High, uncontrolled house rents in Azaz 

Markets in the city of Azaz in the northern countryside of Aleppo - 6 May 2018 (Enab Baladi)

Markets in the city of Azaz in the northern countryside of Aleppo - 6 May 2018 (Enab Baladi)

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Enab Baladi – Azaz

Residential apartment rentals in Azaz, the northern countryside of Aleppo, have seen unprecedented rises, placing an additional burden on residents of the area, especially displaced persons and university students.

The city of Azaz is one of the most prominent cities with a frequent increase in its population in the countryside of Aleppo, with a steady influx of university students at the beginning of each academic year, and amid continued displacement from neighboring cities and towns due to bombardments and ongoing security tensions.

Residential real estate owners are jacking up prices

Residential property owners in Azaz are seeking to take advantage of the increased demand for apartment rentals, taking advantage of students’ and displaced persons’ great need for homes in the region.

Landlords justify raising rent by the deteriorating living conditions and their inability to keep pace with price hikes.

Mohammad al-Rifai, 40, a landlord from Azaz, told Enab Baladi that the reason for the rise in rents is due to the excessive demand in the region.

Al-Rifai considered that renting one apartment for 125 US dollars per month is “very reasonable” compared to the price and costs of building the apartment and the ongoing repairs that follow as a result of the tenant’s accommodation.

The average selling price of an apartment in Azaz is about 20,000 US dollars.

The average monthly rent for one room in the area is about 50 US dollars. The monthly rent for the house ranges between (75 and 150 US dollars), depending on its size, location, and proximity to the city center.

Impossible” terms

Amid the difficulty of finding a home for rent by individual search, real estate offices have spread in the area.

The owners of real estate offices enter the brokerage between the lessor and the lessee in exchange for a commission paid by the lessee. The value of the commission increases with the increase in the rent value, according to what Abu Muhammad al-Taher, 56, owner of a real estate office in Azaz, had told Enab Baladi.

The landlord currently requires the tenant to pay an advance of the monthly rent of three months-worth or more, as the real estate office owner explained that this has become a prerequisite for the landlord to be included in the terms of the contract that would be signed by both parties.

Malik al-Khatib, 47, a displaced person from Maarat al-Numan in Idlib countryside residing in Azaz, told Enab Baladi that real estate offices impose a three-month payment in advance (about 300 US dollars), which he considered an “unjust” condition especially given the difficult living conditions of the residents of the area.

Group rental to split the rent

High home rents and students’ inability to afford it pushed them to the group rental option as a way to reduce and share the fare.

Tawfiq Hamidi, 21, a dental student at the University of Aleppo, told Enab Baladi that he was no longer able to rent a house on his own after looking at the prices, which forced him to sign up with ten other students to rent a shared house.

Hamidi explained that the number of residents of the house left a clear impact on the nature of his life and his study due to the constant noise, which resulted in a lack of psychological comfort and concentration.

The student added that rent is cheaper in places far from the city center but that it was a “difficult” decision to make because of the accompanying physical exhaustion caused by the trouble and difficulty of transportation, as well as the cost.

According to what Enab Baladi observed, high rents, difficult living conditions, and university costs have pushed some students to seek a job after classes to secure those expenses, while some have dropped out for financial reasons.

No rent control

The cost of home rentals in Azaz was accompanied by a complete absence of oversight by local councils in the area.

According to several cross-sources in the region interviewed by Enab Baladi, including employees of the media office of the Azaz Local Council, there is no party or person responsible for controlling, regulating, or imposing conditions on the real estate sector.

Azaz is a destination for tenants for several reasons, most notably the existence of colleges of the Free Aleppo University and the fact that it is relatively distant from shelling and military operations.

 

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