Many real estate offices down shutters to avoid penalties


Saudi Gazette

— The rental agreement system, Ejar, is set to bring transparency in the residential sector and will end tenancy disputes after the Ministry of Labor and Social Development and the Ministry of Housing announced their plan to link the renewal or issuance of work permits with the authentication of house rent contracts in the Ejar network, according to experts.

Ejar is aimed at protecting the rights of tenants at all stages of the rental process.

The Ministry of Housing has intensified inspections of real estate brokerage offices in Jeddah and other cities across the Kingdom to check compliance with the new system.

Many real estate offices in Jeddah dominated by Sudanese expatriates have downed their shutters. Others are working to install Ejar system software to avoid heavy penalties.

The fee for the registration of a house rent contract is SR250 as fixed by the Ministry of Housing. However, many real estate offices are charging a higher amount, according to sources.

Tenants can be tried in a court of law for breach of agreement such as non-payment of rent, utility bills, causing damage to property and using the housing unit for other than residential purposes.

The new system enables authorities to check the real estate market conditions where landlords are bound to fulfill some of their basic obligations such as paying Zakat.

The new system will also ensure that the accommodation is properly maintained. There have been cases where workers lost their lives in fire mishaps that occurred in unauthorized accommodations.

The new system will also prevent landlords from illegally converting bigger flats into smaller housing units.

It will also affect scores of expatriates who are living in shared accommodations.

The new system will automate procedures for more than 2.5 million housing units.