As per new laws in Sharjah, landlords cannot make annual increases in rents. Residents can report to the municipality if their landlords try to adjust house rents every year. New tenants have a three-year protection period during which landlords cannot hike rents. Once the initial tenure is complete, if the tenant chooses to renew the contract, the rent can be increased at the time of renewal. However, further increase will only be permitted every alternate year.
The head of the Rent Dispute Settlement section of the Sharjah Municipality, Salim Abdullah Al Kaabi, said the rent cap was not a new rule. An existing law has been in place for this since 2007, and the latest announcement was being made as a reminder since many people seemed unaware about it. This was done following complaints from many residents in Sharjah about landlords having increased rents by as much as 50 per cent.
Sharjah residents can complain against rent increases that do not follow this rule by reporting it to the municipality hotline (993) or by visiting the office of the Sharjah Rent Regulation Department in Industrial Area 5.
As per recent data compiled by Asteco, the priciest areas in Dubai in terms of rentals are those near Shaikh Zayed Road or the commercial centre, while the cheapest places are International City and Deira. The report covered 10 apartment locations in Dubai, but did not include peripheral communities such as Al Nahda, where rentals might be more affordable.
International City, which is around 17km away from Dubai Mall, offers the cheapest rentals with studios in the community available for around Dh 35,000 to Dh 43,000 per annum. Deira was the next most affordable location where rents for a studio are between Dh 38,000 and Dh 50,000. For tenants with a slightly larger budget, studios in Jumeirah Village are available from Dh 50,000 to Dh 60,000, while those at Discovery Gardens priced at Dh 52,000 to Dh 57,000 are another option.
The prime area for rentals is in and around Downtown Burj Khalifa, in close proximity to the popular shopping district at Dubai Mall. Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR), which offers the opportunity of beachfront living, is another expensive area. In both these areas, average rents for studio apartments are around Dh 82,500 per annum. Studio apartments along Dubai Marina and Shaikh Zayed Road are slightly cheaper, averaging around Dh 80,000 per year.
Across the city, apartment rental rates continued to rise in the second quarter of 2014, with increases ranging from 1 per cent to 10 per cent. In terms of year-on-year growth, apartments along Shaikh Zayed Road, where the city’s most expensive apartments are located, rose by 22 per cent. In comparison, the highest increase in rental rates in the city was in International City where rents recorded 66 per cent year-on-year growth.
Other areas with significant yearly increases in rental rates included JLT apartments (54 per cent), Deira (49 per cent) and residential units in Dubai Marina (45 per cent).