Shops to be bought by tenants

“This could be a business revolution: The operators of shops and restaurants in the center of Warsaw will be able to buy the premises they occupy without having to put them out to open bidding.

For years Warsaw entrepreneurs have been urging city authorities to allow them to purchase their rented shops.
They said that without privatization there could be no long-term investments, renovations and development plans.
“”We are extremely eager to buy the rooms,”” said Piotr Wojcicki, the deputy chief of the Warsaw Chamber of Entrepreneurs. “”We just have to have them as our own. That is the only way for the business to go well.””

On Nov. 21, the entrepreneurs achieved their first major success. The city council decided to allow the purchase of rented premises after three instead of five years of tenancy.
However, the new regulations do not include rooms in buildings listed in the Register of Historic Monuments or property having an unclear legal status.

That means the new rules affect only 3,500 out of 10,000 businesses. Still, the shop operators appreciate the improvements in purchase procedures. They no longer have to seek approval of the district authorities, various offices at city hall and even the president of Warsaw. Now the entire process will fall under the authority of the district.
The complex procedures formerly extended the purchasing process to more than a year.

During such a long period the value of a given enterprise might change and by the end of that time it might need re-evaluation.
All this bureaucracy and paperwork resulted in only one place being sold to its tenant in 2005. Yet the new regulations, which are to take effect this month, also face opposition.

“”If the city sells the commercial premises to their tenants, it means some of them will never be returned to their rightful owners,”” said Ewa Latoszek of the Warsaw Residents’ Society (Warszawiak). “”This is nothing short of a robbery,”” she said, referring to the thousands of people who were deprived of their property after World War II by a decree issued by the Communist regime of President Boleslaw Bierut.

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