Abu Dhabi authorities have intensified a campaign to flush out bachelors sharing one room in large numbers or those living in villas in violation of new rules banning such practices within a strategy to ensure a safe and healthy environment.
Bachelors caught violating those rules are fined Dh10,000 and they will not be barred from leaving the country unless they pay the entire fine.
The Abu Dhabi Municipality has also warned landlords abusing such regulations that they could be deprived of government services, including water and electricity, but it is still not clear if such penalties have been enforced.
Authorities in the emirate have given inspectors from the Municipality the green light to raid any villa or apartment suspected of breaking those roles.
“The raids are conducted randomly and cover various parts of the city and its outskirts, mainly those with large population concentrations,” a Municipality source said.
Officials said bachelor tenants caught living in large number in one room or in villas would be immediately fined Dh10,000 without a prior notice and that they will not be allowed to leave the UAE unless they pay that fine.
“I was living with my five other work colleagues in one room in a villa. Once, I heard the door bell ringing and I opened the door. Two inspectors from the Municipality asked me how many of us are living there,” said Ali Mahmoud, an Egyptian mobile phone worker.
“When I told them there were seven of us, they wanted to see the rent contract, which was in my name. They fined me Dh10,000 and gave us one month to evict the flat.”
Mahmoud said he forgot to pay the fine a few months after he was served that notice, adding that he saved money and planned to travel home to get married.
“I was travelling through Sharjah because the air ticket was cheaper. I was going home to get married when they stopped me at Sharjah airport,” he said.
“They told me that I have a Dh10,000 fine and I exceeded the deadline for its payment. I was jailed for one week before I paid the fine.”
In a statement in 2012, Abu Dhabi authorities told landlords they are allowed to rent their property to bachelors provided a maximum three men are allowed in one room at an apartment. They also warned that renting villas to bachelors is strictly banned.
The Municipality said it would conduct random raids on suspected apartments to ensure compliance with the decision, which it said is intended to maintain discipline in the emirate’s property market and regulate rents for bachelors.
It also said that bachelor living in one room in an Abu Dhabi apartment would not be granted attestation for their rent contract if they are more than three.
Regarding villas, the Municipality said they are all governed by one tenancy contract as a single housing unit, adding that they cannot be divided into separate units for tenants.