State employees’ salary not enough for house rent in Syria

The Seventh-Project district in the coastal Latakia city - February 2022 (The Seventh-Project-Spiro - Latakia /Facebook)

The Seventh-Project district in the coastal Latakia city - February 2022 (The Seventh-Project-Spiro - Latakia /Facebook)


“Old houses, the rent ranges from 100,000 to 150,000 Syrian pounds, and it ranges from a room and utilities to a room and a salon at this price,” Abu Yasser described the reality of house rents, as he recently moved to a new house after the old one ceased to fit his family of five.

The breadwinner spoke to Enab Baladi about the deteriorating condition of the previous house and its long exposure to dampness and mold, which could threaten disease, especially in the winter.

With the necessity to work in a governorate other than the one from which the person hails, Syrians in regime-controlled areas suffer from high house rents compared to the individual’s monthly income, which does not exceed the value of the house rent, or sometimes less.

The state employee, Abu Yasser, receives a monthly salary of 120,000 Syrian pounds (1 USD = 6,325 SYP), while his house rent is 200,000 pounds per month.

Abu Yasser would not have been able to pay the rent for his house had it not been for some aid he receives from relatives residing outside Syria, as his salary is not sufficient to pay the rent, not to mention the expenses of the house, children, schools and other necessary expenses.

The man says that any tenant will not be satisfied with the rent value, which may reach one million pounds, depending on the district or neighborhood.

In the central governorate of Hama, prices do not differ much and are greatly affected by the region’s nature. In the al-Qusour district, rents range between 200,000 and 400,000 Syrian pounds, depending on the area of the house, the cladding, and the level of public services in the neighborhood.

Wael, 30, who works in trade, pointed out that prices are linked to supply and demand, pointing out that they have risen recently due to the increased demand for housing in the city center of Hama and for moving from the countryside to it.

“Three rooms and a salon, with an area of ​​85 m2, and acceptable cladding suitable for living, the rent is on average 300,000 pounds, while the houses whose rent ranges between 100,000 and 150,000, are narrow in space, ranging between a room, a room, and a salon, and the sun does not enter it, and it may be an annex on the roof or part of an apartment that was divided into three or four apartments,” according to Wael.

Conflict of needs

The reality of high rents is also reflected in the Syrian capital, Damascus, where rents range between 100,000 and 400,000 pounds, and there are higher prices according to the nature of the region. Citizens with poor salaries are helpless in the face of basic requirements, the first and most urgent of which is house rent.

In 2022, 90% of Syrians lived below the poverty line, and at least 12 million Syrians out of an estimated remaining population of around 16 million were food insecure, according to the World Food Programme (WFP).

In February 2022, the government announced the exclusion of some 600,000 families from its subsidies program, which includes gas and heating fuels, bread, and other basic commodities such as flour and sugar. The move triggered protests in the southern governorate of As-Suwayda and public criticism online, according to the annual report of Human Rights Watch (HRW).

All of these data made no less than 14.6 million Syrians in need of assistance in 2022, an increase of 1.2 million people over 2021, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The most recent salary increase was approved in December 2021, according to a presidential decree, which included a 30% increase in the wages of workers and employees and a 25% increase in the salaries of civilian and military retirees.

On 28 December 2022, the wages and pensions of military personnel were set between 116 thousand and 292 thousand Syrian pounds, according to the gradation of military ranks, according to a presidential decree.


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