Dubai/Abu Dhabi/Fujairah: The rule of thumb is that everybody should follow the rules.
One should especially follow the rules that were made to help balance the relationship between landlords and tenants. Each emirate has enforced its own rules when it comes to rent, such as introducing a rent cap or prohibiting landlords from raising the rent during the first two years of a tenancy contract.
In a recent Gulf News poll, 79 per cent said the rent caps do not work across the emirates while the remaining 21 per cent said that they do.
City Talk took to the streets and asked residents whether the rent cap has worked for them and if they faced any problem with rent increases.
Tarek Khalifa, a business consultant from Egypt, 25, said: "I am here in the UAE on a project and so I am fortunate enough not to be looking for a flat because from what I hear from my friends, rent has doubled and tripled in the last two years. My friends are suffering, either to find a flat that's affordable, or to keep up with expenses involved in their current flat."
G. Greta, an Indian secretary, said: "The landlord of the building where I have lived in for almost 11 years has increased the rent by 45 per cent, even though the rent cap is only five per cent. The increase does not cover maintenance, not to mention the monthly tips that we are obliged to give to our building watchman, which results in a burden on our savings."
Rabee Kafina, an engineer from Palestine, 27, said: "I am living in Sharjah and for the first two years the rent did not change. But now the rent has gone up all of a sudden by 45 per cent, and that is not fair."
Umali James, a salesman from Malawi, 29, said: "The rent cap is good news but the landlords do not abide by it, and that is very upsetting. My rent is always going up. Most recently, the rent was doubled and the real estate agents said it because the building was going to be renovated, but it never happened."
Mylene D. Cedillo, a Filipina office assistant, 29, said: "Introducing a rent cap was definitely a positive move by the local authorities, and it was needed to stop greedy landlords but in reality things have not changed for many.
"This year our landlord doubled our rent and even though we knew it was against the law we did not want to take up the matter with relevant authorities. If the law was changed forcing landlords to seek approval from the municipality for any increase that will take the pressure off tenants and ensure the law was correctly implemented."
Wasif Ahmad, an Indian who works in the sales and marketing sector, said: "It took me three weeks to find an apartment. When I did, I found a two-bedroom apartment for Dh6,500 [a month], which increased six months later to Dh80,000 [a year]. Another six months later, the landlord suddenly terminated our lease and my wife and two children were forced to leave the apartment instantly.
"Luckily we found another nearby. Again the landlord of that building sent a notice with the new cap increase decision, saying that there will be an increase in rent by five per cent."
Saeed Abrar Hussain, a Pakistani accountant, 25, said: "The rent cap is not effective. I cannot afford the rent anymore because it increases every year by 10 per cent. The government should take active steps to make sure the rent cap is maintained properly."
Ali Abdul Hussain, a car rental agent from Iraq, 43, said: "The rent cap has not achieved anything for many people and landlords are getting away with unreasonable hikes. All residents in the building I live in have been told the rent will increase by a large margin. Many people don't know where to go or how the rent cap works and landlords are exploiting this.
"Some residents approached the municipality to intervene and were asked to fork out Dh700 to get their rent agreement attested by the municipality before their case could be ruled on by the rent dispute committee."
Sanjeev Menon, a media in-charge from India, 42, said: "Our landlord increased the rent by 50 per cent and asked us to vacate the property next year, so, for us the rent cap did not work. I did not challenge the rent increase because I was not sure if it will be worth it."