Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 29 November 2020

CORONAVIRUS

Coronavirus: Dubai landlord hailed a hero after offering tenant Dh100,000 rent reprieve

Mansour Cheikh El Ard waived eight months of rent when his tenant was placed on unpaid leave due to the economic impact of the pandemic

A Dubai landlord who waived eight months of rent to support a tenant placed on unpaid leave during the Covid-19 pandemic has been hailed a hero.

Mansour Cheikh El Ard offered the vital lifeline when the father-of-two told him he was unable to renew his lease at the Arabian Ranches villa due to being furloughed by his employer.

When a friend of the tenant posted on social media about the landlord's generosity, it grabbed the attention of hundreds of people online.

Mr El Ard was eager to help out despite facing his own challenges operating a family-run business against the backdrop of Covid-19.

He has always been a phenomenal landlord to us. For us, he is a hero

Tenant

He said orders were now pouring at his Granny Waffles cafe, which has branches in Dubai Mall and in Dubai Airport Free Zone, from people keen to repay his kindness.

Mr El Ard, a 37-year-old Syrian, was determined to do his bit to left a family in need.

“I did not want the family to lose the house and change their life completely.

“I told them I would try to support them as much as I could.

“I told my tenant he and his family could stay for as long as they needed to until the world recovered."

His earns Dh160,000 in rent annually on the villa and agreed to forgo about Dh106,000 of this sum.

Mr El Ard said his business suffered during the Covid-19 pandemic as malls were closed.

He lives with his parents, three sisters, and domestic help at a villa in Arabian Ranches.

His family supported him when he told them he had excused the rent.

“We don’t come from a wealthy background. We do have our own troubles. But, I wanted to help my tenants," he said.

Mansour Cheikh El Ard, owner of Granny's Waffles with his staff members at the Dubai Mall in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National
Mansour Cheikh El Ard, owner of Granny's Waffles with his staff members at the Dubai Mall in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National

“So that my tenant felt assured that I would not cash the cheque, I returned the cheques he had given me.

“I am a simple person and I have a property where I live with my family.

"I had an extra property that we rented out. We are very tight on cash.”

His advice to people facing salary cuts is to limit expenditures.

Those who can afford it should support small businesses, he said.

“Don’t talk but act. We need to extend support to those around us," was his advice to landlords in Dubai.

His South African tenant in Dubai is on leave without pay with a family to support, though his wife is employed.

He approached Mr El Ard to tell him he was struggling and would not be able to renew the lease.

“The next morning my landlord was at the door. He gave me an envelope with our cheques and said ‘You guys are welcome to stay here for as long as you like'" said the tenant, who asked to remain anonymous.

“He also waived two months' penalty.

“He has always been a phenomenal landlord to us. For us, he is a hero.

“I know his cafe has not been doing well during Covid-19. I know he is suffering."

He said he hoped people would come to Mr El Ard's restaurant and support him.

He said he would try to honour rent payments in part or full.

Updated: November 14, 2020 07:10 PM

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