Rising rent roping in other problems
With inflation soaring, people are forced to share accommodation to curb rents, which in turn is leading to overcrowding and other domestic issues.
September 14, 2008 10:03 by kippreport
The ‘rising rent’ saga is becoming a universal and endless one. According to local statistics, the rent of apartments throughout Saudi Arabia has spiraled by 20-50 percent since the beginning of this year alone, reports Arab News.
Many families have begun sharing apartments to combat the rising costs of living. “We share a two-bedroom apartment with two other families,” said Joanna Lopez, a Filipino nurse. “We have divided two bedrooms and a living room into separate living areas, and share the kitchen and restroom,” she said, adding that this is the only way by which she can send money home and survive in the Kingdom.
“Since relocating from a village near Jeddah in search of work, I have been forced to live with my cousin’s family in their apartment, until I am able to save money and rent my own home,” said M. Al Hindawi, a 26-year-old Saudi who got married last year and is expecting his first child.
“When we knew we would be coming to Jeddah we located a place to live with the help of Internet advertisements, and made arrangements with another Indian family living in the Rehab district,” said Syed Khan, an expatriate worker.
But not everyone likes the idea of sharing accommodation. Single families, living within the same building as apartment sharers, complain of problems ranging from loud noise levels to unsanitary living.
“We were the first to move into this building in the Al Safa district when it was newly constructed over 20 years ago,” said H. M., a Saudi mother of six. “The building has in the last three to four years suffered a serious problem with a lack of water,” she said. “We are unable to bathe, clean, or cook, and have been especially hard hit as we are fasting during Ramadan,” she added. The problem first began when a large family consisting of a couple and their nine children moved into an apartment above hers. “A few weeks later they invited their relatives – six of them – to share their apartment,” she said. She added that she, as well as other tenants, is required to pay $6 per week as water fees to ensure the building has sufficient water. “I don’t think it is fair. There is hardly any water in spite of paying money.
Other single-occupancy families living in the same building are also upset with the lack of water. The only way they can ensure a supply of water for their daily chores is to store it in as many plastic water containers as possible when the water tanker comes.
“We have tried to keep a week’s supply of water in plastic containers but have found that this isn’t always a solution to the water problem. Stored water begins developing bacteria due to the heat ,making it unfit to bathe in or cook with,” said the resident of another apartment, who wished to remain anonymous. Arab News was unable to contact the building’s landlord for comment.
The resident added that multiple families living in one residential unit is a violation of the standard rent contract. In that event the building owner has the right to cancel the contract.
“Some owners agree to have more families or individuals living in a residential unit for an additional rent,” said one of the residents.
This is a story which will be very familiar to the UAE residents, who are also struggling with increasing rents. In Dubai, however, rules regulating the number of occupants per building have become very strict, with many people forced out of their shared homes.
While countries around the world are grappling with inflation, the region has to take steps to prevent extreme conditions like water scarcity and stagnation.