Appeal to the Romanian State Authorities
and International Organizations:
Increased Risk of Eviction in Pata Rât of Cluj-Napoca!
The current situation
More than 10 years have passed since the eviction of 76 Roma families from Coastei Street in Cluj-Napoca and their forced relocation near the city`s waste dump in Pata Rât. The children of that time, now adults with their own children, are at risk of being evicted for the second time, this time from the so-called modular houses in Pata Rât. Hoping to move from there to a home in the city, because they were born and they work in this city, they have applied for social housing year after year. Now they face the risk of being evicted without receiving adequate alternative housing. After a decade spent near the landfill, several families are facing summonses from bailiffs who are willing to enforce the eviction order requested by the City Hall of Cluj-Napoca through Mayor Emil Boc.
These families do not want to live in Pata Rât: they have moved into the vacant rooms (so-called apartments) of modular houses because they could not move elsewhere and could no longer live in the 16 m² rooms with their parents, with their children, with their brothers. They entered the empty rooms out of need. What did the town hall do? They ordered their parents to remove these children from their leases, and applied the stigma of “abusive occupant” or “untitled occupant” to them. The city hall also required them to pay a monthly rent to the mayor`s office as a compensation because the space couldn’t be used and to free these spaces.
All this is happening less than 1,000 meters from the toxic landfills in Pata Rât. All this is happening in the conditions in which the mayor`s office does not offer these families adequate alternative social housing in the city. The documents sent by the mayor`s office to the families, to the executors and to the court, are signed by an inspector responsible for the area, by the director of the Patrimony and Property Records Department Iulia Ardeuș, by the head of the Space and Land Administration Service Raluca Ferezan and by the mayor Emil Boc. Currently, four families are in this situation. Although the National Council for Combating Discrimination deliberated in 2011 that the relocation of families from Coastei Street to Pata Rât was an act of discrimination by the City Hall (see CNCD Decision no. 441 / 15.11.2011).
On 30 June 2021, Sz.M.-D, her husband and their two children received an eviction summons from the bailiff Oszoczki Andras, notifying them that in 8 days they will have to leave the apartment where they are currently living, otherwise they are removed by enforced execution with the help of public force. The family also received another summons by which the bailiff asked them to pay him 2,923.20 lei (€593) for the expenses of their forced eviction. The family was also called to go to the bailiff`s office within one day of receiving the notification and declare all their assets and income to him, to ensure that he would receive his reward for forcibly evicting them. The executor sent to all family members, including minor children, a separate envelope with all the documents of the case. The family up until to this point has been living in inadequate conditions in a toxic environment. From now on, both the parents and their children will become homeless with possible debts as a result of the eviction expenses to be paid to the bailiff.
On 3 February 2020, B.S.S. together with his partner and their child received a notification from the City Hall of Cluj-Napoca, in which they were informed that within five days they should hand over the housing unit they occupy without title, otherwise the mayor`s office will start the procedures for their eviction. A notification with similar content was also sent by the City Hall to the bailiff Câmpian Mihai Radu. On 2 June 2020, the whole family was summoned to court by Mayor Emil Boc to be evicted from the occupied room, to pay 146.63 lei representing the value of the lack of use for the period October 2019 - April 2020, as well as increases of 0.5% per day of debt until discharge. On 26 January 2021, the Cluj-Napoca Court of Law postponed the case of their eviction in order to introduce B.S.S.`s mother in the case and to force the latter to remove her son from her lease, because he “occupies without title another apartment” from the modular houses in Pata Rât.
On 24 June 2021, Sz.D. and his 3-year-old daughter, received a notification from the mayor`s office of Cluj-Napoca, according to which he and his daughter are in the records of the mayor`s office for abusively occupying an apartment in a modular house in Pata Rât. In October 2019, Sz.D. entered an empty room there, because, together with his wife and their child, he could no longer live with his parents in the rented room received from the town hall in 2010. However, he handed over the key of the occupied room to Gabriela Popiță, City Hall representative in the summer of 2020. Despite this, he continued to be harassed and stigmatized by the authorities.
Therefore, on 25th June 2021 Sz.D. submitted a request to the mayor`s office describing this situation, and asked the mayor`s office to remove him from its record and to give up classifying him as an “abusive occupant” of a state dwelling, thus restoring his right to be eligible for social housing. We mention here that this criterion does not appear as a criterion of ineligibility in the Housing Law 114/1996, it was only introduced as such locally.
On 24th November 2020, following the visit to the modular houses in Pata Rât, the area inspector from the mayor`s office, Popiță Gabriela found that Sz.D. had released the module in question, but she noticed that in another module another family lives without a title. On 27th November. 2020, V. L., G.M.L. and their two children received a notification from the City Hall of Cluj-Napoca, in which they were informed that within 5 days they have to hand over the housing unit they occupy without title, otherwise the mayor`s office will start the procedures for their eviction. This letter was also considered as a notification for evicting people occupying this unit in question. A notification with similar content was also sent to the bailiff company SCPEJ Cîmpian and Cîmpian. On 18th May 2021, the family was summoned to court by Mayor Emil Boc, who asked the court to order the eviction of the defendants. Besides, the family is forced to pay rent until the moment of eviction to compensate the mayor`s office for not being able to use its housing unit near the toxic waste dumps in Pata Rât.
About the context
In December 2010, the Cluj-Napoca City Hall evicted 76 families from Coastei Street, forcing them to move near the landfills in Pata Rât. Among them, 40 families received contracts in modular houses built by the mayor`s office in the area otherwise unsuitable for living. The City Hall representatives suggested the other families build barracks informally near the modular houses on the land that the city hall obtained as a result of an exchange and which it transformed from an industrial area into a residential one - even if it did not have the qualities of a housing area.
Housing activists have sounded alarm bells about the inhumane conditions of winter eviction and moving people to an area that has endangered not only their human dignity and rights, but also their health and lives. The latest warning was issued by them in June 2020 to the UN Special Rapporteur for Adequate Housing. The document “Humanitarian, ecological and housing crisis in Pata Rât of Cluj-Napoca” can be read on the website of Căși sociale ACUM!/ Social Housing NOW! movement.
More than a decade has passed since the eviction of Roma families from Coastei Street and their relocation to Pata Rât. The children of that time became adults, they started to have their own families and children. The 16 m² rooms that their parents rented in 2010 obviously became more and more unlivable due to the increase in the number of members of the tenant families. Between December 2010 and June 2021, only three families from the modular houses received social housing from the mayor`s office. Among them there is no young family of those who were minors during the 2010 evictions, and nor their parents had this chance.
Meanwhile, the City Hall and the Department of Social and Medical Assistance subordinated to the Local Council of Cluj-Napoca have not developed a system to prevent evictions that leave the evicted without adequate alternative housing. Meanwhile, the Romanian state did not outlaw forced evictions either, and suspended evictions only during the state of emergency in order to protect the bailiffs from Covid-19. The social housing policy has been and remains disastrous as well. In Cluj-Napoca, the percentage of social housing in the total housing stock is below 1% and in the last three years there have been distributed less than 10 social housing units per year, while yearly there were over 350 requests submitted to the City Hall.
Furthermore, the City Hall of Cluj-Napoca did not fulfill anything from its Development Strategy 2014-2020 in this regard: it did not build any social housing, and did not develop and implement a concrete relocation plan from the polluted and segregated environment of Pata Rât in social housing from the city. Through a project made from Norwegian funds (with a budget of 4 million euros), the Association for Intercommunity Development Cluj Metropolitan Area facilitated the relocation of 10% of the total population of Pata Rât, so 21 families from the modular houses were moved and left empty about 8 housing units. Some of the families who had no place to live in the area, moved to these empty spaces without having a contract with the City Hall in order not to have to live in barracks built without permission and because they were constrained by the lack of housing alternatives.
This happened in the conditions in which the local public administration is sued for forcibly moving the Coastei evicted people to Pata Rât in 2010 (the case is currently at the ECHR). Now, probably, they are becoming more cautious and don`t want to rent these housing units once called social housing for the Roma”. Of course, the living conditions continue to be unacceptable and dangerous there.The problem is that for so many years the mayor`s office has not provided people with adequate alternatives in other parts of the city, violating its legal obligations to ensure effective access to social housing for those with insufficient incomes for private rent in the city, and especially to those affected by marginalization and social exclusion.
We appeal to You to come to the aid of the above mentioned families and all families who may end up in similar situations in Pata Rât, requesting interventions that make them justice based on housing law, social legislation, children rights law and the law for the protection of people with disabilities, or based on the law of urbanism which has proposed since 2019 to adequately regulate the situation of people living in informal settlements, in case by offering them social housing as an alternative.
We urge You to notice the dates when the families from Pata Rât were sued by the mayor Emil Boc as a representative of the Municipality of Cluj-Napoca. He started to make these steps against people lacking adequate homes amidst a global pandemic. While the mayor declared that the city of Cluj leaves no one behind, he began court proceedings demanding the eviction of these people in need even from the housing units in Pata Rât, near the landfills. By this they are being transformed, together with their children, into homeless. He thoroughly prepared the second eviction of these people, as their first eviction was equally thoroughly planned in 2010 by Mayor Sorin Apostu, while in the meantime he did not take care that people in need of social housing have effective access to them. The instruments and mechanisms of these eviction procedures are implemented by the Patrimony and Property Evidence Directorate, while the Social and Medical Assistance Directorate subordinated to the Local Council of Cluj-Napoca does not provide adequate protection against forced evictions and housing deprivations to which low-income and socially excluded people and their children are exposed.
We draw Your attention to the fact that such inhuman and illegitimate steps, such as those of the Cluj City Hall, contribute to the aggravation of the social exclusion of people who a decade ago were thrown and segregated on the outskirts of Cluj, near the city`s landfills, and as well that they intergenerationally perpetuate Roma stigmatization and racialization. Also, these steps contradict the political commitments assumed by the Romanian state in combating poverty and social marginalization, and countering anti-gypsyism, as well as in the field of inclusion of the Romanian citizens with Roma ethnicity.
We urgently ask You to intervene at the Cluj-Napoca City Hall and personally at the Mayor Emil Boc, to convince him not to do another inhuman act against the Roma evicted once in 2010, to persuade him to stop their eviction from Pata Rât until he can provide them with a housing alternative, i.e., adequate social housing in the city. The situation is of great urgency, especially from the point of view of the family that received an eviction summons on 30th June 2021, with the major risk of being evicted by forced execution 8 days after receiving this summons.
Romanian version here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1B6dwP77I81uZX-SHHVDrq33CnrktgT5PLWoSaNi8R10/edit?ts=60dedd4e
Sign here: https://forms.gle/f1cHc9QQt34g2k5Z6
Photo: The garbage dump slum of Pata Rât, in the outskirts Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Most of the 1500 residents live off gathering recyclable materials from trash. Source: https://i.imgur.com/.
• Communication and dissemination
• Epidemics, diseases
• ESC rights
• Forced evictions
• Housing rights
• Local Governance
• Security of tenure