Tuesday, November 12, 2019
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ARGENTINA | 16-08-2019 15:49

Groups ask government to freeze rent fees as inflation soars

Organisations dedicated to defending the rights of tenants ask Macri administration to introduce new measures to help renters make ends meet.

Groups and organisations dedicated to defending the rights of renters today asked the government to introduce new economic measures to help tenants make ends meet amid soaring prices.

Reports in recent days have suggested that renters whose contracts are up for renegotiation are being hit by increases of up to 50 percent.

The demand comes in the wake of severe currency turbulence, which has seen the peso's value cut by more than 20 percent against the dollar since Monday, in the wake of Sunday's PASO primaries.

Gervasio Muñoz, the president of the National Tenants Federation (Federación de Inquilinos Nacional) and a members of the Tenants Group (Inquilinos Agrupados) organisation, said the government needed to introduce an emergency decree ordering rental fees be frozen amid falling purchasing power and rising inflation.

An official request requesting the measure has been sent to Interior, Public Works and housing Minister Rogelio Frigerio and Housing Secretary Iván Kerr, who is also in charge of the Procrear mortgage loan scheme. 

"In December 2018, the draft Renters Law that had been approved by the Senate lost its parliamentary status and now, in the context of the exchange and economic crisis, renters' organisations across the country ask Frigerio and Kerr for the freezing of rental prices," read a statement signed by the Tenants' Civil Association of Corrientes

Nire Roldán, a local representative for renters in Rosario, said the request had been made because "there are millions of people who will not be able to pay their rents if inflation soars and contracts are negotiated under those percentages." 

Inflation in Argentina over thee last 12 months totals 54.4 percent, with prices have risen by more than 25 percent in just the first seven months of 2019.

The associations demanding the request say they have received reports of rent being put up by as much of 40 and 50 percent on an annual basis when being renegotiated, with some tenants being hit by six-monthly increases of 25 percent.

"We request an urgent measure to put a brake to the increase of the rents," Roldán told Radio 2 in Rosario in an interview.

In a separate statement, the National Tenants Federation said: "Today a tenant has lost 30 percent of their income, and property values are adjusted to the dollar."

The group is requesting a freeze in monthly rental fees, set to their value as of August 1 and that the government prohibit the unilateral termination of agreements if there is a dispute.

Earlier this week, President Mauricio Macri  unveiled a raft of measures aimed at those struggling with falling purchasing power and runaway inflation.

– TIMES/NA

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