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Rents in Makkah rise ahead of Haj
Landlords in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, are gearing up to kick tenants out ahead of the Haj, in order to charge pilgrims extortionate rents. They do this every year. It’s illegal.
November 11, 2009 1:41 by Badea Abu al-Naja
Rents in Makkah has skyrocketed due to an increased demand in accommodation for pilgrims, prompting landlords to ask tenants with yearly contracts expiring before the Haj to leave so as to accommodate pilgrims at extortionate prices.
The unprecedented rise in rent prices can also be attributed to the demolishing of buildings as part of the expansion of the Grand Mosque.
“I was living with my family at an apartment in the Aziziyah district of Makkah on a yearly contract,” said expatriate Ali Muhammad. “Everything was going well until around two months ago when the landlord asked me to clear out because he wanted to turn the building into a hotel,” he added.
Muhammad said he then began looking for another apartment and eventually found one for SR2,500 ($667) a month.
“I’ve taken it even though I only get paid SR1,800 ($480) a month as a teacher. I’m confident my new landlord will not turn his building into a hotel,” he said.
He added that he would stay at his new apartment for two months until the Haj finishes and then return to his old apartment.
“This is a continuous problem. We are made to pay rent until the Haj and then made to vacate our apartments because the landlord wants to rent the building to pilgrims and make huge amounts of cash,” he said.
Fahd al-Sharif, a Saudi citizen, accused landlords of opportunism.
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