The Ministry of Housing has made it mandatory for all real estate firms to join its electronic Ijar system that seeks to regulate the rental market with measures to protect the rights of owners and tenants, and control prices.
The system was introduced in January this year but few firms signed up. This led the ministry to make the system mandatory, according to recent reports.
The ministry wants to ensure it can monitor the number and services of operators in the market, particularly those firms renting out houses and apartments to consumers.
Sources said that the Ijar system would provide many services needed by citizens and residents looking for rented accommodation. The program builds on the experiences of other countries.
The real estate market is currently characterized by a lack of organization, which often sees one residential unit registered with more than one firm. The sector also does not have clear contracts between tenants and firms, with rents being raised arbitrarily.
The new system defines the rights of tenants and property owners by having both parties sign a rental agreement via its electronic network, according to reports.
Registered real estate brokers would be able to provide services, verify tenants’ background and their credit rating. The Housing Ministry developed the system with the Ministries of Commerce and Interior.
The National Information Center will also allow network members to verify information on the database of contracts.
The ministry would work with the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency to allow tenants to pay their rent electronically, and ensure the verification of electronic signatures on contracts through the Communications and Information Technology Commission.
All rental agreements made through the network will be considered binding.
Originally published on www.zawya.com