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Property owners decry low rents paid by govt, U.N.While property owners celebrated the passage of a rent law for private tenants earlier this year, they are now looking to take the battle to noncommercial tenants such as the U.N. and the government. The rents of commercial buildings were excluded from the bill.The syndicate's president, Joseph Zoghaib, estimated that 50,000 nonresidential buildings in Beirut are still under the old rent law and therefore the occupants pay low rents well below market rates and have significant protection from eviction by landlords who want to reclaim the property.However, similar increases failed to translate into greater rent income for owners of properties under the old rent law as it was frozen.Riad Richani, owner of a tiny property rented to the state-run electricity company, said his property had first been leased in 1954 and for the last 30 years the rent has been held at just LL1,000 ($0.67) per year.The Daily Star has not been able to verify how many old rent buildings are currently rented by the government, but Zoghaib argued the issue is significant enough to prevent the government from liberalizing the rent of nonresidential buildings.
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