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House-hunting in 30 days
That’s what people sharing a villa in Dubai have to start doing, and the municipality has promised strict action against those who don’t comply.
September 22, 2008 3:48 by kippreport
Dubai Municipality just announced that all the people sharing villas across the city have to move out of their homes within the next 30 days. If a villa is found to have too many tenants – single men (or women) sharing, or more than one family – landlords will be hit with a fine of up to Dh50,000.
The Municipality has also said that if they find people breaking the rules, they will disconnect the water and electricity. As daily 7 Days put it, “Pack your bags now.”
This initiative is called “Let us protect our residential environment…together,” and it is part of a two-year-old campaign launched by the municipality.
According to the official press release, Dubai thinks that multi-family housing and working people sharing a unit (both of which are pretty normal in most other parts of the world) are a threat to “social stability.”
Extra people in a villa are also thought to “add pressure on the service amenities like water, electricity and sewage, leading to health and environment problems,” according to the head of Dubai’s building inspection department.
Arabian Business quotes the official saying cases of shared flats will be taken up at a later date. In Dubai International City, there are already restrictions on the number of people who are allowed to share apartments.
And in spite of the rent cap in Dubai, landlords are finding new ways to milk tenants. Kipp reported earlier that Deyaar has suddenly started charging parking fees of Dh3,500 a year.
In fact there are also rumors doing the rounds that the Dubai government is planning to remove the rent cap.
With a shortage of accommodation and rents continuing to shoot up, it’s no surprise that single professionals and middle-income families would want to share houses and apartments. These restrictions are sure to raise the level of anger and frustration among those struggling to find affordable housing.
Is the government genuinely worried about the social and health conditions that people live in?
Perennially, there is talk of property prices coming down, or perhaps crashing, as the number of new units coming online starts to outpace with Dubai’s population growth. The latest prediction says property prices will fall 20 percent by 2011.
Depending on the extent of the sharing crackdown, an uptick in supply might easily be met by growth in demand among existing residents forced to live on their own.
So despite the threat of fines to landlords, this crackdown is likely to help keep prices high – something that benefits existing property owners.