The Court of Appeal in Jeddah upheld an earlier verdict pronounced by the General Court to vacate a private school by the tenants in favour of the landlord. The decision was taken after finding fault with the tenants with regard to the prompt payment of rent as agreed upon by the two parties. The ruling became final and was referred to the competent authority to complete all the procedures in this regard.
According to the ruling, the heirs of a businessman filed a lawsuit before the court requesting the annulment of a contract for leasing a private school due to the school operators’ delay and failure to pay the agreed-upon rent since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic period until the current year. The petitioners said in their lawsuit that the property’s tenants delayed paying the rent, in violation of what was stated in the terms of the rental contract. Hence, they demanded the court’s intervention to annul the contract, get the property vacated, and oblige the owners of the private school to pay the rent arrears amounting to SR600,000.
While examining the case, the Jeddah General Court reviewed the documents submitted by the heirs and the response of the tenants. The school operators justified their delay in paying rent saying that they made a request to reduce the amount of rent for the school closure period following the outbreak of the pandemic. The tenants also stated that they did not know the accounts of the heirs or their agent, which caused the rent amount not to be delivered.
In response to this, the heirs maintained that what the tenants of the property said was incorrect, indicating that they provided evidence that they agreed in writing with them to reduce the value of the rent during pandemic period by about 30 percent during the period of suspension of studies. The heirs also proved that the school administration had previously transferred rent to the bank account of the heirs. In addition to that, it was proven that there was an agreement to reduce the rent for the period of suspension of in-person attendance of school.
In the meantime, the tenants submitted an additional responsive memorandum to the court explaining that handing over the property to the landlord would cause harm to the students and their parents in addition to inflicting serious damage to the educational activities as the property is serving as the headquarters of the school. After several sessions of hearing and listening to the defences of both parties to the dispute, the court urged them to explore the possibility of reconciliation and gave the two parties a grace period to do so but to no avail.
Subsequently, the court received a memorandum from the heirs explaining that the tenants of the property were procrastinating, and they had not reached a settlement with them. They complained that the tenants did not respond to their phone calls and WhatsApp messages, and hence they demanded once again that the property in question be vacated and handed over to them without further delay.
The General Court reviewed the correspondence and WhatsApp communications between the two parties and accepted it as digital evidence. After verifying the validity of the lawsuit and the tenants’ failure to pay the agreed-upon rent, the court considered this as a breach in the terms of the contract.
The court concluded its decision by ordering the tenants to vacate the rented property and hand it over to the landlord. The court gave the parties 30 days to object to the ruling before the Court of Appeal. Later, the ruling became final when the Court of Appeal rejected the appeal filed by the tenants