Al Nahda rents jump as Al Tayer fire-victims look for places to stay

Sharp landlords exploit fire tragedy to make money

Trust sharp businessmen to exploit a tragedy. And this is what seems to be happening in Al Nahda area of Sharjah in the wake of a major fire at the locale's prominent Al Tayer building.

A fire early on Saturday morning has rendered some 2,500 people homeless for the past three days. Unwilling to overstay their welcome with families and friends, quite a few of them have been out looking for alternate accommodation in neighbouring buildings - especially tenants of the 8 and 9 series of apartments - the worst affected by the fire.

Tenants have been allowed to visit their apartment to inspect fire damage and to salvage essentials, but they have not yet been permitted to live in their flats on safety concerns. Electricity and gas supply also remains disconnected.

"I want to live in the same area as I have my life sorted out with facilities in the area such as restaurants, grocery, laundry, car-lift etc. My children have friends there and we are happy there. But when I went to a neighbouring building they had raised the rent of their 2-bedroom apartment by Dh5,000 since the fire," said a Al Tayer resident.

"I had been interested in that building as its facilities are superior. I have been keeping track of rents there as I was going to move out from Al Tayer building in July this year and had already budgeted for the rent which was Dh42,000. On Monday, when I went there, they offered me the same 2-bedroom flat for Dh47,000 with a take-it-or-leave-it attitude," he said.

"I cannot stay in our old building anymore. I just can't. We have lost a lot in the fire, we have not been able to go to work, our lives have changed and these people are just interested in what they can get out of people who are already in trouble," added his wife.

Another resident said he had gone to look for an apartment in an adjoining building.

There the rent was raised by Dh2,000 since the fire.

"The only buildings that continue to offer the same old rent are the ones that we cannot live in. They are mostly used to accommodate large number of sharing' bachelors and we are family people," he said.

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