Debate pinpoints many flaws in housing bill
Tomaž Banovec from the Pensioners' Association noted the ruling coalition's commitment to raise budget funding for housing to 0.4% of GDP by the end of the term, or about EUR 200 million a year.
However, he said that no such increase could be traced in the budgets until 2022, nor was there any action plan on how to get to 10,000 new rental homes.
Banovec noted the potential of under-occupied flats as some households live in too large flats. Last year, out of 115,900 homes occupied by over 65-year-olds, 74,800 had only one occupant.
Franci Gerbec from the realtors' association FIABCI Slovenija, said the draft bill contained "too much improvisation" and a lack of financial cover for the measures planned therein.
He also argued that the systemic law should not contain what should be the substance of specific laws as for example a law stimulating housing construction.
The government should take a stock of how the housing programme is being implemented and make a national development plan with concrete targets and figures.
Similarly, Črtomir Remec, director of the national Housing Fund, argued it would be better to place guarantees for housing loans and other measures that required funds in a special law.
Neither Gerbec nor Remec are convinced that the new housing bill would provide a good enough leverage to secure the needed EUR 200 million from the budget.
Speaking for the Youth Council, Anja Fortuna described legislative measures as insufficient. What she finds missing are flexible solutions for non-urban areas and for youth and student housing.
The debate also explored ways to make empty housing available. Tax expert Dušan Jeraj expressed doubt that the government could make a significant impact on how many flats are rented out.
Since the government does not have proper measures to control the housing market, he suggested applying a carrot rather than a stick approach, such tax reliefs prompting owners to rent out their property.
Edo Pirkmajer from the Property Owners' Association noted that landowners faced "market terms when it comes creating a flat" while they were expected to charge as low as possible rents.
He said that legislation should allow them to cancel indefinite period tenancies and called for introducing an eviction order.
Simon Starček from FIABCI Slovenija said that 16,000 rental flats were needed in Ljubljana and about 30,000 in Slovenia by 2025.