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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Friday, 19.04.2019, 05:48

Court rules caps on compulsory rent charge unconstitutional in Latvia

BC, Riga, 12.04.2018.Print version
The Latvian Constitutional Court has ruled the legislative amendments that put caps on compulsory rent charge unconstitutional, and the provisions will become invalid as of May 1, 2019, informs LETA.

The ruling of the Constitutional Court is final and cannot be further appealed.

The disputed provisions will become invalid only on May 1, 2019 in order to give lawmakers time to find another, fairer solution that would be acceptable to both land owners and tenants of residential houses who are paying the compulsory rent charges for the land under their homes.

During a court hearing on March 14, the landowners’ representative said that state authorities should develop a policy that would reduce social inequality, for instance, by identifying and protecting destitute persons among owners of apartments and land. Providing such support is the duty of a socially responsible state and not landowners, the lawyer argued.

A representative of Saeima told the court that the contested provisions were adopted in order to protect apartment owners in privatized houses and ensure general public welfare.

The disputed amendments had been adopted to the Law on Privatization of State and Local Government Residential Houses and the Law on Land Reform in the Cities of the Republic of Latvia.

Landowner Sona Traube had filed a lawsuit with the Constitutional Court saying that she owned land plot on which an apartment house had been built but that house belonged to other persons. The applicant was entitled to charge compulsory ground rent from the owners of the apartment house.

Under the new provisions, effective as of January 1, 2018, the compulsory rent charge and consequently also the landowner’s income significantly decreased. Traube argued that the new provisions infringed on her ownership rights.

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