About 18 families, who live in 18 one-bedroom flats in the four-storey building on Airport Road in Abu Dhabi, were forced out of their apartments by the sweltering heat, with some even choosing to sleep in cars. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Some residents of a building on Airport road in the capital have been compelled to sleep in their cars because the building’s central air-conditioning has not been working for the past 12 days.

“Since the air conditioning system has been out since May 21, I moved to a hotel apartment with my visiting family from India. As I was told it would be repaired by Friday evening, I returned to my flat only to experience the scorching heat and ended up sleeping in my car like many other tenants,” Edwin Jose said.

He said it was frustrating that even after shelling out so much money on a hotel stay the landlord had not repaired the faulty central air-conditionering despite repeated requests by tenants.

About 18 families, mostly from India, are living in 18 one-bedroom flats in the four-storey building, popularly known as Journey Toys building near Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank.

Tenants said they pay an average annual rent of Dh60,000 to Dh65,000 for one-bed room apartments with a small maid’ room in the building, which is around 20 years old.

Some small children have developed rashes on their body due to the excessive heat in the building, Manoj Koshy said. He and some other tenants purchased a portable air-conditioner costing around Dh1,000 for the bedroom. “But that is not enough; it is still difficult to sleep,” he said.

“When the air conditioner stopped working, we immediately reported it to the landlord, but he was not cooperative at all,” said Payas Mathew, who lives with his wife and three school-going children.

He arranged for a window-air-conditioner for a room, which could not be properly installed. “It gives minimum cooling only; all children are crammed in the room and sit on the bed and study. It is very difficult for them,” Mathew said. “It is very hot everywhere else in the flat.”

When Gulf News contacted the landlord he refused to comment.

When there was no positive response from the landlord, some tenants had to install split air conditioners which cost a lot. “I had to spend around Dh3,100. First I purchased a portable air-conditioner costing Dh1,000 but that was not enough,” Sanjay Lohithakshan, who lives in the building with his wife and two school-going children, said.

Then he installed a split-air conditioner costing Dh2,100.

But those who cannot afford to do so are still suffering in the heat. They said they call up the landlord almost every day and sometimes he promises to fix it but nothing happens.