RIYADH — The Saudi Real Estate General Authority (REGA) has begun legal action against real estate brokers who were accused of fraud and manipulation in the market.
Okaz/Saudi Gazette has learned from well-informed sources that these brokers, who were accused of giving fraudsters access to data collected by them while documenting rental contracts through the Ejar portal, were referred to the concerned authorities to take punitive measures against them.
According to the sources, the scam involved posting advertisements quoting attractive prices for rental units in websites to entice tenants, who were then pressurized him by various means such as the time limit and other impossible demands. The most dangerous of the methods was the misuse of personal data by fraudsters in a kind of cover-up to register them as real estate brokers. They then register contracts to win the confidence of others.
The authority earlier urged the public to report any suspicious transactions or unauthorized advertisement, and to ensure the completion of the process of documenting the electronic contract through the Ejar platform. It also informed tenants about obtaining the landlord’s approval of the contract before making payment. The authority cautioned against transferring money to individual bank accounts through electronic payment channels.
The fraudsters used data of some individuals, who unknowingly divulged personal information, for making bank transfers, or registering rental contracts in their names.
According to the Ejar platform guidelines, the property must be seen in the presence of the owner or the licensed real estate broker, and no deal shall be concluded with any unlicensed real estate agents or brokers.
The guidelines inform tenants not to be tempted by illogical rental offers, and visit the rental index to find out the average prices of rental units in specific areas.
The Ejar platform works to enhance reliability in the real estate rental sector, by achieving digital integration between a number of government agencies. This contributes to raising the level of transparency in the dealings between the parties to the rental process, and verifying the data of the dealers.
It also provides value-added solutions that increase the efficiency of transactions in standardized and approved contracts, which preserve the rights of the parties and reduce disputes in the real estate rental sector. Since its launch, Ejar has documented more than 6.5 million residential and commercial lease contracts.