[EDITORIALS]How not to pass a law

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[EDITORIALS]How not to pass a law

The process through which the National Assembly hurriedly passed the revision to the Housing Lease Protection Act over the weekend was one of the worst ever. Both ruling and opposition party lawmakers should seriously ponder whether they are truly capable of carrying out legislative activities on behalf of the people. For laws to be enacted and revised, the need for the laws should be accompanied by in-depth discussions over the possible side effects that the legislation might cause. This time around, however, lawmakers showed no such sincerity in revising the vital law for low-income citizens.

Low-income citizens faced various difficulties this year as the supply of small apartments dwindled. Because of low interest rates, an increasing number of landlords began switching their lease contracts from a key money deposit system to monthly rent, resulting in higher rents. The revision to the Housing Lease Protection Act attempts to deal with this problem by placing a cap on the interest that landlords can charge tenants when they switch their contracts.

However constructive the intent of the revised law may have been, it cannot be properly implemented if it is too distant from reality. Under the lease protection law prior to revision, landlords could not switch their contracts within two years of signing. Once the contracts expired, there was no responsibility on the part of landlords to renew the contracts with the same tenant. If they desired to switch their contracts to monthly rent after two years, landlords could sign a contract with another tenant. The provision of limiting monthly rent therefore has a slim chance of being applied in real life and could even trigger the amount of key money to shoot up.

After the revision proposal was submitted to the National Assembly, no public hearings nor consultative meetings between the party and the government were convened. The lawmaker who introduced the bill did not even know how the legislation was being processed. The Ministry of Construction and Transportation was not aware that such a bill was being debated in the National Assembly.

The National Assembly's legislative capability is not up to par with the professionalization and diversification of Korea's economic and social activities.
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