Protecting the rights of renters will be a top priority of the Venezuelan government into the New Year, President Hugo Chavez announced last week during a ceremony held at the Presidential Palace, Miraflores.
The declaration was made as the government delivered new apartment titles to homebuyers scammed by development agencies in the Caracas neighborhood of La Avileña.
Speaking out against the rampant abuse that many tenants face from unscrupulous landlords and private real estate firms, Chavez affirmed his commitment to put an end to the fraud that has become commonplace throughout the country.
“I’m going to do what I have to do inside the guidelines of the Constitution to make this stop. This is an abomination against exploited families”, he exclaimed.
In efforts to increase the profitability of rental properties, many private agents and landlords raise rents illegally, evade taxes and charge extra fees for fictitious services. Speculation in the real estate market is widespread and tenant rights are rarely respected, leaving ordinary residents at the mercy of private firms and individuals who employ an arsenal of bureaucratic maneuvers to manipulate renters and first time homebuyers.
“As President it gives me great shame to see that this is still occurringin my country and, before the entire nation, I commit myself to put an end to this”, Chavez declared.
In order to combat these illicit practices, the President has proposed the creation of a task force headed by Labor Minister Maria Iglesias and comprised of government officials alongside residents belonging to popular housing associations. According to the head of state, it will be a working group “where the people, the Vice President of the Council of Ministers for Politics (Nicolas Maduro) and congressmembers create proposals that arrive in my hands as quickly and efficiently as possible”.
Chavez said that he would use the powers granted to himthrough the recently passed Enabling Law to enact the changes. The Enabling Law, passed by the Venezuelan Congress earlier this month, gives the President the authority to enact specific legislation without the need of debate in the legislative chambersof the National Assembly.
“This can be one of the laws that falls under the Enabling Law”, Chavez said.
“I want [government officials] to work with me on the law…I’m asking for the support of those who have the most experience writing laws. We have to create a fair law to deal with this issue”, he implored. With respect to tenant’s rights,the government-citizen task force would work to develop proposals that would then be submitted to the Enabling Cabinet in the processof writing the new law.