End of sharing apartments in Dubai? Landlords warn tenants

Notice by a landlord (SUPPLIED)

Landlords in Dubai were allowing tenants to share apartments until last year, with some putting adverts with the tag line “sharing allowed” just to increase occupancy in their buildings. But all that is changing.

Landlords in the leasehold and freehold areas of the emirate have started informing tenants to stop apartment sharing or else they might face penalties or even contract termination.

“We were allowed to share our apartment until last year. Our landlord did not mind we keeping a sub-tenant. Earlier this year, there was a notice that has asked us to stop sharing of our apartments,” K Milind, a resident of Karama, told 'Emirates24|7'.

Although his rent contract does have a clause that prohibits sharing, the landlord’s representative had verbally allowed him to share his apartment.

Sharing the apartment did aid in reducing Milind’s housing cost by 40 per cent.

“I pay Dh38,000 per year for a two-bed apartment. By leasing one-bed, my rental cost comes down by almost 40 per cent as my tenant pays close to Dh15,000 per year to me. All was working out fine for me. However, we have now asked our tenant to leave.”

In freehold communities such as Discovery Gardens, building owners in the Zen Cluster have put up notices next to the elevators, asking tenants to stop sharing.

A notice posted in building no 17 of Discovery Gardens, a master community comprising 291 buildings, states: “This serves as a reminder to all tenants, that sharing and sub-leasing is strictly prohibited in the building.

“As per the lease agreement you have signed, this will constitute as a breach of contract and will qualify for the landlord’s right to tenants eviction. Kindly make sure that you are within the allowable number of occupants.”

Landlords are including clauses in the rent contract that bar tenants from sharing or sub-leasing and a breach of contract could lead to eviction.

Trakhees, which manages controls, regulates and enforces rules and regulations related to environment, health and safety in various freehold communities, has stated that the maximum allowable occupancy limit for apartments under its authority is one person per 200 square feet from the total property area.

Violators face a minimum fine of Dh1,000 or a maximum of Dh50,000.

Communities managed by Trakhees include Palm Jumeirah, Discovery Gardens, International City, Jumeirah Lakes Towers.

The Dubai Municipality also follows the same regulation on occupancy limit in apartments. They do crackdown occasionally with violators being fined up to Dh50,000.

Dubai is likely to get over 36,000 new units in next three years, CB Richard Ellis had said, which meant on average only 12,000 units per year would enter the market.