New bylaw allows Saudis to rent out housing units to tourists

January 04, 2023
The bylaw stipulates a number of conditions to get a permit for renting out private properties to tourists.
The bylaw stipulates a number of conditions to get a permit for renting out private properties to tourists.

Saudi Gazette report

RIYADH — Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khateeb approved the new bylaw of private tourism hospitality, which allows Saudi citizens to rent out their residential units to tourists for a fee.

The bylaw specified the following regulations for issuing the permit in this regard. According to the regulations, a private tourist hospitality facility shall be part of a property designated either for residential or for agricultural use, and the total number of permits issued to a person in one property shall not exceed three.

The minister or whoever he delegates may, by his decision and for considerations deemed by the ministry, suspend the issuance of permits for a specified period in any geographical area.

The bylaw also stipulates a number of conditions to be met while applying for the permit. Only Saudi citizens can apply. The conditions also include the submission of an electronic title deed or an electronic lease contract that proves the right of ownership or use of the property pertaining to the permit; and updated official data of the applicant and the private tourism hospitality facility. As per the bylaw, the applicant must fill out an application form.

The bylaw stressed that the applicant shall comply with the terms and conditions for the issuance of the permit. The licensee shall provide the services in accordance with the permit issued to him, and not allow others to use the permit. He shall facilitate the inspector to perform his duties, cooperate with him and provide him with the required facilities.

The licensee is not allowed to use the name or logo of the ministry in any advertisement or marketing activity, except after obtaining its approval. He shall respond to the ministry through the representative of the private tourist hospitality facility around the clock.

It is mandatory for the licensee to ensure the quality of the service provided by fulfilling a number of conditions. These include showing the basic data specified in the permit clearly to the tourist inside the private tourist hospitality facility. The licensee shall not use an expired permit. He shall use only data that matches the permit, and pictures that correspond to the actual reality of the hospitality facility when it is published or advertised.

The general guidelines for using the facility by the travel and tourism service provider shall be displayed on a visible place inside the facility. These instructions shall include details such as the use of parking lots, disposal of waste, prohibited behaviors, dealing with lost items, customer service number, tourist and emergency phone numbers, and so on.

The regulations also include the application of public health rules and requirements at the facility and all its services as well as for its employees, taking into account public hygiene and preserving the environment in all equipment and related facilities such as adequate ventilation, cleanliness and safety of furniture and equipment, safety of ceilings and walls.

The facility shall complete its cleanliness and maintenance preparations before the tourist’s entry. Use of Arabic or English languages, the Hijri and Gregorian calendars, is allowed in all dealings and official publications as appropriate with the desire of the tourist. The facility should not refrain from providing the services without any legally acceptable reasons for the tourist who has a confirmed reservation.

According to the bylaw, marketing and advertising of the private tourism hospitality facility shall be made only through the providers of travel and tourism services, and continuous updating of the information of the facility and its data will be made with the travel and tourism service provider. The advertising shall include details about the capacity of the facility when marketing it.

The bylaw emphasized that customers must adhere to the rules and regulations. The licensee shall comply with the truthfulness of information and data submitted to the ministry, and this includes the provision of any information or data required by the ministry through any means it deems appropriate and within the period the ministry specifies and updating the facility’s data in the ministry’s electronic system.

A list of prices for services shall be displayed in Arabic and English to the tourists, and that will be advertised through the travel and tourism service provider in line with the regulations set by the ministry, including statutory fees and taxes. Apart from maintaining the confidentiality and privacy of information related to tourists, they shall not share or use such information for any purpose without obtaining the tourist’s approval.

The instructions of the competent authorities regarding security, health, and environmental aspects, safety means, ambulance, and evacuation shall be observed.

According to the regulations, a tourist should not be forced to vacate the residential unit after he checked in unless through the intervention of the competent authorities, and in accordance with the relevant statutory provisions.

It is also not allowed to open the residential facility occupied by the tourist without his permission, irrespective of whether he is inside the facility or not. This is permissible only after coordination with the competent authorities and ensuring the safety of the tourist from dangers. The facility shall report immediately and directly to the competent authorities about any incident related to the security or safety of the tourist, or the facility, or its workers.

Tourists shall be accommodated only after verification of the valid ID at the time of check-in. In emergency cases, tourists who do not have identity proof can be received after the endorsement from the competent authorities, according to the provisions of the bylaw.

January 04, 2023
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