Saudi controls ban collective housing for over 20 people

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Saudi Gazette report

JEDDAH — Saudi Arabia has started implementing new health regulations for collective housing for individuals. The regulations stipulate conditions taking into account public safety defined by relevant government sectors, Okaz Arabic daily said.

The controls specify that 20 or more people cannot be housed under one roof— regardless of the period of their stay — in or outside urban areas, unless they are abiding by the health conditions approved by the labor committees that are in place since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Umm Al-Qura, the Kingdom’s official gazette, the controls came into effect from Friday.

The controls included that in the regions and governorates where collective housing for individuals exist, the Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs would form permanent committees comprising members from the ministries of interior, municipal and rural affairs, health, human resources and social development, and housing. Their task would be to monitor and inspect such housing facilities to ensure implementation of the conditions set by health and other sectors for housing in and outside cities, and register any violations.

These committees shall report the violations to the minister of municipal and rural affairs — or whoever he delegates — and recommend appropriate punishment. They can even suggest closing the house, if they deem fit.

Any decision on monetary fine rests with the minister of municipal and rural affairs or whoever he authorizes. Anyone against whom a decision has been issued may move the administrative court in line with the provisions of the system of litigations before the Board of Grievances.

The controls stated that anyone who violates the preventive and health conditions and safety procedures shall be punished by imprisonment for a period not exceeding 30 days, or by a fine not exceeding SR1 million ($ 266,000) for each violation, or both.

There will be multiple penalties for multiple violations, and the penalties will be sterner in times of crises (such as the spread of epidemics, infectious diseases, natural disasters, or acts of terrorism or wars). Hence, the penalty will be stiffened to jail for a period not exceeding 180 days, or by a fine not exceeding SR1 million, or both, and the penalties will be multiplied commensurate to the number of violations.


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