From Iceland — Icelandic Tenants Association "Demands Answers" From Electoral Candidates

Alice Poggio
Photo by
Vilhelm/Vísir

The Tenants’ Association in Iceland says that the local elections in 2022 will most likely revolve around an emergency situation in the housing and rental market RÚV reports.

According to a recent survey conducted by the Housing and Civil Engineering Institute, only 10% of tenants choose to rent; 25% are on the rental market because of necessity; and two-thirds of tenants are renting temporarily. Over 10% of renters spend over 70% of their income on rent.

The Association believes that over the last few years, tenants have been suffering the consequences of the slow development of the capital area. Rental prices are constantly increasing and as covered in our last article on the housing situation in Iceland, housing supply is not keeping up with the rising prices, it is actually falling.

The Icelandic Tenants’ Association said that property owners and legal entities are scooping up real estate for a profit. Investors have little or no incentive to speed up construction, as they will slowly ensure a ten percent increase in real estate projects during the development and construction period. The association held a public meeting on the 2nd of May, in order to “demand answers” from candidates in the upcoming municipal elections on their plans to ensure housing for renters in Reykjavik.

What will be interesting to see, is how the newly relaxed regulations on immigrants’ rights to vote in Iceland will affect the municipal elections’ outcome. Immigrants make up around 15% of the Icelandic population, which is significant enough to make a difference. Arguably, renting can be considered one of foreigners’ greatest concerns.

According to the new law that went into effect on January 1st of this year, citizens of Nordic countries would only need legal residence in Iceland to be allowed to vote, other foreigners will now only need 3 years of residence in their town or village. Here you can find more practical information on how to vote, finding your assigned polling place, and a political party guide if you feel a little lost.

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