Enab Baladi Issue # 93 – Sun, Dec. 1, 2013
Ayham disturbed his family gathering with his sharp loud voice asking “who made this sound!!” this sound, is enough to expel Ayham, a Syrian refugee, from the house which shelters him and his family after they have been displaced to Lebanon. The landlord lives in the basement of this house, and he cannot bear any noise. He also might not hesitate to kick him out or warn him to evacuate the house in few hours just because he heard loud voices made by Ayham’s family.
At the time when the number of Syrian refugees has exceeded the 716 thousand refugees, according to the statistics of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), many of these refugees complain from the misery treatment and high prices of renting houses, and from the conditions imposed by the Lebanese owners of the houses on the tenants. Landlords often set the number of occupants in the house and they require them not to make any noise and to tell the owners of anything they want to bring into the house.
Abdul Rahman, 26-year-old student of Economy; says “this is the fourth house that I moved to since I fled to Lebanon. The way landlords treated me was purely materialistic, and upon the arrival of my family to Lebanon, the landlord raised the rent as if I rented his house per person”. Salam adds that there is difficulty in finding a home that the terms and conditions of his owner are less than others. He says “some landlords ask for a specific number of people from a certain age because some of them do not want children in their houses because they claim that children ruin the furniture; some other landlords ask the tenants to clean the stairs”. Rama, Salam’s friend, thinks that her family was one of few families who have received a treatment that is less harsh than the rest of the Syrian families in Lebanon. Muhammad also believes that he was lucky to deal with a Lebanese family that loved him and his children, and they treated him well despite of the poor conditions of the place where he lives.
On the other hand, Abu Ali, is a Lebanese citizen and an owner of a house that he leases to Syrian refugees, thinks that landlords have the right to put the conditions that suit them because these rented houses are theirs and their source of income. Abu Ali explains that the increase of the number of residents in a house, will make more noise and increases the likelihood of ruining the furniture, furthermore, it causes nuisance to neighbours. He adds the waste and rubbish will pile and the overview of the neighbourhood will be affected, and all of this will affect the relationship of the landlords with their neighbours, even after the departure of tenants.
Pressures of all kinds and various types of restrictions imposed on Syrian refugees vary from one country to another, yet despite the disparity of their social and economic circumstances the homesickness and the pain of alienation remain the shared feelings that unite them all.
Translated by: Ruba Al Jarf