The state can play its role

El Nabatieh Governorate leads the way in proposing fair rent

As of February 20, 2024, nearly 90,000 people have been displaced from their homes in Lebanon due to Israeli attacks. The International Organization for Migration estimates that around 15% of them have resorted to renting apartments in safer areas as a temporary solution. However, the areas the displaced resorted to, have seen a surge in rent prices, in a clear exploitation of the crisis by landlords, real estate companies, and brokers. In an unprecedented move, the head of El Nabatieh Governorate, Houwayda Al Turk, issued a circular on October 20, 2023, to the governors and municipalities within the governorate. The circular calls on them to “address the issue of exploitation by owners of residential units and adopt an exceptional measure to determine a fair price for the temporary rental of displaced persons, activating the role of the municipal police to enforce it.”

This circular represents a form of rent control and an important practical measure to protect the displaced from exploitation, specifically by preventing them from being charged excessively high rents in the hosting towns. Under this circular, all municipalities in El Nabatieh Governorate are supposed to monitor the rent fees charged by landlords of residential units so that they do not exceed a maximum limit. However, it is unclear whether the circular has been effectively implemented on the ground. This step should not be limited to El Nabatieh Governorate; it should be extended to all Lebanese governorates, especially those that host the most displaced, such as the governorates of the South, Mount Lebanon, and Beirut. The state can also build on this step to work on setting controls on rents at the national level.

Housing Land Management and Planning El-Nabatieh Governorate Lebanon