Foreign diplomatic missions, global organizations can own headquarters, residences under amended Real Estate Law
The amended Law on Real Estate Ownership and Investment by non-Saudis allows foreign diplomatic missions accredited to the Kingdom to own their official headquarters and residences of the head of their missions and their members and that is on the basis of reciprocity.
There is also a provision in the amended law that permits international and regional organizations to own their official headquarters and that is within the limits of the agreements governing them. These ownerships would be granted on the condition of obtaining a license from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, it was specified in the amended law.
While announcing the amendments in the law in a statement on its Twitter account, the Ministry of Investment solicited opinions and suggestions from the public with regard to the provisions of the amended law.
The new law will replace the existing Law on Real Estate Ownership and Investment by non-Saudis, issued by a royal decree dated 12 Rajab 1390. The amended law will come into force 90 days after its publication in the Official Gazette. The executive regulations of the amended law will be issued by the order of the prime minister.
The amendments to the law were introduced with the aim of raising and improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the procedures and controls related to the ownership or use of real estate by non-Saudis, who enjoy natural and legal capacity, in cities and economic zones in the Kingdom targeted for development, including the cities of Makkah and Madinah.
The amended law targets non-Saudi natural and legal persons, who are either residents or non-residents, as well as citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states.
The amended law stipulates that it is not permissible, by any means other than inheritance, to acquire the right to own, use or have easement over real estate located within the boundaries of the Two Holy Mosques, for persons prohibited from entering there.
The law confirmed that this article correctly grants the right of ownership and the right of usufruct on real estate within the borders of the Kingdom, including Makkah and Madinah, as the current law stipulates the prohibition of this right.
The implementation of the provisions of the new law does not prejudice the acquisition of the right of ownership or any other original right over real estate through inheritance, as well as the regulations and decisions of the Council of Ministers and the royal orders that prevent ownership in some locations.
It is noteworthy that Saudi Arabia allowed in May 2021 non-Saudis to invest in listed companies and own real estate in Makkah and Madinah. The Cabinet approved exempting all Saudi-listed companies from the prohibition stated in Article No. 5 of the Law on Real Estate Ownership and Investment by non-Saudis.
The Capital Market Authority also said that all Saudi-listed companies would be able to invest in real estate located in Makkah and Madinah. Foreigners can also invest in investment funds that own real estate within Makkah and Madinah.