Talks to sin­gle men and women str ug­gling to af­ford some­where to live in Shar­jah

7 Days in Dubai - - NEWS -

Sin­gle peo­ple on low in­comes in Shar­jah claim they have no choice but to flout rules on shar­ing vil­las as they can­not af­ford to live else­where.

The low­est monthly rent for a flat in the emi­rate is about Dhs2,500, how­ever this is still be­yond many of them. In­stead, they choose to share with oth­ers in res­i­den­tial ar­eas, even though the fines could be more than a year’s salary.

Syr­ian ex­pat Bi­lal, 23, said: “Due to high rents and lim­ited in­come, I have rented a bed­room for Dhs1,500. I’m pay­ing too much for just a room. It reaches Dhs2,000 with the elec­tric­ity bill.

“I sup­port my fam­ily, who are liv­ing now in Ger­many. With the need to send as much money as pos­si­ble to my fam­ily, es­pe­cially to my sick mother, I de­cided to come to the UAE to work.”

He added: “I am con­sid­er­ing mov­ing to Aj­man, where the qual­ity of life is both sim­ple and af­ford­able. How­ever, I need to live close to my work. Es­pe­cially as taxi fares are too ex­pen­sive.

“The pol­icy of shift­ing us ‘sin­gle men’ from res­i­den­tial ar­eas to lo­ca­tions around in­dus­trial ar­eas and far away ar­eas is cal­lous.”

How­ever, Ibrahim Al Rais, Head of Safety and In­spec­tion Depart­ment at Shar­jah Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, said: “The rule was im­ple­mented to pre­vent bach­e­lors from over­crowd­ing apart­ments and vil­las in fam­ily res­i­den­tial ar­eas as the mu­nic­i­pal­ity gets com­plaints from neigh­bours who are in­con­ve­nienced by too many bach­e­lors liv­ing next to them.

“For ex­am­ple, fa­thers who are dis­turbed by the fact that too many men are liv­ing next to his daugh­ters and wife, or mak­ing too much noise, block­ing drive­ways... etc.” It’s not just men who are af­fected by the cur­rent rules.

Bangladeshi ex­pat Fa­tima, who is in her 40s, said: “I started my life in Shar­jah through shared ac­com­mo­da­tion 15 years ago.

“I never en­joyed shar­ing my ac­com­mo­da­tion with oth­ers.

“The cost of life forced me to live with oth­ers. I am re­spon­si­ble of two chil­dren back home.”

Al Rais said 2,553 res­i­den­tial vi­o­la­tions were re­ported in 2015.

“The law does not pre­vent bach­e­lors from liv­ing in com­mer­cial ar­eas, pro­vid­ing that they abide by rules,” he added.

“The law pre­vents rent­ing vil­las to bach­e­lors, and fines can be any­where from Dh1,000 to Dh50,000 de­pend­ing on the area. If it is a com­pany us­ing the villa for ac­com­mo­da­tions then we fine the com­pany, oth­er­wise we fine the land­lord.” Al Rais said as much as 40 per cent of res­i­den­tial build­ings in­tended for fam­i­lies are thought to be used by bach­e­lors.

STRUG­GLE: Fa­tima and (in­set) Bi­lal say they have no choice but to share with oth­ers

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