Cessation of Cohabitation / Cuban Law Association, Miguel Iturria Medina

By Miguel Iturria Medina

Property Law governs the use, enjoyment, possession and availability of good which one owns. The ultimate power is related, in short, to the possibility of the title holder doing with his property what he deems to be best. In the case of housing one of the issues is the disposition it, that is the owner’s decision about who lives in his property.

This is addressed in Article 64 of our General Housing Act, Act No. 65; however there are exceptions provision regulated in Article 65 of the law itself, which limits the cessation of cohabitation for ancestors and descendants of the owner, mothers with children born during the marriage, formalized or not with the owner, or mothers with children living in the housing for three or more years and having no other residence; elderly who have lived for more than three years in the building and who do not have a place to reside, cases of manifest injustice or inhumane acts.

Outside of these exceptions, the owner may terminate the cohabitation of any person without requiring an administrative or judicial declaration, but if the cohabitant refuses to leave the property, then the owner can call the Municipal Department of Housing to issue a resolution which determines whether unwanted cohabitant must leave, a process that can be achieved in the second instance in the Provincial Court, by application of nonconformity of the administrative decision, and which ends, finally, in appeal to the Supreme Court.

The real problem lies in the Order to Cease Cohabitation because once it is signed, either by resolution of the Municipal Housing (DMV) or Judgment of the Provincial or Supreme Court, whether the cohabitant refuses to leave the property and which is antisocial behavior unrelated to a work center, the competent authority comes to force removal by the police. But if the cohabitant does not meet these characteristics, the DMV only issues a provision ordering them to leave the house in 30 days and if they do not they will be fined 30% to 50% of their salary which will accrue to the State. So far.

Why doesn’t the competent authority take action in all cases where a final decision calls for the cessation of cohabitation? What coercive force is there in reducing the minimum wage by 30% to 50% when the cost of renting a home is around 20 Cuban Convertible Pesos (around 500 pesos in “national money”), and this figure is more than 50% of what the average worker earns? How can the owner get someone out of his house who doesn’t meet this requirement of an “anti-social labor link”?

There is no other option than to modify the Law so that it truly guarantees this ability.

September 30 2012