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Fri Jun 12, 2020, 06:15 PM

Updated tenants law passed in Argentina

Argentina's Senate passed legislation yesterday establishing new laws governing rental agreements nationwide, replacing existing legislation signed in 1984.

The bill, known simply as the Tenants Law, was widely supported by tenants rights groups in Argentina - where over half the nation's 15 million households pay rent.

"Today, housing is closer to being a right - and to cease being a business deal," the National Federation of Tenants stated in a press release.

President Alberto Fernández's center-left Front for All coalition introduced the bill - which passed overwhelmingly in the Lower House on November 20, and in the Senate with 41 yeas to 29 abstentions.

No nays were registered because the right-wing Together for Change coalition - which supported the bill in the House - walked out of the Senate chamber in protest once its passage was assured.

Amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Fernández on March 29 suspended rent hikes or evictions for six months.

The keys

Argentina's new Tenants Law addresses numerous longstanding obstacles faced by many of its estimated 8-9 million tenants.

Tenants may now seek contracts of up to three years, rather than the current two year term. Landlords agreeing to renew contracts after three years, moreover, would be limited as to new rental rates by an inflation and wage index-linked formula.

Landlords often force tenants out by doubling rents for those requesting a renewal, in the expectation that a new tenant might agree to higher rates.

The power to rescind a contract with only three months' notice, without being subject to a fine, will likewise now shift from the landlord to the tenant - a change Ricardo Botana of the Argentine Tenants' Union supports because "between moving expenses and the fine, rescinding a contract had often been too costly for tenants."

Other benefits to tenants include a one month's security deposit limit, and added flexibility as to co-signatories - which are often required by Argentine landlords.

A National Social Rental Program to assist senior and low-income tenants will also be established, as well as federal tenants' rights ombudsmen in each province and metro area.

Landlords, in turn, won a longstanding demand: a codified and expedited eviction process, which would now take as little as ten days from notification.

Rental properties, however, must be registered at the Federal Revenue Agency (AFIP); fewer than half are now estimated to be registered.

A real estate survey by polling firm Market Analytics revealed that 80% of landlords, developers, agents and brokers were opposed to the Tenants Law - with a group of auctioneers and brokers warning in a recent ad that "with less supply, prices will rise."

"We are 9 million tenants who expect to rent fairly," Gervasio Muñoz of Tenants Group, responded. "It's been 36 years that Congress hadn't debated rental law. We are achieving a historic bill."

At: https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&tab=wT&sl=auto&tl=en&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.eldestapeweb.com%2Fsociedad%2Fcongreso%2Fnueva-ley-de-alquileres-las-diez-claves-que-hay-que-saber-202061120320

Apartment buildings crowd the Buenos Aires cityscape, where the nation's highest property values and a severe shortage of mortgage credit force most residents to rent.

The Tenants Law passed yesterday by Argentina's Congress seeks to limit costs for tenants, while guaranteeing a minimum three-year contract for those who need it.

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