The Housing Committee of Egypt’s House of Representatives decided to open a public dialogue over the law regulating the relationship between tenants and landlords, Ihab Mansour, deputy chairman of the committee, told the media on Sunday.
"Following President (Abdel-Fattah) El-Sisi's comments (on Saturday), the Housing Committee has a duty to open a public dialogue over the law," said Mansour, adding that "more than 10 MPs have drafted legislative amendments over the past five years, all aiming to change the old landlord-tenant relationship to unfreeze old rents.
"All these draft amendments reached deadlock because there was no response from the government," said Mansour.
"Now, however, following President El-Sisi's remarks, the committee should move to change the old rent law concerning housing units, shopping stores, and offices.
"But first we should open a social dialogue to listen to the viewpoints of both landlords and tenants," he added.
Mansour revealed that the committee had previously discussed the law regulating the old rent of non-housing units, including commercial units and offices.
"But the law was not passed because the government failed to provide the House with the necessary figures and statistics on the number of commercial units regulated by old rents," said Mansour.
"Let's begin with amending the rents of non-housing units and then move on to housing units."
In an open discussion with members of "the Egyptian Family" initiative on Saturday, President El-Sisi touched upon a range of economic and social issues, including the old rent law.
El-Sisi said the solution is to provide more houses to the people.
The president stated that there should be a balance between the needs of the owners and tenants. "The rent of some housing units in downtown Cairo stands at just EGP 20 a month though its market value exceeds millions of Egyptian pounds. This is completely unfair for landlords who should enjoy the value of their housing units," said El-Sisi.
Landlords have long demanded that the law – issued in 1964 to regulate the relationship between tenants and landlords – be amended to change its articles freezing rents.
In 1996, the government amended the law to state that rent in new buildings shall not be frozen. However, the law does not apply to buildings constructed prior to the amendment.