Tenants anxious ahead of July 1 rent cap lifting

As the Turkish government is set to lift the 25 percent rent increase cap on July 1, renters are anxious about facing unexpected hikes amidst an already draining inflationary environment, whereas homeowners are happy to adjust rents freely.

Gazete Duvar / Berkay Çolak

With the arrival of summer in the capital province of Ankara, the moving season has begun. Tenants with expiring leases are already searching for budget-friendly homes. A tougher period awaits those with ongoing leases, as the 25 percent rent increase cap ends on July 1. Realtors believe that lifting the cap will ease the pressure on property owners, while tenants are anxious about rent increases amid soaring inflation.

In Ankara, rental prices for apartments range from 15,000 Turkish liras (460 dollars) to 160,000 liras (4,900 dollars). Proximity to public transportation and shopping centers influences these prices. Tenants described the high rents as "being robbed under the guise of rent."

Hakan Akçam, President of the Ankara All Realtors Association (ATEM), discussed the impact of lifting the 25 percent rent increase cap on the real estate market. Akçam noted that landlords with vacant properties are waiting for July 1 to adjust rents freely.

“However, we believe that the sudden removal of the cap will create problems for tenants. There will also be payment discrepancies between long-term tenants paying lower rents and new tenants facing higher rates,” he said.

Akçam emphasized the need for a solution to prevent new hardships. “In an environment with 75 percent inflation, new tenants could face significant rent hikes. Implementing the cap was a mistake, and lifting it suddenly is also wrong. A gradual transition could work. Additionally, regulations should prevent extreme price discrepancies,” he added.

Emrah Kalender, a realtor in the Cebeci neighborhood of the central Çankaya district, noted an increase in vacant homes at the end of each academic term. 

“I don’t think students can afford to stay in this area, assuming a 50-60 percent increase in rents. The neighborhood profile might change in the coming term,” he said.

In the Keçiören district, rent prices vary by neighborhood. In central neighborhoods, rents are around 25,000 liras (770 dollars), while in more distant areas, they drop to 15,000 (460 dollars). 

Gökhan Sapbayır, a restaurant worker in Keçiören, reported issues with his landlord, who is pressuring him to move out. “My rent is 7,000 TL. My landlord wants to increase it, but I have a three-year-old child, and my wife cannot work because of our child. If the rent goes up, we cannot make ends meet. I’ve started looking for a new place just in case. I can’t let my child live on the streets,” he said.

İbrahim Ateş is studying to become a music teacher and lives in Seyranbağları, Çankaya. He is now in the process of moving with his brother, who is also a student. 

“The place we’re leaving was not fit for human dignity. It was a converted basement that didn’t meet natural gas standards and flooded every time it rained. Our situation is very sad. We’re living through days unworthy of humanity,” he said.

Ateş counted himself among the lucky because he was able to find a new place before the rent cap was lifted. He plans on splitting the rent with his brother and will be working part-time to cover his half. 

“In primitive societies, housing was a basic, accessible need. Today, in our ‘modern’ societies, we are being robbed under the guise of rent. From students to retirees, workers to everyone in Turkey, our biggest stress and worry is housing,” he complained. 

(English version by Ayşenaz Toptaş)