Opinion

Ejar Unified Contract for residential rent: A review

November 20, 2018
Ejar Unified Contract for residential rent: A review
Waleed Shwaila

With many government-to-citizen services being developed and put into use in recent years, Saudi Arabia’s citizens and residents alike have now been granted the Ejar Unified Contract. A standardized rental contract system, the Ejar Unified Contract was launched by the Ministry of Housing this year. Its purpose is to ease the residential rental process for both landlords and tenants. A clear and straightforward contract, it erases the headaches that often come with the rental process, by outlining basic essential information needed to legally rent or rent-out a property in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The newly-established unified contract is seven pages in length, consisting of organized categories for data concerning the potential tenant and property owner.

Found on the official website of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Housing, the unified contract is offered in both Arabic and English, which is necessary considering the substantial number of expatriates renting homes in the Kingdom. With that being said, the English-language contract is error-ridden. From grammatical mistakes to typos to incomprehensible statements, the contract is in need of a rework. An official ministry-issued legal document of this caliber ought to be error-free and accurate to the dot. Proofreading, done by both linguists and legal experts, is necessary prior to releasing such a document.

The vast majority of the errors lie in the “Obligations by Parties” category stretching from the third page of the contract to the sixth, which consist of legal articles serving as terms and conditions.

First, under article 3/1, it is stated that the dates of rental periods shall be mentioned in “Hijri and Georgian Dates”. The correct term here would be “Gregorian”. The term is twice miswritten in this article.

Under article 5/5 and in other articles to follow, the pronoun “He” is used to represent the tenant and/or landlord. Women are surely eligible to be primary parties in rental agreements. Therefore, “He” is to be replaced with “He/She”.

Under articles 5/9 and 6/6, the phrases “mutual parts of leased rental units” and “mutual parts of the property” is used, and it is unclear what “mutual parts” could entail. It may be that “all facilities of leased rental units” and “all facilities of the property” would be the correct alternatives.

Under article 7/1 and in other articles to follow, the term “Lessor” is always capitalized, while the term “tenant” is never capitalized. Not only is this a grammatical error, but it could also be construed that the lessor is somehow of higher status and importance than that of the tenant. This should not be the case.

Under article 8/1/2, the phrase “the thing” is used. It is unclear as to what “the thing” entails. Generally, this phrase should never be used in legally-binding documents of this caliber. Details are always preferred. And apart from the phrase itself, article 8/1/2 as a whole seems to be incomprehensible.

Under article 9/1, the phrase “if the tenant kept the same” is incomprehensible. The correct phrase would be “if the tenant remained in the property” or something similar.

Under article 13/1, it is stated that any dispute between both parties of the contract shall be resolved within 15 days of the start of the dispute. However, it is not mentioned what should be done if the dispute is not resolved within those 15 days. It is possible that this article is missing important details regarding dispute settlement.

This concludes the mistakes discovered upon skimming through the newly-established Ejar Unified Contract system. There are a few other basic typos, punctuation mistakes, and phrases that lack clarity as well, that have not been mentioned. Anyhow, it is clear that the English-language version of the contract does require review.

With that being said, the Ministry of Housing has done a tremendous favor for citizens and residents of the Kingdom via the Ejar Unified Contract system. Regardless of the errors, the unified contract system provides rental ease and comfort for tenants and landlords alike. However, a review and modification of the English-language contract would be ideal.

The writer is a Saudi political analyst specializing in foreign affairs and protocol. He can be reached at: waleedaasa@gmail.com / Twitter: @waleedalg


November 20, 2018
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