Landlords ignoring tenants' rights, says union

Tenants here in the czech republic are too much at the mercy of landlords and utility providers - that's according to the union of tenants, who charge that housing laws in the czech republic are weak, and in some cases leave the occupant of flat without the basic provision of gas and electricity. Peter Smith discussed the issue with Ita Dungan.

Ita Dungan: So, Peter - are the landlords being cast as the bad guys here in the Czech Republic?

Peter Smith: The union of tenants believe gas and power plant companies are not respecting the law in many instances. Law officially stipulates that utilities must be provided, but in most cases in the cr, agreements go through the landlord, which complicates the matter. It can often leave the new tenant high and dry for many weeks waiting to be connected. When tenants in a flat change, gas companies and power plant companies call for the services for the flats to be decided and arranged by the owner of the building - not the tenant. Union charges this is against the law because gas and electricity, plus the equipment, is part of the basic provision of the flat and cannot be in any way conditioned by the decision of the landlord. Many tenants do not even have agreements with landlords over the provision of gas and electricity. It has been known for landlords not to decide to provide power and gas to the tenant's flat, and this is against the law.

ID: So what can be done to address this situation?

PS: They must be provided to the tenant without any regard to the landlord's opinion / decision. The union charges that contracts between the landlord and the tenant aren't open enough - they are too inclusive and binding. They say that if separate contracts between the tenant and the electricity and gas companies were the norm, the problem would not exist. Union cliams utility laws must be tightened and brought into line with european legislation. In europe, they say, the tenant has greater choice and legal protection European laws protect tenent by leaving the provision of untilities in the hands of the tenant, with effective legal redress if gas, electricity companies or the landlord fail in their obligations.

ID: Has there been any reaction from the government over this at all?

PS: Union of tenants have discussed the issue with the ministry of trade and industry and are awaiting the decision. The ministry refused to comment until they have analysed in detail the complaints of the union of tenants.

Authors: Ita Dungan , Peter Smith
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