HAVANA TIMES — Cuban citizens may now turn to real estate agencies (both state and approved private) to rent buildings as dwellings or offices, commercial establishments and storage sites, the daily Juventud Rebelde reported on Wednesday.
Until now, the state-run agencies could rent spaces only to foreign and state-run companies and to foreigners living in Cuba, not to ordinary citizens.
Resolution No. 551-2013 by the Ministry of Finance and Prices has established minimum monthly rental fees in convertible pesos (CUC) per square meter of living space, Juventud Rebelde says.
There are restrictions. Buildings may not be rented for use as diplomatic sites (embassies or consulates), international schools, news agencies or nongovernmental organizations, the newspaper says.
But the rented buildings may be used as private dwellings, offices, commercial establishments and storage sites. The buildings may have been originally designed as private homes or not.
According to Juventud Rebelde, the new measure “provides new impetus and support for self-employed entrepreneurship and other forms of non-state management.”
“Cuban entrepreneurs now can ‘base’ their economic initiatives […] in sites and buildings to which they had no previous access, and thus enter new segments of the market.”
Minimum rental fee for a dwelling will be 5 CUC per square meter; for commercial use, 7 CUC. One CUC is the equivalent of one U.S. dollar.
But that rate is applicable only if the building was originally designed as a private home. If the building was erected as a commercial structure, the fee will be 10 CUC per square yard per month.
Rental fees above the minimum will be agreed upon by the contracting parties, depending on location, comfort, accessibility and other market considerations. Among those considerations: whether the building has a swimming pool, parking space or areas for public access. Also if the building has “patrimonial” or historic value.
The rental fees do not include water, electricity, telephone, gas, sewage and Internet facilities, all of which must be contracted with each provider.
The new resolution also permits foreigners living in Cuba to rent out their property to Cuban citizens by availing themselves of the state-run real estate agencies. For this service, the agencies may charge a minimum commission of 5 percent over the rental fee.
For further details, interested parties may consult Extraordinary Issue No. 6 of the Official Gazette, published Jan. 21, which spells out Resolution No. 551-2013.