This time, the residents of building numbers 4 to 16 are feeling the heat with the Dubai Development Board (DDB) slapping them with fresh eviction notices. The notices, which were pasted on the doors of apartments last week, directed the residents to hand over their keys to the board within the timeframes mentioned as the colony needed to be demolished.
A resident living in Building No. 4, who pleaded anonymity, said, “According to the information, the residents of buildings 4 to 8 have to hand over their keys and vacate by June this year. The residents of buildings 9 to 14 and the deluxe building, which also has shops, will have to vacate by the end of December. The residents of buildings 15 and 16 will have to move out by June 2009. This notice has given us a big shock and we don’t know what to do now,” he said.
Each building has more than 100 flats occupied by families and people of different nationalities. Building 4 alone has 188 apartments.
According to some residents, the tenants had a meeting a few days back and most of them were adamant that they would not leave.
“The officials of the Dubai Development Board had come a few days back and there were arguments with the residents. We stay in these flats at very reasonable rents. The building 4 consists of studio flats. We have to pay only Dh7,500 annually now.
“In Dubai, the real estate prices are soaring and we will not be able to afford them. Moreover, these notices were issued suddenly without any prior intimation. The authorities must provide us with alternative housing at reasonable rates,” said the tenants.
Last year, similar eviction notices were issued to the residents of buildings 1, 2 and 3. The move stirred up a major controversy with the tenants’ refusing to vacate under any circumstances.
After several meetings and discussions, a committee comprising officials of the DDB, Rent Committee, Municipal Council and Dubai Municipality decided that alternative flats would be provided to the residents in the Muhaisnah area (near Dubai Transport) in three phases. However, several families are still staying in these buildings.
“How do we move out? At the time when they promised us those flats, they said the rates would be reasonable. Last year in November, they suddenly said the rent for a one bedroom flat would be Dh35,000 and two-bedroom flat Dh45,000. Again after sometime, they further increased the rents and asked us to decide in two days. As a result, some of us could not move out. We are going to stay put here till the bulldozers come,” said an angry resident of building 2.
Though the senior officials of the Dubai Development Board did not comment on the issue, some officials said the buildings were very old and the residents were dwelling under unhygienic conditions.
“Moreover, there are many who are flouting norms by sub-letting their apartments to both the white- and blue-collared bachelors. It was clearly stated earlier that all the blocks would be demolished in phases,” said an official.
The officials did not clarify whether they would provide alternative housing for the tenants.
The residents said they would be meeting with the officials next week in order to try and sort out things.
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