New Sharjah housing rule will not lead to rent hikes

The new diktat by the Sharjah Municipality on the number of people living in an apartment is unlikely to bring a windfall for landlords, with a real estate expert ruling out rents increases due to supply outstripping demand in the emirate.

“It is unlikely that the new rules will have an impact on rents as there is still quite a lot of availability within the Sharjah market particularly in older buildings,” says Lesley Preston, Director of Cluttons, Sharjah.

It was reported on Sunday that Sharjah Municipality had implemented stringent rules for attesting rental contracts and would allow only three people to stay in a studio apartment; four in one-bedroom; six in two-bedroom and nine in three-bedroom apartments.

In its first quarter 2012 report on Northern Emirates, Asteco, a Dubai-based real estate consultancy, said there had been little change in apartment rental rates in Sharjah, except for areas such as Al Majaz, Al Qasemeh, Al Nahda and Al Khan were rents declined between two and five per cent for studio, one, two and three-bedroom apartments.

In general, studio apartments were available for Dh15,000 to Dh24,000 per annum; one-beds were being leased for Dh17,000 to Dh30,000 pa; two-beds for Dh23,000 to Dh45,000 pa, while three-bed units were rented for Dh30,000 to Dh63,000 pa.

For year, apartment sharing in Sharjah has always been the most attractive option for budget conscious workers.

“The official rules, as now defined by the Sharjah Municipality, will help prevent over-crowding in buildings where the services are not designed to cope with such large numbers of occupants. The test will be if the authorities can monitor tenants activity and enforce these new changes,” says Preston.

In many cases, landlords already impose their own rules within their buildings, preventing apartment sharing. Moreover, they lease out units to single family occupiers with terms and conditions clearly stated when leasing.

“Should the municipality uphold these rules, it will hopefully make it easier for landlords to control the misuse of their properties and evict tenants who are sharing illegally,” she mentions.

In April , a statement from the communications arm of the government of Sharjah had said that the government had issued a directive that bachelors residing collectively in families-only residential zones must vacate the premises as their presence poses a concern to families living in such areas.

The statement also stated that the government had taken appropriate measures such as identifying suitable alternative accommodation for the labourers before evacuating them from families-only housing areas.

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