An estimated 250 dilapidated villas across Dubai pose a public health risk and are to be demolished, Dubai Municipality has reportedly announced.
The villas have been abandoned and may be being used by criminals to store drugs, house illegal workers or for sexual abuse, according to a report in UAE daily 7Days.
Many of the properties are caught up in inheritance disputes between family members and the rightful owner has neglected them, making them a threat to security and public health.
“There is a possibility that these houses are used as a den for crimes and as a hiding place for illegals and fugitives,” Khaled Mohammed Saleh, head of the buildings department at Dubai Municipality, was quoted as saying.
“Some [people] use them to store illegal goods. These houses are also a public health hazard as a lot of garbage piles up in them.”
The newspaper reported that the municipality has identified 713 abandoned houses across Dubai since 2011. Of those, 303 have already been demolished and a further 154 have been renovated by their owners.
It intends to demolish these “remaining” 256 houses, Saleh said, by issuing an order stating that the house must be renovated or demolished by the owner and then intervening if they do not comply.
The owner is charged for the demolition and ordered to pay administration fees.