In the first few months of the year, KredEx will relaunch its aid program for housing cooperatives. Cooperatives that have completed preparatory work are eligible to apply for additional renovation subsidy.
Using KredEx money, a number of housing cooperatives have already renovated their houses. By 2016, two of the residences whose renovation projects Elis Vahemets manages had established cooperatives, but their renovation funds were being spent on minor repairs and could not be saved for larger projects.
Thus, KredEx came into the picture. Two more cooperatives were taken on board and things got started.
"KredEx subsidized the complete renovation in our area by 50 percent, i.e. 50 percent of the construction expenses. While our renovation cost 1.2 million per house, half of the amount we received from KredEx," Vahemets said.
To achieve this, he continued, a bank loan had to be secured and a great deal of promotion was undertaken to get cooperative members' agreement.
The preparatory work has consumed a full year.
"We want to do now what we did not manage last time. Replace the heating system, renovate the plumbing and ventilation, and install a small solar park to make our lives more economical and comfortable," Annika Isand, member of the management board of a housing cooperative, said.
No candidate for KredEx support has succeeded without a bank loan.
"If the housing association has clearly planned the project from the start, incorporating specialists, consultants, and the bank from the start, a solution that satisfies all parties is usually reached. However, this also requires that the general meeting of the housing association confirms the loan decision," Andres Angerjärv, client relationship manager at SEB Bank, said.
There are many apartment buildings in need of renovation in Estonia.
"Presently, there are approximately 14,000 apartment buildings. With the assistance of KredEx subsidies, around 100 to 150 buildings are renovated annually. This means that the work will continue for almost a 100 years. That's why it's important that we give more information to people," Merle Einola, a Kredex consultant for housing associations, said.
Editor: Kristina Kersa