One day in April 2022, we receive a text from our landlord:

“When your contract expires, I am going to raise the rent. It will no longer be 15,000 but 19,000 SAR per year.”

We thought, okay. At first, the 25% increase shocked us. But in the end we weighed our options and said “fine.” A quarter of Jeddah has been demolished to build more modern neighborhoods, rents are going up everywhere. We’d rather take that increase than bother with finding another apartment and moving. And don’t get me started on the cats…

September 2022, a quick encounter by the elevator:

“I changed my mind. I will increase the annual rent to 26,000 Saudi Riyals. The contract expires soon. What’s your take on it?”

Not a chance.

For this apartment, which we single-handedly turned from a hole into a home, while he didn’t fix the windows, neither did he repair the electrical sockets in 3 years, we had to change the sink and water heater ourselves… I could go on and on. For all the noise we put up with, first from the neighbors at night, then the every day noise from our very own stingy housing tycoon renovating his top floor for his own family… In return, he expects us to pay almost double the annual rent for all this crap?!

“If you want to get rid of us, just say so. We have been in this building for the longest time, our payments always without fault, all the other apartments have changed tenants during our stay. This is too high a price, so we will be moving elsewhere,” Tamer told him in his face.

“Well, let’s see how you feel at the end of the month,” the owner muttered, when Tamer had already turned away and entered the elevator.

Looking back, I don’t think he believed we would move. Tamer says that he probably thought money would not be an issue, because we always paid all the bills on time. Apparently, other renters must have procrastinated much longer.

Our greedy landlord must have miscalculated the finances of his little project on the terrace above us. After more than three months, his plans were nowhere near the finish line, so it must have hit him: “Eureka, I’ve got it! I shall raise the rents. I’ll have my idiot renters covering everything for me.”

Nope. Not a chance.

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