A big cash cow will be coming to Zagreb early next year, just after Christmas, when thousands of European diplomats and officials who need accommodation will arrive in the city for Croatia’s six-month EU Council presidency.
Up to 30,000 EU Officials Expected
According to Deutsche Welle, official sources are saying that about 25,000 people will descend on Zagreb in early 2020, while other estimates say that the figure will be closer to 30,000. Many won’t be staying in Croatia for the entire six months nor will they all be arriving at the same time. In any case, this is creating real chaos in the tenant world. Simply put, Zagreb landlords can earn more by expelling their current tenants and renting their apartments to EU officials.
Zagreb does not have many hotels. In fact, Jutarnji List notes that there are only 24 four or five-star hotels in the city, which is by no means enough capacity to accommodate the large number of high-level diplomats and EU officials arriving soon.
Zagreb Landlords Are Evicting Tenants
Stanka, a student from Zadar, experienced the nightmare of moving because of the upcoming EU Council presidency, according to Zagrebinfo on December 2, 2019. She had just moved to Zagreb to pursue her college degree.
“My landlady bought my apartment and acquired me with the inventory. During our negotiations, she indicated that she would be upgrading the furniture and raising the rent. She also disclosed that we would not be signing a lease because she had plans to rent the apartment to diplomats in early 2020 for a much higher price. However, then she decided to completely renovate the apartment prior to their arrival, so I had to move out in September,” the student reported, and claims she had less than a week to move everything out of an apartment where she had lived for only three months.
With the boom in Zagreb tourism over the last few years, a sizeable chunk of apartments which used to be rented monthly, are now being rented out to tourists by the day. This has greatly increased the average apartment rental rates.
“Of the approximately three and a half thousand who are officially registered, there are perhaps ten thousand available beds. And I believe that a large portion of this housing pool is ready to respond to the demands of the Eurobureaucrats,” said Zoran Dragun, administrator of the Zagreb Private Landlords Association to Jutarnji list.
He claims that Zagreb has now become a year-round tourist destination, but also believes that rents in Zagreb have not increased as much as publicly reported. The current focus for private landlords is Advent (December); then they’ll begin preparing for the big EU opportunity.
No Tenant Rights
Nedjeljko Marković, president of the Pragma social association, has a different opinion.
“The unpredictability of market movements is our biggest problem, because nobody in Croatia oversees these changes. We simply do not have any public housing policies,” he emphasized while referencing the unfortunate circumstances that many Zagreb tenants will soon face.
He claims that his sources from the association, which deal with tenant issues, have already received reports that scores of Zagreb tenants are facing eviction, and will soon be without a roof over their heads due to the arrival of EU bureaucrats and diplomats.
For more information on the housing situation in Croatia, check our our Lifestyle page here.