x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Residents angry over hike in cost of parking spaces

“I was paying Dh1,500 and now my landlord is asking for Dh3,000 for a simple parking slot,” says one resident in Sharjah who lives in Al Nahda.

Most residents in Sharjah park their cars on sandy areas outside their buildings due to a lack of space as well as rising costs of parking. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
Most residents in Sharjah park their cars on sandy areas outside their buildings due to a lack of space as well as rising costs of parking. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

SHARJAH // Angry residents have hit out at landlords who have doubled the annual cost of renting parking spaces in their buildings.

Tenants – some already facing big increases in their yearly rents – were told of the rises by estate agents when they renewed their contracts.

The annual cost of a parking space in some buildings is now as much as Dh4,000. It is common practice for landlords in Sharjah to rent out an apartment’s allocated spot for an additional charge.

The extra financial burden is proving too much for some, with drivers parking on the street or sandy patches of unused land – risking fines by municipality traffic inspectors and damage to their vehicles.

Zubairi Gondal, who lives in Al Nabba behind the Sharjah Rotana Hotel, moved his car out of his building after the annual parking charge doubled from Dh2,000 to Dh4,000.

“The sandy parking that used to be free is now very competitive and carrying several risk costs like having your car being scratched or taking on a lot of dust from other vehicles as traffic grows,” he said.

“You can no longer call the sandy parking free as at a certain point you will have to pay the garage for repairs of dents and scratches or the car will have to be washed virtually every two days because of collecting several layers of dust.”

Mohammed Chaudry, who lives in Al Nahda, said the increases in parking fees had stretched his already tight monthly budget, which includes a daily Dh40 Salik charge on his way to work on Sheikh Zayed Road.

“I was paying Dh1,500 and now my landlord is asking for Dh3,000 for a simple parking slot,” he said.

“This is an addition after he also hiked our rent from Dh30,000 to Dh50,000 in September last year.

“He seems to believe in only hiking and we just pay because we have nowhere to go.”

In Al Taawun, Al Khan and Al Qassimiya neighbourhoods, parking fees have also doubled from Dh2,000 to Dh4,000 for newer buildings, while older properties are now charging Dh3,000, up from Dh1,500 a year.

Salem Al Kaabi, the director of the rental disputes committee at Sharjah Municipality, said the emirate’s rental laws did not provide separate provisions for building parking fees, but residents would still be protected by the general rental law of not increasing any fees related to the property in the first three years and then only once every two years after that.

Nahla Al Nabati, who lives in Al Majjaz, said the increased fees had upset many people because the lack of adequate parking was a well-known problem.

“I spend almost an hour every day trying to find a free parking spot in my area,” he said. “This increases the stress after returning from work.

“This is also already putting pressure on the free sandy parking slots in residential areas as many tenants have failed to renew their building parking contracts and instead started parking in the sand.”

ykakande@thenational.ae