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Mon 2 Feb 2009 10:11 AM

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No backtrack on 'one villa one family' rule - municipality

UPDATE 1: Official says the policy stands except in specially 'licensed' compounds.

Multiple families are allowed to live in one villa only if the villa is designed for that purpose and duly licensed, the Dubai Municipality said on Monday.

A statement clarifying the ‘one villa, one family’ rule was issued by the head of building inspection section, Omar AbdurRahman, following media reports that the municipality was backtracking on its October policy.

Sparking the controversy was a media interview in UAE daily, the Gulf News, with the director general of Dubai Municipality, Hussain Nasser Lootah, who said he had no probelm with five to eight people, from more than one family, living in one villa.

His comments appeared to contradict the municipality's strictly enforced rule that effectively banned unrelated people from living together, and resulted in hundreds of people moving out of rented houses. 

However, in the latest statement AbdurRahman denied Lootah's comments amounted to a revision of the policy, saying it did "not contradict any statements issued by the municipality before.”

In certain areas of Dubai such as Mirdif and Al Barsha there were multiple villas in single compounds that were designed and licensed by the municipality to allow a varying number of families to co-habit, he said. “Only in such cases, we will allow more than one family," AbdurRahman said.

Buildings in Dubai were licensed in consideration of existing service infrastructure including water, electricity, roads and parking, he added.

He warned that buildings used in contravention of the rules would put pressure on the city’s entire infrastructure resulting in breakdown of some services.

AbdurRahman added that overcrowding posed serious threats to residents' safety and security.

In December Arabian Business reported that Dubai Municipality was disconnecting power and water from up to 20 villas per day, and would continue to do so, as part of its one villa, one family campaign.

Skeptical 10 years ago

..... What the official is not saying is that the previous policies were meant to benefit the landlords. By kicking out the people who were sharing villas the landlords could then turn around and rent the villa for more money....that was then., oooops!! Villas are still empty!! Sorry landlords, what happened? No one has run to rent your villa? Is it sitting empty? Have you had to lower your price and still no takers??? I guess you have to go back to the same types of tenants you wanted out of your villa in hopes they come back. What a "Perfect Storm" has hit Dubai. Four months ago rental prices were sky high, landlords still demanded only 1 check, and the Dubai Municipality was helping landlords by turning off power to up to 20 villas a day. Now these same landlords have lowered their rents, will accept multiple checks, and will rent to really anybody who will pay. Have you heard the saying "Don't bite the hand that feeds you"? Too many landlords tried to stick it to people and now the market has turned for many of these greedy landlords. I for one hope their villas sit empty for the next year!

Rainigade 10 years ago

Just when you think that they cant look like muppets any more, they do! Let me guess - lots of empty villas lying around causing holes in some pockets? Hence the backtrack? Sheesh! You cannot make this stuff up, I tell you.

Doug 10 years ago

Backtrack - plain and simple. As recently as October last year, Dubai Municipality's Head of Building Inspection section in the buildings department, Engineer Omar Abdul Rahman, said "As long as the tenants are members of the same family they can live in one villa, but distant relatives cannot." How many people have been evicted from their homes despite the fact their villas were not overcrowded? This is Orwellian, "We have always been at war with Eastasia, we have always been allies with Eurasia." Go read a newspaper from October, or google the villa sharing news. It stands in stark contrast with this announcement and it seems like DM is hoping no-one will remember or call them on it. Dubai Municipality needs to clarify exactly what on earth it is doing because at the moment it looks suspiciously like they've realised people are leaving Dubai and landlords aren't getting money anymore, meaning all the predictions and criticisms made last year that were ignored have come true. Will those who've been unfairly evicted receive compensation for the damages and distress caused by this incompetence?

Saeed W 10 years ago

Multiple families were always allowed to stay in one villa (as long as the total number of tenants were acceptable to the size of the house). I also have three of my friends who are senior bankers (bachelors though) sharing the same villa for the past 3 years. What the municipality finds unacceptable is using residential villas as a labour camp (ex.a 4000 sq ft house in Mirdif had approx 35 restaurant workers living in it 1 year ago), now this hopefully is unacceptable to any country or any municipality. So please guys relax and don't moan about everything that happens in Dubai!!! When I travel to Europe I don't complain and moan about the GBP 450 per night hotel room (Room size = 2meters x 1.8 meters) which I end up paying for and in return receive the worst service ever. But when I chose to travel to Europe, I accept what comes with it (the entire package). If all you moaners are soooo unhappy about Dubai, please leave and practice your freedom of choice in life.

paul 10 years ago

From 'The National', Nov 20, 2008: "Landlords have been asked to make sure their villas house only one family and only immediate family members. Relatives such as cousins, uncles and aunts are not permitted due to overcrowding, officials said." Khaleej Times, Nov 20 - Head of the Buildings Inspection Section in Dubai Municipality: “We are saying that not more than one family may live in a villa." Hmmmm silly old us for misinterpreting these completely unambiguous statements from officials of the municipality about how it is not actually a 'one villa, one family' rule.

JTBB 10 years ago

Fantastic. I was a happy camper in an Umm Suqeim villa that had a couple living downstairs, and four people with one large room each upstairs. I was paying the expensive but reasonable price of AED 6500 a month, but I ended up living in fear because of this Draconian Dubai Municipality witch hunt. So I moved out to an apartment that costs me, all inclusive, about 115k a year. Great. This sort of "management" and "governance" is flat out schizophrenic. Thanks for the high-profile persecution policies that forced me to drive up my costs nearly 30 per cent

IncidentFlux 10 years ago

Hahaha... Oh, how they teach us so well how to backpedal. I knew highlighting this at 'digg' and other places, would make some difference. Oh snap! now the landlords won't be able to buy their fourth Lexus, they need a stimulus package stat! A resonable person per (livable) square feet metric, would've saved people all this grief.

AT 10 years ago

I believe this Universe will somehow self correct itself. This is exactly what is happening within a smaller scale of what we call market economy. One could only manipulate till "nature" take over, but usually painful, to correct it.

Mindscape 10 years ago

Think DM is suffering from 'FOOT & MOUTH' Chomp, chomp!

Misbah ul Iman 10 years ago

For How many days they will keep this statement ? Now when villas are empty they are changing rules Good !. But for how long will this statement last ?