalities of Pieriga, “said Edvards Smiltēns (Latvian Association of Regions), a candidate for deputy of the Riga City Council.
“Jaunā Vienotība” has included a specific figure in the program – 4,000 new apartments will be built in Riga, which are intended for rent directly.
“It will not cost Riga anything, because it is done with private funds. The rent payment covers this investment. Similar to Valmiera. There are already such rental houses there. [..] There are many construction companies in Latvia. By tender [būvēs tas], which will have the best offer, because the rental price also depends on the price per square meter, “noted Vilnis Ķirsis, the candidate for the position of the mayor of Riga (” Jaunā Vienotība “).
Otherwise, the New Conservative Party wants to keep families in Riga – under its leadership, the municipality will help buy a home. Similar to the state Altum guarantee program, the city also guarantees loans to residents, and therefore the down payment for the purchase of property does not exceed 5%.
The Riga Housing Department pointed out that currently the municipality does not provide assistance to housing buyers. However, the municipality has apartments to rent to those in difficulty.
Currently, almost 3,000 families are waiting in line, while there are about 1,200 people in line for an apartment in a social house, where only a symbolic fee has to be paid for their residence.
In the social house opened in Bolderāja this year, the place is offered to persons who have been waiting in line for seven years, but the municipality does not plan to build new social houses. The Party of Action promises to change this, as well as the “New Harmony”. It considers that the solution here too is a private-public partnership.
“Attracting private investors in construction. The municipality comes with its own land, then the private builds part of the house for sale and transfers part of the house to the municipality for social housing. This will solve the issue of financing,” stressed Jānis Kuzins, Riga City Council candidate .
Meanwhile, the Latvian Russian Union believes that social apartments could be installed in some currently demolished buildings. The party also promises to help tenants of denationalized houses by granting special municipal benefits when tenants leave the house.
“These are so-called exemption benefits. They have long been provided for by law, but the problem is that normally the state would pay half of this expenditure, but unfortunately this money does not appear in the state budget. [..] From next year, we plan to allocate money from the municipal budget starting from two million euros a year, “said Aleksandrs Kuzmins, a candidate for deputy of the Riga City Council (Latvian Russian Union).
The Center Party also promises to help the residents of denationalized houses in the program. But the most popular promise is to renovate existing homes. This is promised by 11 out of 15 lists. For the most part, though, promises are general. Only the party “Alternative” mentions a specific amount – for the renovation of houses will be 2 million euros per year, for which 55 houses will be renovated. The New Conservative Party promises to insulate 100 houses, but does not mention how much it will cost. “KPV LV” is relatively more down-to-earth in promises, which promises clarity to Rigans about how utility bills are formed.
On Friday, August 7, the Riga Property Department approved a new housing renovation program, and the next Riga City Council will have to decide how much money to allocate to it. The department emphasized that the law provides only in certain cases when privately owned houses and apartments can be renovated with the help of the local government – firstly, in order to reduce energy consumption, and secondly, to prevent danger to human health.
For a reason government decision to provoke the dismissal of the Riga City Council became a waste saga. Later council management agreed to convene three consecutive meetings of the council with the opposition political forces and not to ensure a quorum in them. After three failed council meetings, Riga City Council could be declared incapacitated and its dismissal decided. And in mid-February the Saeima supported, later the president promulgated a law on the dismissal of the council.
However, the elections had to be postponed due to Covid-19, and on April 16, the Saeima agreed to support the holding of the Riga City Council (RD) extraordinary elections as a matter of urgency. 29. in August.
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