x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

House-sharing can leave you in the dark

The authorities crack down hard on house-sharing, forcing residents out of what they call hazardous conditions

DUBAI // The authorities crack down hard on house-sharing, forcing residents out of what they call hazardous conditions.

Last year 4,500 were evicted, said Omar Abdulrahman, who oversees inspections in the building department of Dubai Municipality.

Officials issue one warning, then another. Then if the tenants have not left, they shut off the utilities.

"We know it is very difficult to cut off their water and electricity, but we are worried an even bigger problem will happen," he said. "Maybe there will be a fire, maybe people will be killed."

The municipality also tries to find the landlords or other managers who rented out the villa, and can fine them as much as Dh50,000.

Yet the practice remains so common that officials plan to target another 4,500 or so homes this year, mainly in the neighbourhoods of Abu Hail, Bada, Rashidiya and Jumeirah.

After families are evicted it is unclear where they go.

As units under construction are completed and become available, prices are expected to decline further, but it is uncertain by how much, according to experts in the field.

* Carol Huang