Abu Dhabi : High Rent Impact 50 Tenants in Three Rooms


Abu Dhabi - Feb. 05: Intensive inspection campaigns recently launched by the Abu Dhabi Municipality on a large number of housing villas and apartments in Abu Dhabi and its suburbs have revealed a large number of violations to housing laws.

The violations have been and are still committed by both the landlords and the representatives of real estate bureaus, who introduce changes in house structures by altering the design and areas of rooms so as to meet the increasing demand on "sharing" housing units, as a result of the high value of rentals.

A large number of contracting companies have started carrying out housing projects, mostly villas, as these have been proved to be one of the best investments, the quickest in implementation and the highest in revenues.

Owners of such villas or apartments, and their representatives divide their housing units into very small rooms, mostly lacking all kinds of public health, security or social privacy.

Even the roofs, kitchens, bathrooms and maid rooms at those housing units were turned into bedrooms.

The landlords introduced partitioning amends in the roofs, kitchens and bathrooms of their villas and apartments, as well as the maids' rooms, so as to accommodate as much people as possible.

Instead of leasing the villa to one family only, you might find four or five families residing in the same villa.

Instead of leasing a three-bedroom apartment to six or even nine singles; you might find about 50 people living in that apartment!

The agents responsible for renting those units follow various means, according to the nature of the leasers, their financial capabilities and their accommodation period.

The single resident might lease his place by the meter or by the bed. In some cases, the resident might lease a bed for only 12 hours per day.

Accordingly, one might find a one-bedroom crowded with two-level beds, accommodating six or even eight singles.

By applying such methods in the rest of the rooms, you might find one villa accommodating an unimaginable number of residents. You might even find families living in the same villas with singles.

These developments have become a threatening phenomenon to the ethics and social values.

Amer Aly, an employee, spent a long time until he was introduced to an agent who leases villas.

"She offered to rent me one of the 'partitioned' rooms on the roof of a villa. That room was so small that it accommodated two persons with no luggage. The room had no windows or any ventilation outlets. The door didn't even have any locks. I was shocked when I saw the villa in general," he said.

Even the villa's garden was not left empty. A number of small wooden-built rooms were set up in the garden, in addition to the janitor's room, which accommodated a family of four members. There was a room under the staircase of the villa and four rooms on the roof.

"On entering the villa, I felt I was in some kind of a governmental department, crowded with employees. It also looked like a nursery crowded with children. What was common among all the 'partitioned' rooms was the lack of windows and all kinds of safety measures. The four-bedroom villa was actually turned into a 23-bedroom villa," he pointed out.

Aly said that on his last day at that "horrible" room, he was surprised to see eight young men and women knocking at the door, holding their luggage.

"When I opened the door, they told me that they were the new leasers of the room. I was surprised simply because the room was barely enough for two people, so how could eight people stay in that room. How would they sleep? They told me that they had to accept such a tough status as they failed to find any suitable housing," he noted.

Mohamed Al Athamena, an employee, described such "partitioned" rooms as resembling the match boxes.

"We actually could not blame the people who decide to stay in such inhuman conditions. What could they do anyway? We also could not blame the landlord, who is trying to get as much money as he could to increase his income. There is an increasing demand on the housing units, with a very limited supply. How could a newly-married foreign resident lease a suitable apartment?" he asked.

The rental value of a two-bedroom apartment has now jumped over Dhs100,000 per year.

"Nevertheless, we still didn't lose the hope that the rental values might improve with the interference of the government. We are all hopeful that senior officials might eventually sympathise with low-income people," he said.

Mohamed Fouad, an employee at a real estate bureau, admitted that a large number of landlords try to make the highest financial benefit possible from their housing units.

"They place partitions in the rooms and put as much beds as possible so that the apartment would accommodate the largest number of people, regardless of being singles or families. Some of them even turn the kitchens into bedrooms. They rent such rooms either by the bed or by the meter," he noted.

"One room only occupied by about 10 people might be rented for Dhs20,000 per year. An originally two-bedroom apartment might be divided into about eight or even ten 'partitioned' rooms, in addition to turning the kitchen into a separate room and sometimes the bathrooms too," he admitted.

According to Abdullah Nasser Al Jeneby, General Director of Public Services Sector at the Abu Dhabi Municipality, the issue of random housing will have a very bad and risky impact, especially on public health.

"We are trying our best by launching intensive inspection campaigns to limit such phenomenon. The greedy investors and landlords have gone so far that they even turned the bathrooms and kitchens into bedrooms. It has become a human tragedy by all means. Imagine a three-bedroom apartment having 50 residents," he said.

"There is no doubt that the air inside such apartment is not healthy at all and the people residing in it are liable to all kinds of illnesses, in addition to safety risks threatening their lives," he cautioned.


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Comment on this article

  • Mohan H Naik, Mangaluru

    Wed, Feb 06 2008

    I agree with Mr. Lawrence comments. One can understand a poor construction worker forced to occupy a shabby accommodation, as his poverty is exploited. But the fact that, many white collar job executives, having VILLAS back home living( ? ) in so called 'Voluntary shabby sharing accommodation', just to save few bucks is not convincing. In fact such trends only degrade ‘Indian standard’,

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  • Felix, Mangalore/Abu Dhabi

    Tue, Feb 05 2008

    This is a well timed and informative article on the plight of hapless migrants. Just a suggestion, why not legalise the sub tenancy, like in most of the cosmopolitan cities of the world. This will solve major problem. Authorities may set procedure for the same, like police certificate and sponsor's letter along with the respective embassy/counsul authentication. In doing so even the singles can be accomodated with families and also a self regulatory control on the singles themselves.

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  • Shrinath Shet (Anvekar), Udupi

    Tue, Feb 05 2008

    Well, there is a famous saying in Kannada, "Doorada Betta Nodalu Chenda". I hope you have understood it better. Thats life, Jeeva-Na. Have nice day. Shrinath Shet, BE, M.Tech, Dip Journalism, MISTE.

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  • Rosline, Dubai

    Tue, Feb 05 2008

    This is Gulf life. All are suffering because the demand is more and supply is less. Government action is needed to accommodate small and middle class families by adding more housing but the developers are aiming mostly with permanent lease/ ownership business, wherein they can earn high returns within a short period.

    If workers are not provided with accommodations, even though labour law prescribes mandatory, people still don't complain, because they have a responsibility of supporting their families back in their homeland. They have landed here either by paying huge amounts or with a hope to earn their living. Who can tie a belt to the cat? This is what called “Sacrifice”.

    Thnaks to Daiji world is reporting this article so that many can think before they come to this land from their home town for a living or work in their own land in a better way.

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