Damascus: Hike in house rents amid absence of government control
Enab Baladi – Damascus
The suffering of residents of Damascus or those wishing to live in it is increasing due to an unprecedented rise in house rents, in light of a parallel rise in real estate prices in a number of areas, coinciding with the deterioration of the living situation associated with low wages and the daily rise in the prices of basic commodities.
House rents in Damascus have doubled due to many factors, including the high demand for them, due to the population density with the displacement from destroyed or no longer habitable areas, in addition to the high real estate prices resulting from the high prices of building materials, according to what Enab Baladi monitored.
Damascus-based Siham, 55, told Enab Baladi that she owns two houses in the Yarmouk camp area south of the capital, but she is unable to benefit from this “treasure” after all the people of the area were displaced after the fighting reached it at the end of 2012.
Siham has been moving for ten years in the homes of the neighborhoods of Damascus. During this period, she lived in more than six apartments that she rented, and she always had to leave the house after the homeowners demanded double numbers when renewing the lease contract for a second year.
Siham lives with a son and a daughter, and the small family lives on an “unstable” income per month, and it changes according to working conditions since their only source of income is her son working in paint and decorating workshops, a field that does not require a stable income every month, as it depends on certain seasons.
About six months ago, Siham was forced to make her decision, which has become semi-annual, to move from a house she rented for 250,000 Syrian pounds per month in the Qudsaya area to a house with less space, the rent of which is paid monthly at 150,000 Syrian pounds in the same area (1 USD is trading for 3,950 Syrian pounds).
Siham did not rule out that she would also have to look for a new house after the expiration of her contract because she could not pay more than this amount for the rent of the house, she said.
Rents may reach 1.5 million pounds
One of the owners of real estate offices in the Dummar area of Damascus told Enab Baladi that the cost of renting houses is rising with the increase in its selling price.
“The rise in rents is mainly associated with the rise in real estate prices, in addition to the ownership contract of the house and its area as well,” he adds.
The real estate agent explained that most owners of rental properties depend on the real estate price index to determine the monthly rent value.
The suburbs of Kafr Sousa, al-Maliki, and Abu Rummaneh are among the most expensive areas in terms of house rents, as rents for some houses can reach 1.5 million Syrian pounds per month.
Most of those who live in rented houses in Damascus share the same suffering, as Siham sometimes has to choose a house far from her place of work for hours in order to get cheaper rent, while rents in various other areas range between 150,000 and 250,000 Syrian pounds.
One of the reasons for the rise in prices is the Syrian regime’s failure to impose any kind of control over the rents of houses, which secures the right of the tenants to object if the rent value is not suitable for the house, its area and location.
Lease contracts in Syria are subject to Law No. 6 of 2001, the most important of which is that the “contract is the law of the contracting parties,” which makes the two parties (the lessee and the lessor) agree on a certain period for the contract, after its expiration, the lessee should hand over the property to its owner, and in the event of his refusal, he is obligated to get out of the property by force of the judiciary.
The state-run Tishreen newspaper reported on 3 July 2020 that house rents had increased by more than 75 percent in Damascus amid record numbers ranging between 200,000 and 300,000 Syrian pounds.
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