Upper chamber vetoes bill curbing realtors' rental fees
The veto comes as real estate agencies have vehemently protested the bill and have threatened to petition the Constitutional Court.
Under the changes to the act on real estate agency tabled by the Left, landlords would fully pay the commission fee charged by a real estate agency for a service commissioned by them.
This means tenants would no longer shoulder part of the fee, tackling one of the biggest complaints by individuals - the fact that tenants pay a fee for a service they have not commissioned.
A cap would also be imposed on the commission fee that can be charged by apartment rental agencies to landlords. The capped amount would correspond to one monthly rent but would not be lower than 150 euros.
The restrictions apply only to rental to individuals, business-to-business transactions are exempted.
Councillor Mitja Gorenšček, who led the veto initiative, argued today that the proponents of regulation should be targeting other fields on the market and not an area that the average persons encounters once or never in their life.
The Left's Luka Mesec begged to differ, arguing Slovenia had not developed a long-term flat renting market, with most tenants signing 12-month contracts and then being forced to pay for a service they did not commission every few years.
While the Left argued one of the goals of the bill was to enable people affordable housing, Gorenšček said the real problem was insufficient supply and that this was where the state should intervene with measures. He however also echoed the claims of businesses that the bill was an encroachment on the free market.
Environmental and Spatial Planning Ministry State Secretary Marko Maver however also came out in the defence of the bill, saying it followed housing policy guideline. He said it would increase accessibility and also encourage long-term contracts.
Meanwhile, the bill also introduces EU rules in acquiring qualifications for a real estate agent; Slovenia had already received a warning about a delay from the European Commission.
The Left is confident the bill receive the absolute majority needed in the National Assembly to override the veto.