Sharjah Former tenants of a Sharjah tower, virtually abandoned following a 27-day-long power cut, have alleged they continue to be charged ‘rent.’
Some 120 tenants cancelled contracts after going days without power and running water in Building 262 in Al Nahda following an electrical room fire on June 16. The ex-tenants alleged that the 17-storey building’s landlord is still encashing post-dated bank cheques (PDCs) given as advance rent payments. “Either your cheque will clear, meaning you paid ‘rent’ for a place you are not even a tenant of or it will bounce, meaning legal trouble,” said Rajesh Sadasivan, a former tenant.
“The landlord refuses to return our cheques and security deposits, saying ‘go do what you want’. We have tried the police and municipality, even the landlord’s bank, but no one is helping us.”
Citing unnamed sources, tenants said the landlord has a multi-million-dirham bank loan he is repaying by encashing the cheques.
The landlord, an Arab national who identified himself as Abu Saif, denied any wrongdoing.
“There is a loan, [but] the cheques and deposits will be given back. About 100 people have cancelled. The power will be fixed before Ramadan [July 20 or 21],” he told XPRESS.
Rents in the 170-apartment tower, also known as the Corniche Al Madina Supermarket Building, are mostly paid in PDCs.
Former tenant Dwyan Continho, added that tenants have “not seen a dirham in compensation. We’ve spent thousands in deposits, fees, and alternative housing. On top of that, we’re still paying for a place we don’t live in, a building without water, electricity or [working] lifts. In fact, we had one month’s rent deducted for cancelling the contract. Hundreds of us have been forced to look for another place, staying in hotels or with friends, relatives or colleagues.”
Around 50 tenants have not cancelled contracts and “only the totally helpless out of them still live there,” said a resident, adding “just a handful on the lower floors who can climb up stairs are there. There’s a temporary generator that pumps water and light randomly for a few hours a day.