BEIRUT: The Lebanese Constitutional Council rejected appeals concerning the proposed rent bill law, stating that the law has to be in effect to be considered.
In a majority vote, the council decided that it cannot discuss the two appeals that it has received about the law. The basis of their refusal is that the appeals regarded a text published in the Official Gazette, not a law that has come into effect.
The first appeal was presented by Former President Michel Sleiman, who recommended a modification of some of the laws’ elements.
Last month, Sleiman announced that he is referring the proposal to the council, stating that it is unfair and it does not further social justice.
The parliament had passed the law before Sleiman’s disapproval. Sleiman, however, refused to sign the law which requires a signature from the president to come into effect.
The second appeal was submitted by a group of MPs who demanded the overall dismissal of the proposal.
The draft law has been at the center of controversy since it was proposed by the Cabinet two years ago, with tenants saying it would displace thousands of families who pay rent in Beirut under an old law governing lease contracts enacted before 1993.
These renters pay minimal rent fees that often amount to less than LL1,000,000 annually.
Under the new law, rents would increase incrementally until they reach 5 percent of the current market value of the apartment. Owners would have the freedom to either sell the apartment or lease under a new contract and price.
Beirut had been witnessing demonstrations both by the tenants and the owners, whose views of the solution have not yet found any common ground.