Dubai: When asked to offer further clarification regarding the UPC's middle-income rental housing policy, Michael White, Senior Planning Manager at the UPC, responds to a few Gulf News questions.

Gulf News: Does the policy include bachelors and/or single people, or is it only for families?

Michael White: The newly launched middle income rental housing policy is applicable to households. There is no restriction on the number of people that household may represent. Households may consist of one or more people.

Please define what a middle income earner is exactly, give a specific salary range

The Middle Income Rental Housing Policy applies to households earning based upon 35 per cent of the annual income. The income ranges and rental rates will be indexed on an annual basis.

What are the exact paper work requirements for middle income earners?

The applicants desiring to benefit from this policy will need to provide a proof of income as they apply for the unit to the developer/property management company. This requirement will be monitored and enforced by the government.

How long should it take for a middle income earner to find an affordable flat, do you have a deadline in place?

Units will become available as the developments in the master-planned areas are delivered. Each development has its own delivery schedule (phases) and the middle income units will be required throughout each phase of the project.

Do you have a tracking process of how many middle income earners will be part of your policy?

Government will be monitoring the delivery, rental agreements and management of the units over time.

How many middle income earners are there approximately across the Emirate of Abu Dhabi?

Approximately 46 per cent of households in the Abu Dhabi metropolitan area fall into this category based upon the recent UPC Supply and Demand Study and studies conducted by SCAD (Statistics Centre of Abu Dhabi).

Will the five per cent annual income increase still be applicable under the middle income policy, or is the rent price going to remain the same for the next ten years?

The rental unit prices will be indexed on an annual basis, which will be the same or less than the current five per cent annual maximum increase.

Is it true that 15,000 apartments will be available within the next year or two for middle income earners, despite the policy being immediately applicable and effective June 2010, please clarify?

The policy has been unveiled in July which means that developers need to begin to make allowances for units in developments that are in the earlier stages of planning. The time it takes to deliver those units is subject to the standard design, tendering and construction process for development.

Will the new policy encourage people who live in Dubai and work in Abu Dhabi to move to Abu Dhabi?

This policy will help create affordable options in new communities throughout Abu Dhabi municipality. There may be a percentage of individuals who work in Abu Dhabi but live elsewhere that now choose to live in Abu Dhabi. The reduction in travel time and increase in personal time will not only improve liveability but also further the emirate's sustainability objectives.