NEWS FROM THE UAE
Excerpts from UAE Dailies
No New Rent Cap Likely in Dubai
Dubai - Nov.08:Experts say Dubai is unlikely to follow Abu Dhabi’s lead and reduce its rent cap when the Ruler’s Office re-evaluates the figure next month. The chairman of Dubai Rent Committee, Saeed Mohammad Al Kindi, does not believe the landmark ruling by President HH Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to cap rent increases to seven percent a year, will impact any plans to change the current 15 per cent rule in Dubai.
Dashing the hopes of many of the city’s residents, who are reaching the end of their tether with landlords and rising rent prices, he told 7DAYS: “I don’t believe Dubai will change the rental cap at this point. Even though the 15 per cent cap is in place, in reality most of the increases are between five and eight per cent. “They do not go up to 15 per cent unless people are renting particularly low-priced accommodation.” Al Kindi also warned lowering the rental cap may scare away investment - a view echoed by some of the city’s leading property management experts, who say this would have a knock-on impact for ex-pats on the upkeep of their rental homes.
Ryan Mahoney, managing director of Better Homes, explained: “A temporary rent cap is good for the country, and Dubai acted well to place the 15 per cent limit, but long-term you don’t want to have a blanket percentage cap - they de-incentify developers. We need a profitable environment that allows developers to react quickly, or they simply go elsewhere. And landlords stop investing in their buildings.” But for those concerned about how much they will be paying for their Dubai property this time next year, Helen Turham, director of Dubai Luxury Homes, offered some consolation.
“I believe rent increases will slow down over the next two years anyway, as natural market forces take over”, she explained. “Lowering the rental cap would just mean that landlords will stop maintaining and investing in buildings.” Sheikh Khalifa has already set up a special committee in Abu Dhabi, similar to Dubai’s Rent Committee, in anticipation of tenancy disputes likely to arise as landlords desperately search for ways to hike up their rent. And it is this issue Haroon Mahmood, director of Dubai based MINC Property Enterprises, says is the most crucial - how to stop landlords bypassing the rent caps. “Our experience with Dubai has taught us not to get too excited about any changes to laws in other emirates,” he said.
Abu Dhabi Caps Rent Rise at 7%
Abu Dhabi -Nov.08:: A law by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has capped rent increases in Abu Dhabi at 7 per cent annually.
Shaikh Khalifa, as Ruler of Abu Dhabi, issued law No. 20 of 2006, to regulate the landlord-tenant relationship, according to WAM.
The law covers properties leased for housing, industrial, trade or professional activities. It is applicable to existing contracts and those that are signed after this law takes effect.
The landlord and tenant shall adhere to the rent specified in the contract. If the contract duration is three years or less, a rent increase of no more than 7 per cent is allowed once every year.
The law stipulates a written tenancy contract and lays down obligations of the landlord and tenant.
A special committee will be formed to settle tenancy disputes. The committee is to be formed by a resolution by the Abu Dhabi Executive Council chairman. General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, has issued resolution No. 42 of 2006 on the formation of the tenancy dispute settlement committee. He issued resolution No. 43 of 2006 on the appeals committee.
He also issued resolution No. 41 of 2006 aimed at simplifying procedures to settle tenancy disputes.
Age limit likely to be increased for licence
DUBAI - Nov. 08: Increasing the age limit for a driving licence in Dubai is among the several factors being studied by an international consultant, said a senior RTA official yesterday.
Speaking to Khaleej Times at the Second International Road Safety Conference that started off yesterday, Eng Maitha Mohammad Bin Adai, CEO, Traffic and Roads Agency, RTA said, “The international consultant will study the age factor for Dubai as per its implementation in other countries and after they submit the study, we will come up with recommendations.”
Bin Adai said the name of the consultant would be announced soon.
Regarding the driving test rule, Bin Adai said within the next three weeks, the consultant will submit his report and in two weeks, the RTA will supervise all the tests in driving schools.
205 vehicles impounded in capital
ABU DHABI — Nov. 08:About 205 vehicles have been impounded by the traffic police in Abu Dhabi for flouting rules, according to Colonel Ghaith Hassan Al Za’abi, Director of the Traffic and Patrols Department, Abu Dhabi Police Directorate.
The department launched a campaign last week and issued tickets against 115 motorists for jumping the red light, he said.
This kind of traffic violation is occurring more frequently now, he added.
Citing figures released by the department, he said the number of such offences stood at 2,958 since the beginning of this year so far compared to 2,895 cases of violation committed during the same period last year.
A Dignified Life for Foreign Workers
Dubai - Nov. 08:Sheikh Mohammed yesterday summoned Labour Minister Ali al-Kaabi and ordered him to "take all necessary steps to organise the affairs of foreign workers … and to assure them of all the conditions of health, security and a dignified life, both in their places of residence and at work," the official UAE WAM news agency reported. The measures would include the adoption of a system of health insurance for all categories of workers "guaranteeing them care and all the health and medical benefits equivalent to other sectors of society," WAM said.
He also called for an "efficient and binding mechanism" to ensure that workers receive their wages with a delay of no more than two months and to change jobs if they wish. He also ordered the creation of a special court for worker complaints and of an inspectorate to monitor "application of humanitarian laws and regulations in force in the emirates, as well as the protection and defense of the rights and dignity of foreign workers."
A British manager at a Dubai-based construction company last night said: “We welcome these laws and applaud Sheikh Mohammed for intervening in the matter to improve the situation for the labourers.” A Palestinian CEO of a construction company that operates out of Dubai and Sharjah, welcomed the decision and added: “It was only a matter of time before these laws came in and we had already begun implementing some of the measures in anticipation of this announcement.”