Paper/Speech Details of Conference Program for the 24th NISPAcee Annual Conference Program Overview VIII. Local Services and Infrastructure Author(s) Nadezhda Bobcheva Oborishte DIstrict (Part of Sofia Greater Municipality) Sofia Bulgaria Title Management of Municipal Housing Stock in Bulgaria: Ten Years of Experience 2005 - 2015 File Paper files are available only for conference participants, please login first. Presenter Nadezhda Bobcheva Abstract During the communist era, housing policy was carried out by the central government from the initial to the implementation stages, including maintenance of the housing units. But most state-built dwellings during the communist era were created as a private ownership tenure being sold rather than rented. Only the shell of the dwelling was built, leaving the owners to complete them from their own resources, and maintenance was basically an individual responsibility. Consequently, standards or repair and maintenance were very low. After the changes in 90`s this situation changed to worse and the housing stock has deteriorated. Bulgarian municipalities execute their social housing policy using the publicly owned housing stock but the share of the publicly owned is insignificant. However, housing stock continues to suffer from its “socialist disease” – inadequate maintenance and repair. Various problems have precluded and continue to preclude the possibility to maintain at proper level properties owned by Bulgarian municipalities. The major of them seems to be weak financial base. The wide-spread municipal practice is to undertake capital repairs and maintenance on ad hoc base when some funds have been pledged to such a task. Some local governments “solve” this problem by selling their real property and shifting the maintenance responsibilities to the new owner. Proper management and maintenance of municipal housing creates a quandary for municipal officials all over Bulgaria. On the one hand, matching maintenance costs to expenditures requires introduction of commercial practices in routine municipal work. On the other hand, local officials do not exercise direct control over the services and, they face difficulties in obtaining reliable information on the service quality and financial condition of potential commercial structure. This confronts Bulgarian local governments with a challenge of balancing between the required maintenance standard and reducing social cost of housing. The trend observed all over Bulgarian local governments is to dispose of municipal housing stock. Its share from all housing is relatively low – about 3%. It decreased severely in the recent years and the process continues. As a result, efficient models for management and maintenance are missing in the country. The overall objective of the research is to identify a financially sustainable model for management and maintenance of municipal housing stock in Bulgaria. The proposed research will provide insights into: • Strategy – to what extent the municipal housing management is linked to the strategic municipal development plan; • The importance of housing revenues to municipal budget – the percentage housing revenues in the total budget, rent collection performance and potential actions for increasing rent collection; • Property investment planning – the analysis aimed at minimising the financial effect of property investment on the local budget, while maximising the impact or returns of the investment in addressing the municipal need. • The feasibility of introducing a municipal maintenance standard – is there a need for a benchmark that orients municipal housing investment decision The paper will use as illustration about 20 Bulgarian municipalities that differ in size, population and the number of housing stock. One of the major tasks is to provide systematic data about operating and capital expense on municipal housing stock. Indeed, policy regarding investment in property maintenance and repair vary by municipality.