The government should immediately pay subsidies to people struggling with rental payments amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Tsuei Ma Ma Foundation for Housing and Community Services said yesterday.
A government program including subsidies for people with reduced or no income due to the pandemic has been criticized, as the payments are not expected to start until January next year.
Foundation chief executive officer Lu Ping-yi (呂秉怡) said that the subsidy applications require a landlord’s signature, which they might not be willing to give.
The requirement would prevent many people in need from applying, Lu said, adding that the program also did not address other pressing issues concerning living arrangements during the pandemic.
An immediate subsidy is needed, he said.
Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強), director of the KMT-affiliated Institute of Revolutionary Practice, said that government subsidies and other measures have been ineffective, as they are based on premises that are out of touch with reality.
Tenants would not be eligible for a tax deduction as long as their landlord does not provide them with paperwork needed to include rental fees in their tax filings, he said, adding that landlords rarely provide the document.
Slow procedures on the part of the government are hampering a quick solution to the problem, he said, urging the government to draw up new and more direct measures.
KMT Legislator Lin Szu-ming (林思銘) said that the government has not been able to address the problems Taiwanese face in the rental market, despite continued input from the Legislative Yuan, including calls for a rental market census.
A census would provide the data that a better subsidy policy could be based upon, he said.
The KMT’s legislative caucus would continue pushing for an online database on rental fees and other measures to make the market more transparent and help protect the rights of tenants, Lin said.
Asked whether the government is planning to include tenants in its relief policies, Deputy Minister of the Interior Hua Ching-chun (花敬群) said that the ministry is collecting opinions and would discuss the matter with the Executive Yuan.
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