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Water and gas turned off on residents without valid tenancy contracts

The move comes at the end of a three-month grace period in which Sharjah residents were offered a discount on fees of up to 50 per cent.

SHARJAH // Authorities have started to disconnect water and electricity from the homes of residents who have not had their tenancy contracts attested and renewed by the municipality.

The move comes at the end of a three-month grace period in which residents were offered a discount on fees of up to 50 per cent, said Khalid Al Shamsi, the director of Sharjah's consumer protection department.

"We have given them enough time," Mr Al Shamsi said. "Now we are punishing those who did not take the opportunity with a fine of three times the usual amount and cutting off all services, including water and electricity.

"But before we issue the fines we still give three warnings. Each warning lasts one week. That is a total of another 21 days before we take action."

He said the municipality had also increased the number of offices where contracts could be attested to six.

"The purpose of attesting all contracts is to ensure that the rights of everyone is protected, whether it is a tenant or the landlord," Mr Al Shamsi said.

"It is not right for each party to come complaining against the other when we don't even know their contract."

He said all government departments in the emirate, including traffic and foreign affairs, were required to see an attested tenancy contract before completing any transactions for residents.

The responsibility of renewing a contract is on the owner of the building, not the tenants.

ykakande@thenational.ae

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