x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Illegal flats still for rent despite ruling

Flats deemed illegal by the municipality are still being advertised.

ABU DHABI // Illegally subdivided flats in a prestigious city development are still being offered for rent despite a Supreme Court ruling that the offending walls be torn down within a week.

A resident of Abu Dhabi Gate City saw apartments in the development advertised on property websites. When he called the number in the advert, a leasing agent told him the legal problems had been resolved and flats were available immediately.

"I was looking for other villas and flats in our area, and I found a picture of the fence surrounding our compound," said Adam Ruttan, a Canadian resident who expects to lose more than Dh35,000 from being forced out of his flat.

"I couldn't believe they were still trying to get people in there, even though demolition is going on."

The municipality ruled the subdivisions illegal in February, only two months after most of the residents moved into the 42-flat compound. The developer, Nevada Building and Construction, lost a court appeal in March and last month the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the municipality.

The agent who answered Mr Ruttan's call said the adverts using his name and number were old. "I'm not with Nevada any more, and no one has talked to me about renting a place," he said.

The municipality said renting apartments scheduled for demolition was not illegal, but landlords should inform residents about impending legal action.