Rising house rents exhaust poor and middle-income residents in Qamishli
Al-Hasakah – Majd al-Salem
The rise in monthly house rents in the cities of al-Hasakah and Qamishli, northeastern Syria, has placed great burdens on the people.
Prices have become beyond the ability of many people to bear, which increases the difficulties of living for many families amid the challenges of securing decent housing.
Poor control over rising rents reinforces this problem, as offers and demands for housing are not subject to clear regulation.
This has allowed real estate owners to impose high prices without taking into account the economic conditions of citizens, which affects the poor and middle classes of society in particular.
According to what Enab Baladi monitored through a number of owners of real estate offices in the area, the deterioration of the value of the Syrian pound against the dollar prompted most homeowners to demand rent in dollars, while there was a “good” percentage of landlords who previously accepted the Syrian currency.
Alwan al-Hussein, 46, an employee of a private company with a salary of no more than 600,000 Syrian pounds, told Enab Baladi that three weeks ago, when the owner of his house told him to raise his monthly rent from $50 to $100, he spent hours holding his mobile phone looking at local social media pages that publish advertisements for the sale, mortgage, and rent of homes in the cities of Qamishli, al-Hasakah, and other cities in al-Hasakah governorate.
Al-Hussein, a father of four children, explained that his house, which he rents, is “not worth” paying $100 a month.
“Every month you go to buy dollars, you need 1,200,000 Syrian pounds to buy $100 and hand them over to the owner of the house, and this is exactly twice my salary,” al-Hussein complains, adding, “How can I spend on my family, the situation is crazy and unbearable, there are the subscription fees for ampere generators and other emergency medical expenses.”
The employee added that most of the residents of the area suffer from the same problem, as salaries are in pounds, while they have to pay for their needs in dollars.
($1=13200 SYP) according to the S-P Today website, which covers the trading rate of the Syrian pound to the dollar.
Wael Obaid, 32, asked many real estate offices in the city about a house for rent at a price that suits his “very limited” income, but to no avail.
All the offered homes were priced at $100 per month, which forced him to resort to local groups through social media to write his request asking for help and sympathy to find a house to live with his family of two children at a “reasonable” monthly fee.
Obaid works in a building materials warehouse in Qamishli and receives a weekly wage of 150,000 Syrian pounds, which he strives to distribute to the family’s “endless” expenses of food, housing, and medical care. With the collapse of the value of the Syrian pound, the actual value of his salary is eroding on a daily basis, and this increases the difficulty of his daily life, as he put it.
He told Enab Baladi that he was threatened with losing his home, as he could no longer afford the exorbitant rent costs, which forced him to search for a house in the extremist and slum neighborhoods as an alternative solution.
However, this option comes with other sacrifices related to safety and living conditions due to the lack of adequate infrastructure, such as water, electricity, and sanitation in those areas, in addition to the significant vulnerability of homes in remote neighborhoods to theft.
In February 2021, the Executive Council of the cities of al-Hasakah and Qamishli and their countryside, affiliated to the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), determined the prices of house rents in the region and accordingly regulated the leasing process.
The decision determined house rents with equipment of various specifications, at amounts ranging between 10,000 and 150,000 Syrian pounds, without adjusting these prices since that time, despite the significant changes that occurred in the value of the Syrian pound.
The lease contract form issued by the Union of Associations in northeastern Syria is linked to the documentation process.
The decision requires the registration of all information about the rented real estate in the region and imposes fines on violators with the termination of violating contracts.
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