Apr 19 2012
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Tenants to hold protest after gov't 'fails to act' on rent increases
Muhannad Al Hamid, a trader from the city of Irbid, said that Prime Minister Awn Khasawneh had promised to look into the case during a recent meeting at the Jordan Chamber of Commerce (JCC), but merchants have not seen any action on the part of the government.
Hamid argued that the new formula for calculating rent is unfair.
"The calculation mechanism has no specific criteria. Also, when the court issues the decision, I cannot appeal because it is a final decision. This is not fair because even criminals can appeal, why can't we do the same?" he asked.
"The panel consists of surveyors and engineers who are experts in the prices of land and real estate, but no representatives of the commercial sector," Hamid said, adding that his rent was recently increased from JD850 to JD11,000 a year.
Salem Bader, who runs a bookstore in the city of Zarqa, agreed, adding that if the panel included commercial sector representatives, they would determine a fairer price because they would know what the traders were earning and whether their businesses were profitable.
"If a jewellery shop makes a lot of money, it does not mean that I do the same. I earn JD300 monthly. The panel determines the price in accordance with the age of the property," he noted.
Amen Nasser, another garment trader in Irbid, added that the commercial sector in Irbid is different from that of Amman.
"Traders in Amman receive local and foreign customers, while Irbid merchants receive only local clients... most of them are employees who earn modest salaries. Some of them do not buy clothing every time they shop," he told The Jordan Times, adding that because of the new calculation mechanism, merchants have no choice but to raise prices significantly.
Nasser also wondered how landlords expect to find new tenants after raising rents by such large margins, asserting that most prospective commercial tenants cannot afford the increased rents.
He also voiced outrage over the inheritance issue, referring to an article in the law that allows commercial rental contracts to be transferred to the tenant's heirs upon his death, but only for six years.
"We managed to establish a reputation among our clients. Now if I am forced to leave this location, we will lose half of our customers," Nasser added.
Mahmoud Hatamleh, another trader in Irbid, said lawmakers who designed the recent law do not fear God.
"We voted for these deputies to protect us, not to add more burdens on us. I have four employees and my shops provide money for my brothers; if I have to move or close down our shops, all these families will be affected," Hatamleh added.
He voiced concern over widows and divorcées because the law stipulates that they have to leave their homes within three years of their husbands' passing or their divorces.
"After three years, they might resort to unethical means to get the rental fee," he warned without elaborating.
Bader said that although the premier had promised to look into the case, the government had done nothing so far, so the traders decided to gather outside the Royal Court.
"It will be an open-ended demonstration and we will sleep outside the Royal Court until they listen to us," he said.
© Jordan Times 2012
© Copyright Zawya. All Rights Reserved.
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