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Cuba legalizes private renting of houses

May 16, 1997 GMT

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ Cuba legalized the widespread practice of renting private houses and apartments Friday, but said landlords will have to pay taxes on the rental income.

The Communist Party newspaper Granma published the decree signed by President Fidel Castro. Details were reported by the government’s Prensa Latina news agency, monitored here.

It is common in Cuba to rent private houses, and there has been a growing practice of renting out rooms to tourists.

Under a previous law, widely ignored, home owners could rent no more than two rooms of a residence. Renting rooms to tourists until recently was largely unregulated, though officials have arrested some people for allegedly renting out rooms for sexual purposes.

The new law bans individuals from renting out private houses for use as offices of foreign companies, who are supposed to rent space from the state.

It also forbids private, commercial rental businesses and bans subleases.

Prensa Latina said taxes on rents would be established later by the Ministry of Finances and Prices and it quoted the decree as saying the proceeds would be used to repair and build housing in Cuba, which suffers a housing shortage.