The housing situation in Cyprus has become a matter of great concern, with rental prices soaring to unprecedented levels. While the reasons for this situation are multifaceted, it is evident that greed on the part of landlords, the lack of regulations, and the indifference of the real estate agencies and government have contributed significantly to the issue.
The current situation is alarming as it puts the country’s economy at risk, and it affects the general population’s livelihood. Owners have been charging exorbitant prices for their properties, with rental prices sometimes exceeding 100 per cent of their actual value. This trend is dangerous, given that the wages of the people are not increasing at the same pace, making it increasingly difficult for individuals and families to secure adequate housing.
The most concerning aspect is the unregulated rental market, which has allowed landlords to set prices arbitrarily. Families may find themselves facing a 100 per cent increase in rent overnight, with no recourse to complain or negotiate. This has led to landlords prioritising their own financial gain over their tenants’ well-being, making it difficult for families to maintain their standard of living. The landlords’ greed and lack of basic human decency towards their tenants are putting families at risk of homelessness and poverty.
In addition to the excessive rents, landlords have also been neglecting their maintenance and repair obligations, exposing their tenants to potentially hazardous living conditions. Despite complaints from tenants, some landlords have refused to address the issue, knowing that their tenants have limited options due to the current market situation. This is unacceptable and must be addressed by both the landlords and the government.
Real estate agencies also have a significant role to play. Their short-sightedness and greed have contributed to the problem by allowing landlords to set arbitrary prices and prioritising their commission over their clients’ long-term interests. Instead of taking advantage, agencies should focus on ensuring that rental prices are reasonable and based on people’s income levels.
Finally, the government must take action to regulate the rental market and prevent landlords from charging exorbitant prices. The lack of regulations has allowed landlords to act with impunity, leading to a growing inequality gap between the wealthy and the less fortunate. The government should consider setting limits on rental prices based on the income level of the general population, providing better information on how to file complaints against landlords and creating a government agency to protect tenants’ rights.
In conclusion, the current housing situation in Cyprus is alarming and requires the attention of all stakeholders. The landlords’ greed, the real estate agencies’ short-sightedness and the government’s inaction have contributed significantly to the problem. It is crucial to implement regulations and provide support to the most vulnerable members of society to avoid a long-term impact on the economy and society.
Cyrus Razavi is the director of Satrap Creative Web Design, Limassol