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01 October 2023

Property agents exaggerate rental values in Sharjah

Picture only for illustrative purpose... Body transferred to forensic lab (Chandra Balan)

By Staff

Some real estate companies are putting exaggerated rent values on lease contracts in Sharjah, reports 'Emarat Al Youm' newspaper.

Current tenants in Sharjah confirmed that some real estate companies are asking them to cooperate with them in this fraudulent endeavour. Rental agencies pad up the annual rent values, however, the tenants are not expected to pay the extra amount added in the contract, at least not immediately.

The official document with the exaggerated numbers helps the agents ask for higher rents from new tenants only.

A Sharjah tenant, however, claimed that due to these increased values he has to pay higher annual fee to Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (Sewa).

“My rent is Dh27,000 but the amount mentioned in the tenancy contract is Dh3,000 more, which means I have to pay a higher Sewa fee. My rent has been increased for two consecutive years in 2013 and 2014 and now I fear the same for the next year also,” said the Sharjah resident, Abu Eman.

The tenants claimed that real estate companies are engaging in such fraudulent practices in order to increase the value of the rents the following year.

Some real estate experts have confirmed that certain firms are resorting to such practices in order to raise the value of the buildings in the hope the high rental yield would fetch them a better price when they sell the building eventually.

However, an official at Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry said it is just a few odd cases in the market and asked tenants to refuse to sign any contracts containing exaggerated rental numbers.

Meanwhile, Ahmed Hussein, a tenant in Sharjah said the real estate company that manages the building where he stays, raised the rent of his two bedroom flat to Dh75,000 from Dh42,000 during third lease renewal.

However, he was told that he would only have to pay Dh70,000 after he protested and threatened to make a formal complaint to the authorities about the steep hike.

He added that the firm agreed to reduce the rent to Dh70,00 provided he agreed to get the original contract papers attested by the municipality, which mentioned the exaggerated sum of Dh75,000.

In another case, a tenant named Mohammed Ali said he faced a similar situation when the real estate company official told him that he would have to pay Dh40,000 in rent for the first year, and Dh45,000 the subsequent years, as long as he signed on the official document with the exaggerated amount of Dh45,000.

One of the affected tenants, Ibrahim, called on the authorities to intervene and protect tenants and make new regulations to safeguard the tenants' interests.

Ali Haji Yousef Al Hamady, Director of Al Qudra Real Estate, says that such real estate companies that exaggerate amounts on leases, do not reflect the general situation in the market.

He added that certain companies operate in this manner only to raise the value of the buildings.

Saeed Ghanim Al Suwaidi, Chairman of the representative committee for the real estate sector in the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry,  said such are a few individual cases on the market. He said real estate companies resort to such manner in order to use these contracts to force other tenants to pay more rent.