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Old Rent Law - Lebanon

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The current timeline provides details about the (unproductive) declarations of  Lebanese politicians who have been until now (lying or) unable to change the old rent law. This unconstitutional law, which is more than 70 year old, has direct repercussions on our heritage and leads to many socio-economic and environmental impacts.The main reasons behind the delays being an absence of a housing strategy, coupled to corruption and the self interests of politicians looking to get re-elected. On rare occasions the causes for this incapacity to change the law can be linked to honest yet powerless lawmakers. The whole burden of this law has been for decades imposed on old landrods who receive very symbolic income (e.g. in 2005 a minister paid 300$ per year for a 500m2 apt in Beirut) while paying very high taxes (e.g. centuries of rental income for inheritance tax) to a highly corrupt and incompetent government.

A few examples of impacts related to Lebanese old rent law are:

  • Old rent law is against the Lebanese constitution;
  • Old rent law hurts the government finances, we landlords can pay up to 15 times more in taxes if rent controls are lifted;
  • Old rent law hurts municipal finances because we landlords can pay up to 15 times more in taxes if rent controls are lifted;
  • Old rent law accelerates the destruction of heritage buildings;
  • Old rent law inflates the prices of real estate and apartments by up to 50%;
  • Old rent law causes rigidity in Lebanese economy;
  • Old rent law hurts the new tenants as they are led to pay higher rents;
  • Old rent law hurts severely the livelihoods of the landlords. This burden should be shared by the whole Lebanese society rather than just one category. It is not fair to them or their constitutional rights as stated by the preamble of the Lebanese constitution;
  • Old rent law is one of the drivers forcing Lebanese to leave the country as it becomes difficult to rent or to buy a property;
  • Old rent law encourages the impovrished Lebanese landlords to sell property to very rich foreigners often going beyond the established quotas of foreign ownership per district area;
  • Old rent law leads to poor maintenance of buildings hence more pressures on Lebanese natural resources, public utilities and other infrastructures (for example water leakages, extra municipal expenses to secure resources...);
  • Old rent law leads to poor maintenance of buildings, hence a bigger impact on the aesthetic condition of the city, turning it often into an unattractive space. This has a direct impact on tourism or also on the mental health, economic productivity, security and living conditions of people;
  • Old rent law causes an accelerated gentrification ( very rich people come and take over old buildings, changing the social structure).



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Old Rent Law - Lebanon
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