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Old 12-10-2009, 12:28 AM   #1
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Location: Rhode-Saint-Genese(Sint-Genesius-Rode) Belgium
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Default Saudi Arabia:After the flood...Landlords make a killing from crisis

JEDDAH: Landlords and businesses have exploited the flooding disaster in Jeddah by hiking prices. Some local stores and car repair shops started the trend by increasing their prices dramatically. Car towers, which normally charge SR50 to SR100 within Jeddah, hiked their prices to over SR500.
A landlord in Al-Safa decided to take advantage of the situation by charging his tenants an extra SR6,000 in rent despite the fact the floods had not affected the district. The landlord distributed a letter to the tenants that read: Dear tenant, due to the recent rain floods in Jeddah, the following has been decided. If you want to continue for one more year, the rent price is increased to SR22,000 (from SR16,000) as of January this year. This is a final and non-negotiable decision. The choice is yours, to stay and pay or be evicted.

This is a sudden, sharp and unjustified increase in rent price. I am not against raising prices if it is within the normal limits, said one tenant, who did not wish to be identified.
What I am against is how come he is affected by the floods in Jeddah? We are living in Al-Safa district, which is far away from the disaster areas. I see no connection, he added.
If the landlord is really affected by the floods like he claims in his letter, then he should not be taking advantage of the situation and be unpatriotic, said Ali, another resident who visited Arab News and also wished to remain anonymous.
Moving from one apartment to another is costly and a headache. Some of the tenants have left already. I would understand the sudden increase if he made some repairs in the building but he did not.
It appears landlords are the ones who benefit in the absence of specific laws that protects tenants from such dilemmas and rent increases.
Ali explained that under the law the landlord is allowed to get away with it because it is his property. In Dubai few years back, it was illegal to increase rent by more than five percent a year. I do not know what the percentage of increase is but it is a lot, he added.
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