South Korea’s Constitutional Court Upholds Tenant Protection Law

SEOUL — The Constitutional Court of South Korea ruled on Wednesday to uphold the constitutionality of a tenant protection law, passed in 2020, aimed at providing better security for tenants amid soaring rents and housing prices. The legislation, championed by the then-ruling Democratic Party, was a response to the urgent need for tenant protections during a period of rapidly increasing housing costs.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the revised Housing Lease Protection Act, which grants tenants the right to demand a two-year extension on their standard two-year housing leases, alongside a cap on rent increases at 5 percent for contract renewals, does not infringe upon the property rights of landlords. This ruling comes after more than 10 petitions challenged the legislation, arguing it violated landlords' rights.

The court emphasized the essential nature of stable housing in leading a dignified human life and highlighted the state's responsibility to protect socially disadvantaged tenants and promote social welfare. The court further noted that the additional two-year contract extension mandated by the law does not significantly limit landlords' freedom or property rights, considering it a relatively brief period.

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