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Turkish courts overwhelmed by lawsuits amid rental crisis

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More than 147,000 rental disputes were taken to court in the first half of 2023 as an increasing number of Turks are grappling with an unprecedented surge in rents, the Dünya business paper reported.

According to the report, more than 47,OOO eviction lawsuits were filed in the first six months of 2023 due to disputes over rent increases. Experts in property law predict that more than 100,000 lawsuits have also been filed for the redetermination of rent in the wake of the high inflation and the rising cost of living in the country.

Lawyer Ali Güvenç Kiraz, president of the Real Estate Law Association, said while 22,000 eviction lawsuits were filed in 2022, this figure reached 47,000 in the first six months of 2023 alone.

“This is a really big number,” he said.

The civil courts of peace, which are dealing with lawsuits concerning rental disputes, are overwhelmed with the increase in their workload, according to Kiraz.

He said it takes these courts as long as one year to set a hearing date after a lawsuit is filed and two to three years to conclude a lawsuit.

Economic turmoil driven by inflation of nearly 50 percent has plunged Turkey into one of its worst property crises. Skyrocketing prices have made finding affordable housing to rent or buy an uphill battle for many, especially for millions of people earning a monthly minimum wage of 11,400 lira ($421) who also struggle to cover costs for food, energy and other expenses.

Turkey’s annual inflation stood at 47.83 percent in July, according to official data, although a separate study released by independent economists from the Inflation Research Group  (ENAG) who question the official data put the July figure at 122.88 percent, up from 108.6 percent in June.

The Turkish lira has lost around 30 percent of its value since late May.

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