Friday, September 30, 2005

Take it or leave it :: Khaleej Times

What happens when your landlord refuses to carry out maintenance works in your apartment and, while renewing your contract, also tells you accept the flat as it is or leave?
. . .
several tenants of Al Sweihidi Building near the Geco Roundabout in Sharjah have been allegedly asked by Reemak Real Estate — that manages the building — to accept their apartment as it is or better still, leave. The tenants say that, literally, no maintenance works are carried out at the building even though they are paying for it.
. . .
“There is no one to clean the building from inside due to which a horrible stench always lingers in the staircase,” he said. “The garbage bags are pulled open by stray cats and litter is spread everywhere, while sewerage is overflowing outside the building. The state of the apartments, too, is sad because no one takes responsibility.”
. . .
Said Mohammed Irfan, the Manager of Reemak Real Estate: “Whenever we plan to increase the rents, the tenants complain about maintenance. But it does not make a difference to us even if they speak to the Press.”
The legal minimum term of rental contracts in Sharjah is three years. Market rents have increased substantially over the last few years. Thus at renewal landlords can raise the rent - or reduce spending on maintenance - knowing that the apartment will be rented in either case. By accepting the contract, knowing the current condition of the building and knowing the rental rates of apartments of various qualities in the market, the tenant is making a voluntary choice to economize on housing by staying. Would the tenant wish that the government require that apartments meet a certain minimum quality? - no, because the price would be higher.

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