Venezuela caps commercial real estate prices as crackdown on inflation expands

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Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is capping rental prices for commercial real estate as he steps up a campaign against businesses he accuses of trying to sabotage the economy by stoking inflation.

Maduro on Friday said he signed a decree preventing commercial leases from exceeding 250 bolivars per square meter a month, or about $40 at the official exchange rate. Disputes between property owners and their tenants must also now be resolved by a government agency instead of private arbiters.

Maduro this month seized control of several appliance stores and slashed prices on fridges, televisions and other goods to slow inflation running at a two-decade high of 54 percent.

Store owners have argued that they risk going out of business because rent and other costs are rising too fast while price controls expand.