Full text: Iceland 1930

crease in building expenses. The rent, however, went on soaring for 
some time yet, till it reached a level which made the construction of 
new dwellings completely economic, and this again has resulted in ex- 
tensive building activity. As, however, the population of Reykjavik has 
increased enormously since the outbreak of the war (it numbered 13000 
in 1913; 26000 in 1929) it will probably be long before the housing 
shortage there vanishes from the order of the day. 
As the housing shortage increased, the economic utilization of accom- 
modation became more and more imperative. Even outhouses and cellars, 
which had never been intended for human habitation, were changed into 
places of residence. All these dwellings were more or less unfit to live 
in, and the same may be said of some of the houses which were run up 
at the top of the market. For this reason an act was passed by Al- 
thingi in 1929, forbidding the utilization of cellars for human habita- 
tion in all towns and villages of 100 inhabitants and upwards, un- 
less they come up to a certain prescribed standard (e. g. the floor 
must not be more than 1 m. below the surface of the ground; all the 
rooms must face sunward; belween a street and the rooms facing it 
‘here must be a garden three metres broad af least; the rooms must 
not be damp). The cellars lived in when the act became operative may 
for the present be allowed as dwellings, though not fulfilling the above 
requirements. But every year the worst of these dwellings are gradu- 
ally to be weeded out and closed until they have all been abolished 
in the course of the next 20 years. 
To promote building operations in towns and villages, another act 
was passed in 1929, dealing with the housing of the working classes. 
Under this act building funds are to be established in such towns and 
villages as suffer most acutely from the housing shortage. Every fund 
so established enjoys an annual State subsidy of 1 kréna per every 
‘ndividual and an equal grant from the respective municipality or parish 
fund. These funds are permitted to raise loans guaranteed by the State 
and the respective municipality or parish funds. The ‘building funds then 
grant loans to building associations on cooperative principles, for the 
purpose of constructing dwellings for their members. The loans which 
are granted on 1. mortgage of the dwellings, may under special circum- 
stances amount to 85% of their value, and are redeemable in 42 
years (amortisation and interest 6 per cent.).

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