With over 7,000 pending court cases in Jeddah alone, the Real Estate Committee at the Jeddah Chamber for Commerce and Industry (JCCI) in Saudi Arabia, has recommended setting up a payment system that could lead to banks taking rent amounts directly from a person’s salary every month.
Saudi landlords often prefer renting out their apartments to expatriates as their fellow Saudis have a poor reputation in paying rent on time.
Abdulghani Al Sabbagh, landlord and former member of the Real Estate Committee, said: “I refuse to rent apartments to Saudis. Most of them only pay during the first year and then start delaying payments after that. They also ignore other rules relating to parking space, paying for water and stuff like that.”
He added: “Most of them suddenly disappear without notice and without paying outstanding dues. They leave behind their furniture and in such cases we have no choice but to complain to the police. This usually takes a long time and we’re not allowed to open the apartments without the police.”
Awad Al Dowsi, member, Real Estate Committee, said that the JCCI’s suggestion of paying rents through banks needed to be implemented.
He said: “This is a wide spread problem, tenants are not the victims, it’s the landlords who are. The JCCI’s recommendation would ensure both landlords and tenants’ interests are looked after.”
Despite this being a widespread problem, no proper rental laws have been implemented by the municipality yet.
Although landlords can take their grievances to the municipality or the police, the cases would take a long time to be resolved.
Abdullah Niazi, a Saudi based lawyer, said: “All these problems can be addressed quickly with the establishment of executive courts that implement the rules within limited time periods.”