Red Cross appeals to private landlords to rent empty houses
Luxembourg’s Red Cross charity has appealed to owners of vacant homes to make their properties available and save people from being forced onto the streets, as the organisation struggles to find space to meet a surge in demand.
All the apartments that the Red Cross rents out through its scheme are currently occupied, the charity's Nadine Conrady told public broadcaster 100Komma7 on Monday. The organisation simply has no space left to house the many people who are seeking help, Conrady added.
By partnering with the Red Cross, private landlords with empty properties could be matched with a tenant who can pay the rent in full, such as refugees who have received a residence permit in Luxembourg and are permitted to work.
Alternatively, the Red Cross is asking landlords to consider the gestion locative sociale scheme, in which the owner receives a tax break of 50% on net rental income by signing with a deal with an association or foundation. The landlord offers a reduced rent, while the Red Cross would guarantee the monthly payments and cover any other costs such as maintenance.
The Red Cross appeal comes amid an ongoing housing crisis in Luxembourg, driven by shortages and surging prices. The average cost of an apartment in the country more than doubled to over €660,000 in the decade to 2021, increasing at a rate of three times the growth in wages in the same period.
Under plans unveiled in October, new taxes are set to be levied on unoccupied properties and vacant land in Luxembourg, although ministers said it could be several years before the impact of the measures is felt.
The government came under growing pressure earlier this year to act after research showed the country's housing problem was further compounded by a small group of wealthy landowners who are sitting on large tracks of empty land that could be rapidly used to build new homes.
Growing numbers of people born and raised in Luxembourg are moving to neighbouring countries, as the prospect of ever owning a home in the Grand Duchy disappears from view for many.