New Venezuelan Law Attempts to Tackle Housing Shortage

Global Business

Venezuela’s housing shortage has doubled since former President Hugo Chavez’s wealth redistribution policies 15 years ago. The government’s new housing law is an effort to reverse that trend, by forcing landlords to sell apartment units to long-time tenants. Martin Markovits explores how Venezuelans are reacting.

For people like Maria Galvis , the new law is a dream come true. Due to her modest salary as a hairdresser she has never been able to buy the apartment she has been living in for more than 20 years. But now, thanks to a new law, she will finally get that chance.

This new housing law, sponsored by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, seeks to address Venezuela’s chronic housing shortages. Residential realtors estimate the country has a deficit of about five million homes. And while the government recently launched a massive public housing program, it has not been enough.

This newly enacted law forces homeowners — who own more than three properties — to sell to tenants who have been living there for more than 20 years -and at government-regulated prices. Supporters say this seeks to bring justice to tenants who, they say, have long been charged high prices for apartments and this law will only impact big property owners.

New Venezuelan Law Attempts to Tackle Housing Shortage

New Venezuelan Law Attempts to Tackle Housing Shortage

Venezuela's housing shortage has doubled since former President Hugo Chavez's wealth redistribution policies 15 years ago. The government's new housing law is an effort to reverse that trend, by forcing landlords to sell apartment units to long-time tenants. Martin Markovits explores how Venezuelans are reacting.


But critics of the law say it is an attack on private property rights and another example of the Maduro socialist government heavy-handed approach to the economy.
Landlords will be given just 60 days to offer eligible tenants a chance to buy the property at a price, determined by the government, that most expect will be lower than market value.

The government says landowners who don’t comply with the new law may be hit with a fine of more than 40-thousand dollars and could lose their homes.