September - November 2021
In parallel with this report, we are also publishing a report on the Monitor’s legal and community interventions that were developed with the purpose of protecting the housing rights of callers documented here.
The Housing Monitor is publishing its periodic report on calls received during September, October and November 2021, reaching 46 cases affecting 163 individuals confronting housing threats, of which 75 are children under 18, 36 are women and children living alone, 8 are elderly, and 2 are from the LGBTQ+ community. Over 75% of the callers live in areas affected by the August 4th explosion, in addition to calls from different neighborhoods around Beirut (Ras Beirut, Mazraa, and others), Greater Beirut and its surroundings (Furn el Chebbak, Dekwaneh, Hazmieh, Antelias, and Bouchariyyeh), and other cities (Saida and Tripoli). The majority of callers were Lebanese, followed by Syrian callers, then callers from several other nationalities (Cameroon, Ethiopia, Srilanka, Palestine).
85% of callers are tenants with verbal unregistered contracts living in affected areas, as are the old tenants who reported their cases. The majority of callers have lived in their households for less than 3 years, which is an indication of the flagrant violations of the rent law and the total absence of inspections geared for the protection of tenants. While the rent law fails to provide sustainability of housing and the necessary protection, it does state that contract conditions are binding for 3 years.
The data collected indicates that the majority of callers complaining of rent burden, have to pay a rent amount between 400,000 and 1,350,000 LBP, and some have accumulated rent of more than 6 months. While the gap between income and rent continues to increase, property owners are becoming more and more inclined to increase rent regardless of the current tenant’s inability to pay it. And the true tragedy is when owners refuse to renew contracts after the contracted 3 years. For example, Sara lives in Karantina and pays rent in the amount of 525,000 LBP, while her income is 1,400,000. The owner is now demanding that she pay rent in the amount of 1,800,000 LBP. Sara is now looking for alternatives but has not found any rentals under 2,000,000 in the neighboring areas.
It’s important to note that renovation practices led by NGOs in the affected areas have a direct impact on the disputes between owners and tenants around rent amounts. In this report, we document 7 cases that have been negatively impacted by renovation practices and are threatened with eviction as a result, with one case having already been evicted. Maya, for example, lives with her 3-year old daughter in a small apartment in Bourj Hammoud since 2019. At the time, the rent amount was set at $250 USD through a verbal agreement, and she has been indeed paying 400,000 LBP throughout the economic crisis and inflation. When COVID-related lockdown started, she agreed with her landlord to decrease the rent amount to 350,000 LBP. After the port explosion, an NGO renovated the apartment and the owner immediately went back on his word and demanded a rent increase, notifying Maya that with the beginning of the following year, the rent amount would be set at 2,000,000 LBP. Maya can manage to pay 500,000 per month for rent given that she finds daycare for her daughter, which is not provided by the state for working mothers or by any of the NGOs dedicated to children rights.
This grim reality that city residents are facing is accompanied by evictions, most of which are abusive and illegal. Out of 10 documented eviction cases, 3 have faced previous evictions after the August 4th explosion, one of which led to homelessness and another is facing eviction again due to accumulated rent burden. As for the current 7 eviction cases, 3 violate Law 194/2020 that protects tenants in all affected buildings. Among the abusive practices that these 7 cases reported were threats with forced eviction, some repetitive, breaking and entering, discriminations, and deliberately cutting off electricity and water. We also documented destinations of evicted individuals, where most of them tried to stay in the same neighborhood to preserve their social and economic relations, and some avoided homelessness by staying temporarily with friends and relatives.
The Housing Monitor works on documenting cases of threatened housing, building solidarity in communities, and supporting housing rights for everyone without discrimination, as well as advocating for the implementation of integrated housing policies.
To report the violation of your right to secure, adequate and sustainable housing, contact us through
whatsapp at 81017023
or email at email@example.com