Eviction notices have been served on properties in breach of an occupancy law implemented last year. Owners and tenants also face fines of up to Dh100,000. Silvia Razgova / The National
Eviction notices have been served on properties in breach of an occupancy law implemented last year. Owners and tenants also face fines of up to Dh100,000. Silvia Razgova / The National

Eviction threat to thousands of Abu Dhabi villa tenants

ABU DHABI // Thousands of tenants in more than 2,500 villas face eviction because their buildings are illegally partitioned.

Eviction notices have been served on properties in breach of an occupancy law implemented last year. Owners and tenants also face fines of up to Dh100,000.

"The law does not ban anyone from living anywhere," said Ali Khaled Al Hashmi, project manager for Tawtheeq, Abu Dhabi Municipality's property registration system. "The law simply restricts how many people should live in residential villas and that is for their own good."

Dozens of people crammed into one illegally subdivided villa are a health hazard and can create safety concerns in the community, Mr Al Hashmi said.

"Every day we have a tremendous amount of complaints," he said. "People are complaining about villas that have a lot of bachelors and they say, 'We do not feel safe in our own community'."

Mr Al Hasmi said: "They to go to work in the morning and feel worried and anxious about their family and feel they cannot leave them alone in the house, because next door there are 100 people living in one place."

He said 2,534 villas were breaching the occupancy law, which was introduced in 2011 and implemented early last year after a grace period.

No more than six unrelated adults may live in one independent villa. There are no restrictions on individual families in villas and children under 18 and household staff are exempt.

"The law never stated that bachelors should not live in one villa," said Mr Al Hashmi. "But there is a maximum of six. Not up to 60 in one villa. This is absurd.

"You cannot just go and build multiple units into an existing structure without a licence.

"The landlords know that is illegal and no licensing will be given to them for a residential unit, which is meant to be for one single family designed from an infrastructure perspective, from a safety perspective and from a public community perspective.

"The law clearly says stick to the number of occupants allowed and the building code clearly states do not do any partitions inside a residential unit without getting permission. And yet, they are still doing it illegally.

"That is why the law detects these violators and there is a fine of up to Dh100,000 that falls to all entities, the landlord, the investor and the tenants."

Notices have been given to all villas currently breaching the law.

"This means, soon after these notices, we are definitely going to evict them and, if they don't do that, we are going to take the landlord, the investor and the tenant to court," Mr Al Hashmi said. "That is each and every tenant, mind you. So if, in a villa, there are 15 people then each and every person will be taken to court."

Although the law does not specify that a notice period has to be given, the municipality has been giving a grace period of up to three months, Mr Al Hashmi said.

"We want to spread awareness that this is bad for you. This law was designed and devised for you, not the municipality," he said. "Any developed country aims at serving the community.

"Alternatives are available but people don't look. They just want the easy way out."

Mr Al Hashmi said that while landlords were at fault for illegally subdividing properties, residents were responsible for ensuring their units were not illegally partitioned.

Residents who suspect buildings are illegally subdivided or are breaching occupancy rules should contact the municipality on 800 222 220.


July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

Need to know

The flights: Flydubai flies from Dubai to Kilimanjaro airport via Dar es Salaam from Dh1,619 return including taxes. The trip takes 8 hours. 

The trek: Make sure that whatever tour company you select to climb Kilimanjaro, that it is a reputable one. The way to climb successfully would be with experienced guides and porters, from a company committed to quality, safety and an ethical approach to the mountain and its staff. Sonia Nazareth booked a VIP package through Safari Africa. The tour works out to $4,775 (Dh17,538) per person, based on a 4-person booking scheme, for 9 nights on the mountain (including one night before and after the trek at Arusha). The price includes all meals, a head guide, an assistant guide for every 2 trekkers, porters to carry the luggage, a cook and kitchen staff, a dining and mess tent, a sleeping tent set up for 2 persons, a chemical toilet and park entrance fees. The tiny ration of heated water provided for our bath in our makeshift private bathroom stall was the greatest luxury. A standard package, also based on a 4-person booking, works out to $3,050 (Dh11,202) per person.

When to go: You can climb Kili at any time of year, but the best months to ascend  are  January-February and September-October.  Also good are July and August, if you’re tolerant of the colder weather that winter brings.

Do not underestimate the importance of kit. Even if you’re travelling at a relatively pleasant time, be geared up for the cold and the rain.

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