Saudi Housing Authorities to Set Up Online Portal to Increase Transparency and Resolve Renter, Landlord Disputes

Saudi Arabia plans to set up a center to resolve disputes between tenants and landlords as authorities look to reform and modernize the way property is bought, sold, and leased in Saudi Arabia.

According to the English language daily Saudi Gazette, the Saudi housing ministry plans to establish the “Center for Real Estate Dispute Redressal,” which will try to find solutions through reconciliation between the parties involved to reduce pressure on Saudi Arabia’s court system.

“The new body is likely to work along similar lines to Dubai’s Rental Disputes Centre, the judicial arm of the Dubai Land Department, which was founded in 2013 to fast track rent disputes in the emirate,” The National reports. “According to the Saudi government’s own figures, 53 per cent of Saudi families live in rented accommodation and rent disputes there can take up to a year to be resolved.”

The ministry also said that it would require property brokers to register with the national Ejar e-network so that it can better regulate the rental market.

The ministry also said that it would require property brokers to register with the national Ejar e-network so that it can better regulate the rental market.

Saudi Arabia’s Housing ministry has also announced that it plans to create, in two steps, a unified housing portal to regulate the real estate rental market. Once the scheme is launched, the online portal will provide a database and a platform where landlords, brokers and tenants can meet and finalize deals.

The scheme would also include measurements to assist the poor in paying rent.

To launch the portal, Saudi Arabia will first require real estate brokers to register. Then, authorities will move to legalize and standardise contracts between tenants and landlords through registration “to prevent any manipulation in rent prices and ease transactions which will be made only through the Sadad payment system,” Gulf Business reports.

The changes from at the Ministry of Housing follow a year of reform in the housing sector.

In June, JLL and LaSalle Investment Management’s 2016 Global Real Estate Transparency Index (GRETI) increased Saudi Arabia’s standing to “Semi-Transparent” after recent efforts by the Chambers of Commerce in Saudi Arabia to form committees to address problems affecting the market.

Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia’s government approved a plan to tax landowners on vacant properties following an earlier Saudi Cabinet decision to pursue a tax on so-called ‘white properties.