Lebanon Businessnews News

Rent subsidy fund
finally gets decree
Formulation of committees is last step

towards full application of rent law

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The Ministry of Finance (MoF) issued a decree that establishes a fund to subsidize tenants under the old rent law who are unable to pay the fair value of their leases. The decree also explains the fund’s mode of operations.

The fund subsidizes tenants on old rent by paying the difference between the old and new (fair) rent.

The decree still needs the signature of the President and Prime Minister.

According to the 2017 budget, $20 million will be allocated to the fund. “We expect these allocations to reach $93 million for 2018,” said Joseph Zoughaib, Head of the Syndicate of Owners of Leased Buildings.

The new rent law, which went into force in 2014, is only one step from full implementation. This step is the establishment of committees that will look into the social status and the value of rent of tenants. They will decide who can benefit from the fund and by how much.

Around 20 committees will be formed to process the requests of tenants who need financial assistance. They will be chaired by retired judges with the membership of representatives of the Ministry of Social Affairs and MoF.

There are controversial estimates about the number of people who can benefit from the fund. This is due to the absence of consensus between stakeholders on statistics related to the number of rented properties governed by the pre-1992 law. Owners and tenants have each come up with their own estimations.

The number of beneficiaries was widened when the new rent law was modified last year, allowing those whose income is five times the minimum wage to seek the fund’s assistance.

The fund will, as a result, help households whose combined monthly income is at least $2,250.

The fund will be financed by built-property tax, municipal tax, and income tax.

“This is a step in the right direction. We are looking forward towards the issuance of decrees to form the committees,” said Zoughaib.
Reported by Yassmine Alieh
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Date Posted: Mar 02, 2018