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Social Housing in Europe


Brussels, 24 February 2010 | Published in Research

What is social housing?

Social housing in Bulgaria consists of municipally owned dwellings let to particularly needy people, and represents about 3% of the total housing stock in the country. Housing policies include also measures supporting households with utility payment, meant for both - the rental and owner occupied sector, covered by state budget as well as assistance to homeowners through subsidies for purchase and renovation of dwellings.

Who provides social housing?

The Ministry of Regional Development and Public works is responsible for housing policy at national level. Municipalities own and manage the public rental stock, which is diminishing progressively. The framework document regulating housing policy in Bulgaria is the National Housing Strategy adopted by the Council of Ministers in 2005.

How is social housing financed?

The state has withdrawn from funding housing provision, which is now a responsibility of municipalities which suffer from a chronic shortage of funds. They have very limited possibilities to maintain their existing stock, and there has been no investment in the construction of new public housing for almost two decades. Furthermore, municipalities have been selling the existing stock with sale to sitting tenants being allowed, according to administrative procedure.

Who can access social housing?

Municipalities allocate available dwellings on the basis of waiting lists. Criteria for the application for public housing include that applicants do not own real estate, have not made transactions with properties, have had a permanent address registration in the settlement for the last five years, do not have bank deposits and other properties, and 25% of their annual income cannot cover any rent on the free market. The allocation process is targeted at households with special needs: orphans, disabled, chronically ill, elderly and single parents. Tenants in “resituated” dwellings have priority.