DUBAI // Bachelors living in residential areas and families illegally sharing villas have been warned about a civic body clamp down.
Under a 1999 municipal bylaw, it is illegal to share accommodation or for bachelors to live in family-friendly non-freehold suburbs.
Yusuf Abdullah Al Marzouqi, acting director of the Buildings Department at Dubai Municipality, said they had cracked down after field visits in several residential areas in the emirate.
"The inspections are aimed at all bachelors living in residential areas, be they sharing or living alone," Mr Al Marzouqi told The National. "This is an ongoing process, but due to increased complaints from neighbours we are increasing our efforts."
The main problem with sharing, he said, were matters of hygiene as well as health and safety - for example, overloading utilities can be a fire hazard.
When the department catches bachelors living illegally, both the tenant and the owner are notified and given deadlines for evacuation.
After the deadline, the municipality disconnects electricity and water.
"The municipality will take necessary action in case of receiving any complaint from families regarding the presence of bachelors in these areas," he said. "All violations will be handled based on [the law] regarding the regulation of buildings."
Jaber Al Ali, head of the Building Inspection section, said: "We are currently targeting the more Emirati neighbourhoods and older areas of Dubai, such as Rashidiya, Abu Hail, Al Jafiliya, as well as parts of Deira and Bur Dubai.
"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."
Although all bachelors technically fall under the accommodation law, Mr Al Ali said they try not to target bachelors who live alone. "I understand that in some cases companies will provide villas for their managers, and he might be a bachelor. We don't target these people unless we get a complaint, then we have to do an inspection."
The law also does not apply to an Emirati bachelor who owns the property he lives in.
"I urge landlords to inspect their properties from time to time just to make sure that it is not being used illegally," said Mr Al Ali.