Prague to discuss proposal to identify vacant housing units, tax owners

The Prague City Hall coalition will meet on Friday to discuss a controversial proposal to collect anonymous data from electricity meters to identify vacant housing units.

Mayor Zdeněk Hřib said the Pirate Party is considering levying additional taxes on unoccupied apartments. In part, the aim is to give speculative property buyers an incentive to rent out flats rather than leaving them empty until sold.

Coalition partner TOP 09 in particular is against what it sees as any interference with the rights of owners to use their private property as they see fit.

However, given the housing shortage in Prague, Deputy Mayor Petr Hlaváček of TOP 09 said that if the city found that a significant percentage of apartments were vacant, the coalition would have to decide what to do about it.

Imposing such a tax on vacant units would require parliamentary approval.

Author: Brian Kenety