Tenants protest in Beirut's Martyrs' Square, Thursday, March 30, 2017. (The Daily Star/Ahmad Azakir)
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The Constitutional Council Thursday rejected a legal challenge backed by long-term tenants that sought to overturn a controversial law affecting rent controls. The decision, which lifts a temporary halt on the new rent law passed last month and allows it to go into immediate effect, prompted tenants to take to the streets.Up until now, the old lease agreements prevented landlords increasing rents or changing terms, meaning many renters were paying less than LL1 million ($670) a year and had significant protection from eviction.The government has pledged to form local committees responsible for receiving applications from old tenants who cannot afford to cover the increase in rent.Tenants are scheduled to rally again Monday at 5 p.m. in Beirut's Cola junction to protest the decision.The new bill allows for the compensation of tenants who agree to leave their properties, but tenants argue that the amount of compensation, which is calculated as a percentage of the property value, is not enough to cover the market rent in Beirut.
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