Owners of abandoned buildings in Abu Dhabi have been ordered to demolish them or risk police intervention and fines.
Last week, the municipality issued demolition orders to 14 building owners and gave them two weeks to carry out the notice.
Failure to tear down the buildings within the allotted time could lead to police intervention, forced demolition and fines of between Dh1,000 and Dh50,000, depending on the size of the building, a municipality official said.
The orders come at a time when the municipality is clamping down on abandoned buildings because of the security threat they impose.
“Abandoned houses could be used for prostitution, or bootlegging,” an official said.
He said tearing the buildings down would keep absconding workers from taking advantage of them, young people taking part in illegal activities there and people potentially running illegal businesses from the premises.
“This is very risky, especially in residential areas, young people could go there to consume drugs behind their parents’ back, it could also house dangerous wild animals like dogs and scorpions.”
This year, the municipality carried out a similar campaign in the Muroor Zafaranah area.
“The owners (who did not demolish their buildings) were fined, until today they are receiving notifications to remove them,” he said.
The National visited some of the recently abandoned buildings in Mussaffah's M10 and M11 and found them to be derelict.
Rubbish and rat droppings littered a corridor leading to a dozen rooms on the second floor of a shabby building in M10.
A few shops on the ground floor were still in operation, however.
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Faisal Sayed, who was looking after a friend’s shop in the same building, said they have not had power for a while.
He said the rooms upstairs had been abandoned for about two months.
Dirty slippers were scattered around the building along with mattresses and a full water tank.
Mr Sayed said the workers who lived there all left after being involved in a court case.
A second building in the same area looked worse than the first. Birds flew through broken windows on the top floor and the shops downstairs were lined with a thick layer of dirt.
Among the abandoned items stood a broken washing machine filled with soaked clothes.
Outside, tyres were stacked on top of a pile of rubble and an old toilet was discarded in a pit.
Industrial diggers filled one of the shops on the ground floor. The door to another shop was left open with an abandoned office desk complete with dirty cups and sauces and a working fridge still in place.
Saif bin Darwish Al Kutbi, was one of the landlords whose name was included in the municipality ad, notifying him that he needed to demolish his property at M14.
He said the ad was a mistake.
Mr Al Kutbi’s property is used as a storage area for more than 100 cars trucks worth millions of dirhams.
He said the fence used to be old and shabby but he renovated it six months ago after receiving his first notice from the municipality posted on his shop fence.
“It has been maintained and renewed so they won’t demolish it. It is a store that has assets inside,” he said, adding that he did not contact the municipality because no one spoke to him directly.
“They did not speak to anyone or hand over the notification to the watchman or anything, they just pasted it on the door; it says that Civil Defence told them this was an unsafe place and should be rundown.
“This is an unprofessional way to notify an investor whose been there for decades.”
He added that the last plot of land mentioned in the ad under “no records” in M1 on plot P4 is owned by the municipality itself.