The fourth legislative term of Egypt’s Parliament is expected to end in July, and the parliament is expected to reduce its session during the holy month of Ramadan, as the first ordinary plenary session will be held in the middle of the month, which would impact the main goal of parliament to conclude several bills before the end of the term.
Reducing the sessions will delay discussions of some bills of other laws that have been long awaited, including the old rent bill which concerns millions of citizens.
While some members of the housing committee are debating with the parliament’s administration to start discussing the law, unexpectedly the head of the housing committee, Alaa Wally, announced that the committee will begin discussing the old rents bill as soon as it receives the draft from the government.
This comes after the government sent the draft law of old rents on non-residential units and shops to the parliament, and the housing committee is expecting to receive the bill from parliament speaker, Ali Abdel Aal, and will directly start discussions in the coming days.
The government’s bill focuses only on non-residential purposes including commercial, administrative, or service rental for normal citizens.
Wally said in a press statement that the government’s draft law granted a period of four years for people who will rent non-residential units in order to reconcile with the old owner according to the new law, with an annual increase of 15%.
He also said that the rental value of non-residential units and shops will be calculated at five times of the current value. For example, “Whoever currently pays a rent of EGP 100 will pay EGP 500,” Wally clarified.
This would be implemented after the completion of the four year period, he noted.
Member of the housing committee, Ismail Nasr Al-Din, and member of the legislative and constitutional affairs committee, Abdel-Monem Al-Oleimi, are the ones who have previously attempted to amend the current old Rent Law, urging that the legislative relationship between the owner and the tenant is not regulated in the current law, along with 60 other members.
Both members have submitted a bill suggesting the regulation of the relationship between the property owner and the tenant, but none of their committees have approved discussing their drafts.
The members said that ignoring their committees’ bill violates internal parliament bylaws.
However, Al-Oleimi said that he is committed to the draft law on the old rent which he had submitted to the committee, as it includes regulating the relationship of owners and tenants on residential and non-residential units.
“Laws regulating the landlord-tenant relationship in Egypt have been a gross injustice to landlords since the mid-1960s,” said Al-Oleimi
“My draft amendment of the law proposes an annual 25% rise in rents for four years, after which the relationship will be governed by the civil code. This goes both in line with the constitution and helps landlords and tenants reach common ground at last,” said Al-Oleimi.
The member had submitted on Saturday a request to the general secretariat of the council to discuss the draft law, pointing out that the bill submitted by the government does not belong to the member, and he upholds his draft’s right to be discussed.
Moreover, Nasr Al-Din said that the draft law, which he has already submitted, aims to eliminate the dispute between the owner and the tenant, through the realisation of the rule of ‘no harm or damage,’ and suggested that it be applied in three stages, the first phase would be units concerning illegal entities, the second would be non-residential units commercial units, and finally the third would be residential units.
He said his draft not include expelling anyone case from his residential unit, stressing on the need to consider the law in general to be based on no harm or damage as the prevailing rule, and to work according to it.
In October, the parliament conducted several sessions to discuss the draft law of old rents in attendance of all concerned bodies during the past few days, where some media reports circulated that the bill is witnessing final discussions, however Wally denied these rumours.
During the sessions, the committee listened to opinions of tenants, property owners, and housing experts concerning the issue, as well as parliament members. The sessions aimed to address viewpoints of both sides to reach a suitable solution for all parties.
Some members submitted a number of proposals for draft laws on old rents, all of which were discussed, and some were found controversial and unsatisfactory.
The committee prepared a report on the outcome of the sessions and was expected to start drafting a new law in order to be ready for general discussions soon.
The current parliament is the first to discuss the law of old rents to regulate the relationship between owners and tenants which has witnessed several complications for long years under the current law.
Property owners and tenants are always in tense relations due to the constant value of the rent which has been determined for protracted years, even before issuing the new rent laws, which cannot be changed, as according to the current law, the old rent contracts cannot be changed or terminated.
The Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics said that there are 3m apartments under the old rent system, of which 1.2m are inhabited across the nation.
Landlords have long demanded that the law – originally issued in 1964 to regulate the relationship between tenants and landlords – be amended to change its articles which complicates rents.
The old Rent Law is considered one of the severe defects in the renting law in Egypt. Property owners complain about losing a lot of money as a result of being unable to change the rent value which was agreed and signed between owners and tenants many years ago and before issuing the new renting laws. As real estate prices hiked significantly, property owners claim that the old rent is no longer compatible with the current value of the rented property.
In 1996, the Egyptian government amended the law to state that rent in new buildings will not be frozen; however, the rule does not apply to buildings constructed prior to the amendments.
On May 5, the Egyptian Supreme Constitutional Court nullified a provision in a 1981 law concerning the relationship between landlords and their tenants. The abolished provision stated, “The landlord may not demand the tenant to vacate the leased premises even after the expiry of the term of the lease agreement.” The new ruling allows landlords to end old lease agreements that have persisted long past their initial contract periods.