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Saudi Arabia

Shoura to define word ‘non-Saudi’

RIYADH: The Shoura Council will discuss next week a resolution pertaining to companies owned by non-Saudis that own property in Makkah and Madinah.

The applicable qualifications are set out in Article 5 of the Non-Saudi Ownership Law for Properties and Investment.
The Economic and Energy Committee of the Shoura Council is currently looking into the law that was promulgated through a Royal Decree on July 19, 2000. The aim is to discuss the term "non-Saudi" so that a study can be made on exceptions to this and to decide on what those exceptions are.
The committee is flexible about this, dealing with the term non-Saudi in a special way that can be included in the law and not as an interpretation from the Shoura but as a text that can be added as an amendment to the law so that the necessary exceptions to it can be made later.
Article 5 stipulates that non-Saudis can own property only if they inherited it. They are not entitled to property rights if the property was linked to waqf and if the Supreme Council of Endowment has a supervisory role in it. Non-Saudis have the right to lease property in Makkah and Madinah for two years and this can be renewed for similar periods of time.
Employees in the Ministries of Interior, Municipal and Rural Affairs, Trade and Industry, Justice and Haj are awaiting assignments for monitoring violations of the law and to refer them to the Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution which has jurisdiction in these cases.
Punishments for non-Saudi violators include selling the property at auction, with any excess amounts given to the seller. Building expenses should be referred to the treasury, after deducting 10 percent in fees from the original sum given to the seller or paid in building expenses, according to the Royal Decree.
Saudis who buy land inside Makkah and Madinah for non-Saudis will be penalized according to Article 5 of the system with a fine that equals 25 percent of the total payments made to the seller and building expenses.
Non-Saudis who gain the right to benefit from a property, including renting property inside the borders of Makkah and Madinah, will be penalized for violating Article 5 of the system and its executive list, with a fine that equals the value of the benefit.
Owners who lease their property to non-Saudis will be penalized with a fine that equals 50 percent of the value of the benefits the first time. If the offense is repeated, the owners will be penalized with a fine that equals the value of the benefit.

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