Will new expat visa rules herald end of sharing accommodation?

Is it the end of the sharing accommodation concept, at least, for expats?

Well, not so, says a real estate expert, who argues that it is not possible for everyone to rent an apartment, big or small, in his or her own name.

On Wednesday, authorities made it mandatory for expats seeking to renew their visas to now submit a copy of their housing rent contract, which is either in their or their sponsor's name.

"They can't get all to rent apartments in their own name. It's not going to put an end to apartment sharing. And if the rule is being implemented, it will not augment well for larger apartments," Matthew Green, Head of Research & Consultancy, UAE, CB Richard Ellis, told Emirates 24|7.

The solution, he says, is to put names of those sharing the apartment on the rental contract, but admits it is difficult to say whether the move will lead to increase in rents in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Green believes the move is more of administrative measure but clarification will soon be made.

When contacted, an Abu Dhabi call centre employee told this newspaper: "People who have to renew their visa have to bring the housing rent contract in their name with their electricity bills or a contract in name of their sponsor."

Susan, who shares a Shoreline apartment in Palm Jumeirah, says: "I want to stay in Dubai and on the Palm. I alone cannot afford to pay the full rent of the apartment and hence I am sharing with two more people."

She adds: " I don't know what I have to do... My visa renewal comes in December before that I hope the authorities will ease this regulation."

Rashid D, who works with a PR company in Abu Dhabi, is sharing an apartment in Jumeirah Lakes Towers.

"I am literally confused... why they have to come up with rules that make our lives miserable. For me, sharing is the only option if I want to live in Dubai since it works much cheaper than renting a full apartment."

He further states: "My company does not provide me with accommodation. I hope my company will now provide us accommodation in Abu Dhabi than give me a house allowance."

In March, Asteco Property Management said that release of new stock is likely to push rents down further in Abu Dhabi.

A one-bedroom apartment is now available for between Dh80,000 and Dh100,000 per annum, while a two-bedroom unit can be leased for between Dh105,000 and Dh150,000 pa. In general, apartment and villa rents declined five per cent, Asteco said.

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