The pilot project for state-owned rental housing is moving forward as the municipalities of Muhu, Türi, Lääne-Nigula, Valga and Saue received financial support from Kredex for the construction of rental apartment buildings in cooperation with the local governments by the end of next year.
The state has allocated a total of €2.85 million to the five local governments for the construction or renovation of a state-owned rental apartment building; each municipality was responsible for providing half of the necessary funding themselves.
Many of these five municipalities will prioritize providing housing for teachers, officials and nurses, however some will focus on private sector employees as well.
Türi to give preference to teachers
Järva County's Türi Municipality is to spend €830,000 on renovating a Soviet-era dormitory whose apartments will be rented out primarily to public sector employees. The municipality intends to work out a list of priority tenants, however it has already decided that priority will definitely be given to teachers.
"Clearly preferred will be renting out the apartments to teachers, but doctors and nurses are welcome as well," Türi Municipal Mayor Pipi-Liis Siemann (IRL) told ERR. "In the future, [Türi] will see state jobs being moved out of Tallinn as well; we will be able to offer them short-term rentals as well."
30 state jobs are expected to be moved to Türi.
Valga in need of high school housing
The town of Valga is planning on renovating a building under heritage conservation status for €1.3 million, whose ten or so studio and one-bedroom apartments will see mixed use. Some of the apartments will be managed by the local high school dormitory, while others will be rented out to those in need of rental apartments or given to employers to rent out.
According to Valga Municipal Mayor Margus Lepik (Reform), the municipal government will decide which tenants will be prioritized on a case-by-case basis, but among those with the greatest need are teachers, medical personnel and high school students from out of town.
Lääne-Nigula to build new building for private-sector tenants
Lääne County's Lääne-Nigula Municipality, meanwhile, intends to build an entirely new building. The planned 12-unit rental apartment building will be built in the village of Linnamäe and given over to private-sector employers.
"First and foremost we have planned apartments for private sector employees, employees in the Linnamäe area, but as Oru and Taebla schools aren't far away, then a couple of apartments might go to teachers as well," Lääne-Nigula Municipal Mayor Mikk Lõhmus (Center) told ERR.
Muhu to focus on returning residents, the elderly
Saare County's Muhu Municipality will spend €930,000 renovating a former care home in Liiva. The building currently includes eight apartments, to which another eight will be added as well. Renovations on the apartment building, which include mostly one-bedroom apartments, is expected to be completed by next fall.
Last year, the population of the Western Estonian island increased by 59, and Municipal Mayor Raido Liitmäe has told regional paper Saarte Hääl that it is difficult to predict how many more people would move there if there were enough apartments to offer everyone who wanted one.
"Among Muhu residents are those who have traveled the world and now want to return home," he said. "But it is impossible to say how many there are. Once the apartments are finished, I guess we'll see how many interested parties there are."
In addition to those returning to their native island, there are elderly people in Muhu who would like to move to Liiva but are not yet prepared to move to a care home. Businesses who want to provide housing for their employees are likewise interested in apartments on the island.
Saue: Investment not cost-effective, but necessary
According to Indrek Eensaar, Saue Municipality's director of development, Saue is to build a 20-unit apartment building with the help of the support granted by Kredex. The goal of the new building is to improve the accessibility of rental homes to the mobile workforce in a situation where practically no active rental market exists in the area.
"The rental building being planned for Saue Municipality is a nearly zero-energy building," Eensaar explained. "Our investments in housing are large and not cost-effective for us, but are essential for the competitive development of entrepreneurship and, with it, life outside of cities."
Tallinn, Tartu to be included in new round
Estonia's largest cities of Tallinn and Tartu are to be included in the next round of applications for the support measure, meaning they will also be eligible to apply for support for the construction of rental apartment buildings for disadvantaged groups, among others.
Estonia is to allocate a total of €20 million this year for the construction or renovation of rental apartment buildings. One local government can apply for a total of up to €2.5 million in support across all application rounds.
Editor: Aili Vahtla