Towering heights: Rejith Ravindranathan’s picturesque shot of Qanat Al Qasba in Sharjah Image Credit: Rejith Ravindranathan

Sharjah: Strict new tenancy rules have come into force in Sharjah, where tenants must now declare their salaries and relationships to people living with them.

Only tenants who live with family members and make at least Dh4,000 a month will be allowed to rent units in residential areas. To prove this, they must produce government-issued labour contracts and documents like marriage certificates and passport copies of co-tenants.

Also, the unit must be big enough for all family members living there.

However, it was not clear how officials would make that assessment. It's understood each unit must have a specific number of rooms according to the number of family members living together.

Low-income 'bachelors' must stay in industrial areas

Meanwhile, low-income "bachelors" will only be allowed to live in "industrial areas" after showing a no-objection certificate from their employer. They will be allowed to share rooms, but subletting will not be tolerated.

Those failing to meet these requirements will not have their tenancy contracts attested by the municipality. Failing to attest the tenancy contract, which includes a two per cent annual housing fee on the value of the rent, carries a fine for each year it is not attested. Officials can cut off power and water supply to units whose contracts are unattested.

A Sharjah Municipality official, on condition of anonymity, said the new rules have been in effect for a month.

A 33-year-old Pakistani resident of Shaba district, who shifted apartments recently, said he was asked by the real estate agent to list all family members who would be living with him — his mother, wife and brother. "I thought ‘that's strange.' I went to the municipality and I was told to ‘bring the labour contract, marriage certificate and [families'] passport copies too'. No one told me it's a new rule," he said.

"You only find out when it's time for your tenancy renewal or when you are getting a new place, which means you'll be turned back because you won't have all documents with you."

Another tenant, who visited the Tenancy Contract Attestation Office at Al Khan on Tuesday, said he was not informed of the new regulations. "They told me to go to the main office [in Government Square]. I don't know what's going on," he added.

However, bachelors, mostly south Asians in low-income jobs, said rents in limited units in industrial areas have skyrocketed on the back of the evictions seen last month. "It's going to be hard to find a place as a single guy in residential areas now, even if you make good money. Some tenants had turned this into a business, subletting the place to bachelors," the municipality official said.

To rent a flat you need…

  • Attestation of the tenancy contract [Dh50]
  • Passport copies [tenant, landlord, family members]
  • Marriage certificate [for couples]
  • Labour contract [attested by Ministry of Labour]
  • Employer NOC [for bachelors]
  • Two per cent housing fee