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Flipping for breakfast. "TVP should be ashamed"

Flipping for breakfast. "TVP should be ashamed"

Image source: © Elżbieta Liberda / Instagram
Marta Grzeszczuk,
30.01.2024 11:15

Elżbieta Liberda's comments on the TVP morning show have caused controversy on social media, particularly her remarks about evicting tenants from their flats.

Legal adviser and investor Elżbieta Liberda appeared on the TVP’s (i.e. Poland’s public service broadcaster) "Pytanie na Śniadanie" morning show on 28 January. During the interview, she made controversial remarks about property flipping and evicting tenants, which received criticism from many commentators. As a result, internet users expressed their outrage about such an interview being broadcast on public television.

TVP endorsed "cleaners of tenancy houses"?

An excerpt from the programme was shared on X by, among others, the Miasto jest Nasze organisation. "In the era of the housing crisis, it’s unbelievable such a person is invited to a morning show on public television. We didn't know that TVP wanted a renaissance of wild reprivatisation," Miasto jest Nasze commented.

During the interview, Liberda discussed making money through "property flipping." She explained that sophisticated investors purchase shares in flats or buildings with complicated legal status, are in debt, or have tenants. According to her, these properties are less expensive, as they require some "cleaning up." She added that by regulating the legal status, investors create a "product" that can be sold.

Social activist Filip Michnik commented on this part of the interview on X. He gave an example of a landlord in Warsaw who purchased a 1/80 share in a flat and demanded 100,000 zlotys from the tenant for paying rents below the market value. When the tenant refused to pay, the landlord filed for eviction. Michnik questioned if Liberda meant this when she mentioned "cleaning up".

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What is property flipping?

"Flipping" means making money from the property trade by buying cheaply and selling more expensively. As one person commenting on X noted, "property flipping" is the same thing as "cleaning up apartments from its tenants" but with a "shorter, cooler name".

The journalist Patryk Słowik from wp.pl wrote on X that he has been covering the reprivatisation of Warsaw for several years. He spoke to people who were thrown out of their flats in their old age, threatened, and forced out of their tenements to allow for their sale. Słowik criticised TVP for promoting "property flipping, " saying they should be ashamed of themselves.

In another post, Słowik elaborated more bluntly, stating that instead of using euphemisms like "cleaning up" and "regularising", Liberda should have explicitly stated that it all comes up to evicting long-time tenants, for example, by cutting off their utilities or bricking up doors and windows.

During the "Pytanie na Śniadanie" interview, many people were also surprised by the lack of reaction from the show's co-host, Katarzyna Dowbor. She only responded to Liberda’s description of her work with a polite nod and a smile.

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