A striking contrast: American landlords prepare to boot tenants; Saudi landlords refuse to accept rent

The headlines in the two newspapers couldn’t be any different.

The New York Times reported “An ‘avalanche of evictions’ could be bearing down on America’s renters.” Meanwhile, Arab News reported “Saudi landlords exempt tenants from paying rent.”

As both nations continue to grapple with the economic fallout from coronavirus, their commitment to their more vulnerable members couldn’t be more striking.

The New York Times story notes that renters who have lost their jobs since the pandemic forced businesses to close soon could be tossed on the street if they’re unable to meet their monthly rent requirements. The story adds that financial help from the federal government isn’t likely.

$3 trillion coronavirus relief bill backed by House Democrats includes a proposal to dedicate $100 billion for rental assistance, a measure that could bring broad relief, but Republicans have criticized the package as too costly, and it is unlikely to pass in its current form.

In Saudi Arabia, where, as is true everywhere in the Islamic world, Ramadan ended mere days ago, landlords are affirming a commitment to stop rental responsibilities for business owners and private citizens.

It is worth noting that the Saudi initiative also covers non-Saudi citizens.

Dr. Khalid Alharthi, the head of Mubadiroon Volunteer Team, said one of the brighter sides of a crisis is the fact that it strengthens social solidarity and ties, adding that social initiatives are essential during the time of a crisis because they can alleviate the suffering of the weak and frail.

The capital cities of the United States and Saudi Arabia sit roughly 6,800 miles/11,000 kilometers apart The distance between them in caring for people in need right now seems even further.

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