Saudi authorities to take control of rents

Housing and commerce ministries slam "unjustifiable" increases in recent years

Saudi authorities will set rental prices in the country after "unjustifiable" increases in recent years, according to local media.

The ministries of housing and commerce and the Saudi Council of Chambers are establishing a mechanism to set rents annually based on factors such as the age and condition of the building, interior design and location, Arabic daily Al-Watan reported.

Rents have risen an average 75 percent in the past three years, according to the newspaper.

There are 22,000 real estate-related cases pending in Jeddah courts, of which about 80 percent are between landlords and renters.

Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry buildings evaluation committee chairman Abdullah Al-Ahmari said rents would now be determined by qualified evaluators.

“The move aims to put an end to the unjustified rent rises, especially in major cities,” he was quoted as saying.

The Saudi Shoura Council is presently debating whether to pay nationals annual rent allowances in a bid to fix the country’s housing shortage – it is estimated to need another 2m dwellings - by enabling them to save to build their own home.

However, experts have warned it could lead to increased rents and higher prices for building supplies and labour.

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