Abu Dhabi Steps Up Drive to Curb Illegal Sub-letting of Housing

ABU DHABI — The Abu Dhabi Municipality has stepped up inspections of villas and traditional houses in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Al Gharbia to curb illegal partitioning and sub-letting to families and singles, Dr Juwan Salim Al Dhahiri, Chairman of the Municipal Affairs Department, told Khaleej Times on Monday.

By Adel Arafah

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Published: Wed 8 Oct 2008, 1:06 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 7:29 PM

The landlords of such villas and houses, he said, were abusing the current housing crunch for short-term financial gains, posing a risk to the safety and security of people and property.

The intensified inspections against illegal partitioning of homes follows the campaign launched by the municipality early this year against such violations. Notices were served on landlords of 520 villas and houses ordering eviction of multiple families and removal of illegal partitions on their premises within six months.

Of them, 176 cases have been referred to the courts for action. Earlier, the court had handed down one-month jail sentences to three investors and fined each of them Dh50,000 for breaching the rules for letting villas and houses.

The court had slapped Dh50,000 fine on several other landlords and ordered removal of the illegal partitions in their houses.

Omar Al Hashemi, Director of Municipal Services Office, told Khaleej Times that the civic body had obtained about 120 municipality court orders of eviction against offenders. Legal procedures are on to enforce the orders.

The law governing construction in the emirate stipulates a jail sentence of not more than a year, plus a fine of not more than Dh50,000 and not less than Dh5,000 for tampering with the structure of the buildings and partitioning rooms without approval of the bodies concerned.

Al Hashemi said under the ongoing campaign against sharing of villas, the court grants tenants six months to vacate depending on the nature of the offence and partitions. The court could also order immediate removal of the partitions and vacation of the property by the tenants.

He said the campaign was launched due to the unhygienic living conditions in villas where multiple families are living. In addition, it poses safety threats to the tenants.

“Imagine 11 persons crammed into a small bedroom and sleeping shoulder to shoulder in unhygienic and dangerous environment,’’ he referred to one such case of violation.

Some of these houses, he said, are accommodating up to 50 persons, making these units a fertile ground for diseases.

Asked about the solution to the housing problem in the emirate, he said, ‘’The municipality is striving to solve this problem by building more properties at the Mohammed bin Zayed City and Khalifa City to provide residential units for all segments, mainly the low-income groups.”

Meanwhile, a comprehensive law is being drafted to fight the sharing of accommodation across the country; it is likely to be ready in a few months.

The law is being prepared by a committee comprising representatives of several bodies such as the police and judicial department. The law will stipulate the penalties for landlords, investors and tenants who breach the tenancy contracts and rent apartments out to single men and women.


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