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Venezuela's Rental Law Bolsters Citizens' Right to Housing

“The Venezuelan government is taking one more step to guarantee the right to housing. We are still celebrating; this newly enacted Rental Law is a vindication of the right to housing as a fundamental right. Creating a law from the grassroots is only possible in a revolution,” said Ana Maria Rodriguez, a member of the Renter’s Network, one of the organizations that made proposals for the law.

Rodriguez said that owners of houses and rooms for rent must register at the Office of the National Superintendent of Renting to jointly determine the rent payment and cost of the real estate, according to methods and calculations proposed by social movements which were included in the Rental Law.
The Office of the Superintendent of Renting will prevent speculation on housing prices and protect citizens’ rights under the newly-enacted Law for the Regulation and Control of Renting and Housing, Rodriguez said.

In a televised interview, Rodriguez said those landlords that do not register their real estate with the Office of the Superintendent will be penalized. She added that creating a national registry of all real estate for rent will help gather information on topics such as properties, landlords, tenants, the date of rental agreements.

Rodriguez said that claims by pro-opposition sectors that the law would allow tenants to avoid paying rent are totally false and reflect a deep ignorance about the scope of the law, which establishes rights and obligations for tenants. “One of the obligations is that the tenants must pay their rent,” she stressed.

For his part, Eleusis Borrego, a lawyer and member of the Renter’s Network, said the new law will guarantee that buildings up for sale or rent will be offered at fair prices.
He added that this legal instrument, signed into law by Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez last Saturday, guarantees equality and is “a profound change in the system that we wish to reach, which is socialism.”

Venezuela’s housing crisis was worsened in late 2010 when strong rains left almost 300,000 people homeless. Complaints have been registered regarding speculation on rent prices, real estate fraud, and different violations of the old rental law. President Chávez has promised to personally solve the housing problem through different initiatives ranging from the development of aggressive construction plans for dignified housing to strategic associations with Russia, Belarus, Portugal, Iran, and other countries in order to solve the housing deficit.

The “Great Housing Mission,” a program created to address the housing shortage by uniting the efforts of the public and private sectors, has completed work on 85,527 houses out of the 153,000 units required throughout the country, achieving 96 percent of the goal set for October (89,338 houses), according to the website of the Housing Ministry.

AVN / Press – Embassy of Venezuela to the U.S. / November 15, 2011 

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