Residential rents in Turkish border areas with Syria have risen to such an extent, leading some Syrian refugee families to rent shops to find housing.
Abu Jamil and his family now live in one of these shops, after all doors closed in his face, and having been unable to secure permanent work. He works in the sale of vegetables and loading goods—a business that is not permanent by its nature.
He adds: "When I went to rent a house through a broker, took me to a store that was used as a warehouse. There was no bathroom, only a watertap no more. I was still forced to rent it as it was economical enough."
The main reason behind renting stores and shops, according to Abdul Jalil from the north of Aleppo, is the crowding of Syrians in Turkey's southern regions. He adds, however that: "Despite the reasonably cheap rent of these stores—the water and electricity bills are high. The meters' rates are commercial, adding to refugees' suffering, even those store tenants."
This phenomenon has turned into a lucrative business opportunity for shopkeepers—especially that it carries minimal additional costs for them; whilst simultaneously raising store occupancy, particularly those in sidestreets or otherwise less desireable for investors.
Mustafa, a Turkish citizen, tells Rozana: "The high cost of rents notwithstanding, overpopulation has led to a scarcity of free homes for rent. This is another reason for Syrians to resort to [renting] stores".
"The demographic crisis in [the Turkish city of] Kilis is not limited to Syrians exclusively," says Ahmed Ali, a Syrians who has been in Turkey for nearly two years. The crisis has even now spread to Turks; there are poor families affected by the Syrian displacement in their regions, he says, adding: "One can say that the overpopulation has created a marked difference between the rich and poor classes in general—be it Syrian or Turkish."