Cafeterias eye shopping malls for better business

DUBAI — Small shopkeepers and cafeteria owners are planning to shift their businesses to bigger shopping malls due to the harassment from greedy landlords.

By Joy Sengupta

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Published: Sun 8 Apr 2007, 8:49 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 1:37 AM

The landlords are sparing no effort to trouble the small shopkeepers. The recent case in which the landlord of the Bab Al Madina Supermarket in Bur Dubai allegedly blocked all entry points into the building on the pretext of renovation is a glaring example of this trend.

The Metro construction work going on all over Dubai also compounded the woes of these people as round-the-clock work is preventing customers from visiting their shops. Their sales dipped sharply in the recent months as their shops have become inaccessible to the public due to the construction work.

As Vinay Chawla, who owns a cafeteria near the Khaleej Centre in Bur Dubai said: “The conditions have become very tough for us now. The sales have dipped mainly due to the metro work. The labourers are working all day and there is no space left for the customers to come. Besides this, every year the landlord is increasing the rent. I pay Dh60,000 per year now and next year it is going to increase even. Now I am thinking of a place in the Khaleej Centre or at some other shopping mall. That place might be costly but then I would find many customers. And there would not be pressure from the landlords,” he lamented.

Better prospects

Ali, who also owns a cafeteria at the Rigga Road, echoed the same point of view. “The construction work at the Rigga Road doesn’t seem to be over. And our business has been badly affected. Now I have talked to the officials of the Ghurair City Mall for some space. I would have to pay a lot more but then the business would also be more. I hope to shift within a couple of months,” he said.

According to most of them, the Dubai Rent Committee needs to be even more strict with landlords. “We are not saying that the authorities are not doing their jobs. But then they need to do more. The landlords always threaten to cancel our tenancy contracts. Many of them try to increase the rent by either calling it as an increased electricity or water bill. We sometimes feel helpless,” said another, who has a aquarium shop at Deira.

“I am trying for a shop in one of the shopping centres. I have heard that the rents there are high. But then I want to get rid of this everyday problem,” he added.

The officials of the Dubai Rent Committee pointed out that the landlords could not cancel the tenancy contract or remove the tenants unless they had a valid reason.

Mohammed Al Shaikh, the Secretary General of the Committee said: “The landlord has to give a concrete reason. If he says that he wants to live in it, then we would like to know where he was living earlier and why he is leaving the earlier house. And if we find that he has given the house on rent to new tenants, he would be fined heavily. The same can be said about the commercial establishments as well,” he said.

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