Residents of some apartment blocks in Sharjah are facing rent increases upon renewal of their contracts.
Some who have renewed their rent contracts this month have reported hikes of up to 17 per cent.
“My rent has been increased by 16.7 per cent for this year.
“Now, I will have to pay Dh35,000 per annum (pa) compared with Dh30,000 pa in 2015,” R. Sharma, an Indian, living in Al Khan area, told Emirates 24|7.
He had considered approaching the rental dispute committee, but found asking rents in his neighbourhood were almost the same, post his rent hike.
“I decided to live in the same place. Moreover, I would have to pay the cost of shifting, which would be an additional burden,” he said.
Another resident Rashid Khan from Pakistan said the rent of his one-bedroom apartment on the Sharjah Corniche has risen by Dh3,000. He now pays Dh32,000 pa.
“My rent has gone up for the third year in a row and every year my landlord has some excuse to hike my rent,” he added.
Expecting rates to go up
Residents in King Faisal Street and Abu Shagara have also voiced concern over rental hikes.
“My landlord has already informed the tenants of at least a 10 per cent increase in rents this year,” said Joe Sr, a Filipino, who lives in a two-bed unit on King Faisal Street, with his family. He added, “The landlord told us that he was doing so as his mortgage payment on the property has gone up as banks have increased interest rates.”
K. Sajeeshan, a resident of Abu Shagara, is expecting his housing cost to go up as his renewal is due in March.
“I am expecting an increase this year. We haven’t been informed yet, but we will know of the actual hike only when we visit the landlord’s office,” he informed.
In December 2015, Cluttons, a real estate consultancy, said residential rents in Sharjah had declined 1.6 per cent in the third quarter of 2015 compared to the same period last year, despite demand remaining strong for quality housing units.
The decline was the first in over two years, it added.
Emirates 24|7 did a comparison of the value table from Cluttons which showed lease rates for two-bedroom units in Sharjah were roughly 63 per cent and 50 per cent lower than Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Robin Teh, Country Manager, Chestertons UAE said the residential market witnessed a decline in rental rates primarily led by increase in vacancy rates due to the new supply into the Sharjah residential market in 2015.
“However, the absorption rates of new projects has been slow.”
He expects correction in the market to continue albeit at a slower pace, with high demand for prime areas around the Sharjah Corniche.
Rules and regulations
Sharjah does not allow any rent hike for the first three years.
We reported earlier that the Sharjah Municipality allows a landlord to fix a new rent post the expiry of three-year rent contract, but tenants can file complaint if they think the increase is 'unreasonable'.
Moreover, the emirate offers rent refund provided the tenant can furnish evidence of a force majeure event.
“The tenant can request for early termination prior to the expiry date to the landlord provided evidence of existence of a force majeure event can be furnished in the absence of a contractual provision in the lease,” Aruna Mukherji, Associate - Property Practice, Al Tamimi & Company, told this website.