Rental regulation law: A survey [Archives:2006/957/Business & Economy]

June 22 2006

The Parliament has recently approved Law No. 22/2006 that will regulate the relationship between tenants and landlords, as well as other aspects related to any rental agreement. The law includes eight chapters dealing with rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords, details of a rental agreement, ownership rights of property, rental of furnished property, and the termination of rental agreement among others. The Yemen Times asked people on the streets about their rental-related problems, their impression of the new law, and how the new law might solve their problems.

Nabila, 31, school teacher: Our need for such a law is very critical. Landlords take advantage of the demand for housing and raise the rent time and again, and we can't do anything about it as it is his property. The new law should clarify how we deal with such greedy landlords.

Yasser, 24, university student: We have plenty of laws that aren't enforced. What's the point of a law that isn't enforced or can't be enforced, especially as owners of property are usually influential people?

AbdulJalil, 49, plumber: Our problem is ignorance. Even if the government makes laws and regulations, most tenants do not know about such laws or how to bring about justice in case their landlords are greedy people or trouble makers.

Latifa, homemaker: We have been renting part of our house for over ten years. More recently, people are becoming more unable to pay their rents on time and always come up with excuses not to pay the rent for two or three months. We depend on that money for our own livelihood and are unable to deal with such tenants who refuse to pay or can't pay on time.

Mohammed Ali, 72, retired: The Relationship between tenants and landlords used to be that of neighbors and friends. Now, everyone wants to eat a bite out of each other. The tenants try to take advantage of the landlord if the landlord is a patient person and the landlord tries to increase the rent if he finds another tenant willing to pay more.

KhairAldin, 28, expatriate: Renting is luck. You can be lucky and have a nice landlord and rent a functional house or apartment in good condition, or you can be unlucky and rent from a shark, having to live in house that is falling apart, and suffering mental and financial stress through repairing and fixing.

Ayman, lawyer, 43: Most of the problems we face in rental agreements is the non-respect for the law, even if the law indicates that rental should not exceed a specified sum. You find landlords reacting negatively and refusing to abide, saying its my property and I will rent it for the price I want, provided someone else is willing to pay that sum due to demand for property. So, the rental laws can be of no use.

AbdulRab, 32, mechanic: The solution for these problems requires that the government build residential cities to supply the demand for rental property. People come to the cities from villages looking for jobs and a better life and they must look for housing. With the limited supply of housing available, one has to put up with the hassle of landlords regardless of what the laws say.

Hussain, real estate agent: The problem is mutual. Landlords try to protect themselves from tenants by keeping an eye on what they do, while keeping the second eye on the current rents to make sure that they aren't paid less than market prices. Meanwhile, tenants always look for landlords who are willing to wait extra days for the rent, and want a very good deal and a long rental contract with minimum guarantees on their part. Both parties are being unreasonable. The landlord wants a high return on his investment, while a tenant wants a free ride. Rental prices are controlled by supply and demand, not by laws.