It has been reported that National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) has received several complaints that Saudi landlords are discriminating against Kingdom locals to rent out apartments and compounds. The reason is expats are more prompt in paying bills, they take good care of the house, they are not very demanding and when the agreement finishes, they always leave the house in excellent condition. The latter is the main factor for not leasing the house to Saudi tenants. Despite the eagerness of the Saudi landlords to rent their properties, the tenants instead of agreeing on whatever terms should know that they have rights under Saudi law. If the landlords usurp these rights then they can be brought in front of the law. Following are the rights which tenants should always keep in mind:
- UTILITIES: The tenant is liable to all utility bills; they normally remain under the name of the landlord. Prior to signing a rental contract it is the right of the tenant to ensure that all the utilities have been paid for up to the date.
- MAINTAINANCE: Any and all maintenance is the responsibility of the landlord and it is his responsibility to respond to any maintenance calls done by the tenant. Basic appliances are supplied by the landlord and it’s his responsibility to keep them in running order e.g geezer.
- TECHNICAL CHECKS: Before signing a rental contract a tenant is entitled to bring a technician and check proper functioning of utilities, voltage, any leakages and any dangerous exposed wiring. The tenant should also ensure the installation of smoke alarm and sprinkler system.
- CHANGES IN THE UNIT: The tenant is entitled to any refurnishing in the unit for example change of curtains etc. but before leaving the tenant should undo all the changes that he did.
- RENT: The rental period is negotiable and usually it is done as a year contract. The mode of payment depends upon the feasibility of the tenant and landlord. He can pay full year’s contract in advance or in the form of monthly installments. Sometimes the employer of the tenant might pay full years rent and then cut the amount from the person’s salary. I think that it is more feasible to pay as monthly installments to ensure the proper maintenance by the landlord.
- PROPERTY DOCUMENTS: When signing a contract a tenant is entitled to receive a copy if landlord’s passport, a copy of property ownership, and clearance of utilities, rent receipt and an operational property.
- CLEANING OF THE UNIT: The tenant is entitled to receive a properly cleaned property. While a tenant is responsible to clean the property while he is living there, but he is not entitled to clean the property while leaving it at the end of the agreement.
- CHANGES IN THE CONTRACT: A landlord cannot make any changes midway into the contract. He has to wait for the agreement to finish before making any changes. Same is the case with tenant. The tenant will pay the rent for which he agreed upon until the end of the agreement.
- RIFT BETWEEN THE TENANT AND THE LANDLORD: In this case he landlord cannot push out the tenant from the property. He has to file a complaint with the NSHR who will solve the problem.
Other Laws of Saudi Arabia
- Rights of Expatriates in Saudi Arabia
- Rights of Children born to Saudi mothers and non-Saudi fathers
- Rights of Women under Saudi Labor Law
- Rights of Employees in Absence of Contract in Saudi Arabia