x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Villa sharers face Friday deadline

Families still sharing villas in some of the most affluent areas of Dubai face having their utilities cut off.

An aerial view of villas in Jumeirah, Dubai.
An aerial view of villas in Jumeirah, Dubai.

DUBAI // People who have been illegally sharing villas in some of Dubai's most affluent areas could have their electricity and water cut off if they have not moved out by Friday, Dubai Municipality warned yesterday. Inspectors are looking for occupants violating the "One Villa, One Family" law, and the municipality said the deadline would not be extended. Landlords flouting the laws by letting villas to more than one family could be fined as much as Dh50,000 (US$14,000).

Real estate companies that have been housing families in such villas could also be penalised. The municipality claims that sharing villas among families is unsafe and presents environmental and health risks. The "One Villa, One Family" campaign was launched by the municipality earlier this year, when families sharing villas in Al Rashidiya area were asked to move out. The campaign spread to other parts of the city last month as residents sharing luxurious villas in Jumeirah, Umm Suquiem and Al Wasl were also told to move out. Notices were sent to landlords warning of fines and penalties for housing multiple families. While some residents have moved out, others have stayed, hoping they would not be affected.

"We have not received any notice yet from the municipality and we hope that there would be no trouble," a Jumeirah resident said. The municipality says families sharing villas have to move out whether they receive a notice or not. Families looking for accommodation claim it is impossible to find affordable housing, particularly under such a tight deadline. "We have seen a lot of flats but it is all out of our budget," said one resident. "We are hoping for some more time."