Rental housing construction project: an attempt to revise society’s views on property
Rental housing construction will become a part of the projected 6.5 million square meters’ construction in 2013. If successful, this project will substantially re-format the country’s lease market and might change the population’s attitude to property ownership as a mandatory attribute of success.
On September 11th, 2012 during the presentation of the economic performance in 2012 report, the lack of accessibility of rented accommodation for needy citizens was raised.
At the end of 2011, private housing made up 86.7% of the overall country’s housing. Many new apartments built as social housing are rented out and used as a source of additional income. There are numerous manipulations with the housing construction using soft and concessional loans. At the same time, a civilized long-term lease market is virtually nonexistent. The housing shortage is not disappearing.
One of the solutions for this housing problem is‘rental housing’ construction. By 2015 3000 rental apartments are projected to be built in Minsk. The project will be funded from the budget, via issuing Minsk City Executive Committee bonds (approximately BYR 1 trillion) and from other sources.
Benefits from the project are clear and it could have been implemented a long time ago. As a result the lease market will get a major new player who could reduce the rental costs and will make the relations between the tenant and the landlord civilized, instead of the chaos that exists at the moment. Long-term lease contracts will become a pledge of confidence for tenants and will be a good example to other landlords. The state, even using the financial resources at preferential rates, will eventually get back indexed rent, which, unlike soft loans, will not be ‘lost’ during the devaluation.
Property ownership, with the introduction of long-term lease, will cease to be a goal in itself and the population will redistribute its savings accumulated for property acquisition to invest in other assets and on current consumption. The long-term lease will help to resolve the internal labour migration issue, and labour mobility will be greatly enhanced.
Therefore, despite some shortcomings, i.e. additional emission credits, the rental housing construction project will have long-term positive effects and will start changing people’s attitude from needing to purchase property to using the benefits of the long-term lease.
During searches of social and "green" activists and anarchists, law enforcement has seized computers, mobile phones and publications. The authorities have also exerted additional pressure on supporters of unauthorized street protests and independent lawyers, who represented defendants in the White Legion case. The security services have stepped up the persecution of opponents before the street protests announced by the opposition. Apparently, the Belarusian authorities aspire that participants in street protests would reduce in number and that the low interest of the population to socio-political agenda before the local election campaign would retain.