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'Problem apartments' will be handed to municipalities not government in future

Abandoned apartment block.
Abandoned apartment block. Source: Olev Kenk/ERR

The Ministry of Finance wants to change the law to stop problem apartments from being given to the state in the future and instead redirect them to municipalities.

Over the last six years, 450 apartments have come under state management, handed over by municipalities and apartment associations. Only 100 have been sold.

Currently, the state owns almost 300 apartments across Estonia, the vast majority of them in Kohtla-Järve in Ida-Viru County. Last year management costs totaled almost €250,000. 

Now the Ministry of Finance wants to change the Property Law Act so that in the future apartments can only be transferred to municipalities.

"If these apartments were owned by the local authority, then it would be up to the local authority to decide which buildings should be demolished, and which should be to kept. As many of the apartment buildings in Ida-Viru County are currently half-empty they have a much better overview in terms of spatial planning," said Kaidi Rand, adviser for state assets of the Ministry of Finance.

The Kohtla-Järve city government plans to demolish 13 abandoned apartment blocks this year. There is little opposition to the state's plan.

"Of course, this is not good news for our local government officials in the sense that there will be more work. But on the other hand, we would also like to thank the state in the sense that, thanks to state support and state money, we have been able to demolish several problematic houses, and if they continue to help us, we should be able to help," said the mayor of Kohtla-Järve Henri Kaselo. "Perhaps in the future, we will have to look at what to do with these flats, whether they are to be used as municipal flats or as housing for companies that want to build factories here."

The ministry is negotiating with the Union of Cities and Municipalities to amend the Property Law Act and promises to give municipalities €3.6 million to cover expenses.

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Editor: Merili Nael, Helen Wright

Source: Aktuaalne kaamera

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