UAE legal Q&As: Can expat brothers and sisters legally stay in the same flat?

One reader has a family query, while another wants to know what can be done about the horrid food smell coming from a neighbour's apartment.

Q: My brothers and sisters and I are looking for a flat in Abu Dhabi and we wanted to know if expatriate siblings can live together in a two or three-bedroom apartment? Also, is it acceptable for two families to stay in the same flat? Our passports prove we are siblings as our parents' names are the same. Also, if we did move in together, could this cause any issues when it comes to renewing residency visas?

A: Family members who carry passports to prove their relationship can live and share accommodation in any part of the UAE, and this has no bearing on visa rewnewals.

Q: I live in an apartment complex and my neighbour cooks food that smells terrible. We often have to leave the building because of the smell. It's so strong that it enters our house and stays for hours, despite us using air fresheners and opening the windows. Is there anything I can do legally to stop this?

A: Unless an act has been described and stated as a crime by law, there is nothing preventing a person carrying out the act. Cooking, even if it does produce a foul odour, falls into this category. You can, however, contact the landlord or building owner and convey your concerns, and even get a group of neighbours to support your concern if it is an issue shared by many. The other option, of course, is to speak to your neighbour with the taste for smelly foods and see if you cannot come to a reasonable solution.