Saudi dependents tax sees rents plunge and apartments empty

Published:  9 Aug at 6 PM
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Tagged: Australia, UAE
The newly introduced Saudi tax on expats’ dependents is causing stress to landlords as many expats have opted to send their families home.

Larger apartments are now being left empty, with ‘to let’ signs appearing on the buildings. According to one rental agent, landlords are now being forced to use his company’s services in order to let recently empty properties as the usual method of posting rentals on social media sites is no longer producing results. In addition, former renters don’t seem to be recommending friends or co-workers as new tenants, formerly a common occurrence.

Rentals are also being slashed in order to attract tenants, with one four-roomed apartment formerly rented out at SR24,000 a year now on offer at SR22,000 or less. Rents are expected to fall even further as more expatriate workers decide it’s more economical to send the family back to the home country than to pay the dependents fees.

For expats who’ve decided they’d had enough of Saudization and other such nationalistic plots as well as the situation in Qatar, leaving for a new challenge can be a wrench, especially for those who’ve grown used to the blatant but often stunning displays of wealth and luxury in the UAE. It’s relatively easy to move to another exotic land, but many will miss the unique environment of the Gulf States and the surreal experiences they provide.

Views such as Qatar’s West Bay skyline seen from the beach on MIA Park are hard to forget, with the pristine ocean lapping the smooth sands fronting towering skyscrapers flaunting the wealth of the emirate. The view from the harbour is even more stunning, especially when lounging on a cushioned chair smoking a ridiculously inexpensive Marlboro Lite and dreaming about your bank balance.

Perhaps the hardest of all breaks with the familiar is leaving the friends you’ve made since you arrived. Parties, brunches, events and other get-togethers are easy ways to meet other Western expats in the Gulf States, perhaps because almost everyone knows it’s only temporary.
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