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SM reiterates three-year rent cap
By Mohan Vadayar February 27, 2013
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SHARJAH: Landlords and real estate developers under the purview of Sharjah Municipality (SM) are not allowed to increase rent of their tenants within three years of the period of tenancy contract, a senior municipality official has reiterated.

Director of Consumer Protection at the SM Khalid Salim Hamad Al Shamsi assured that tenants are legally protected against any increase in rent by a mutual three-year contract registered under municipal regulations and any signatory to the contract is not eligible to alter its terms.

The municipality registered an incredible 230,000 leases last year through its 15 registration outlets in Sharjah, he said.

He stressed that the terms and conditions laid down in the tenancy contract regulate the relationship between landlords and their tenants.

He added that the clause in the lease period and increasing rent could not be applied in cases of conflict between the two parties. The law urges all parties to comply with the laws that guarantee the rights of both the parties.

Shamsi added that the civic body had started offering new tenancy services in order to reach the highest degree of flexibility in the provision of services to the public.

This includes the need to provide identity cards, which will be in place against many paper documents in order to facilitate faster services. There is coordination between the municipality and Emirates Identity Authority in providing electronic IDs that can read the customers’ data electronically from identity cards.

This was supplemented by the launch of urgent business counters, which allow them to complete transactions as quickly as possible by paying a nominal amount, he said.

He also underlined the opening of new counters, particularly in the leasing section, for people with special needs and citizens and a special section for women’s service to keep their privacy.

The launch of Customer Service Centres in all departments of the Consumer Protection Department for the convenience of the public and the adoption of a hotline service to receive complaints from the public and for inquiries are well-received by people, he said.

Customers can call the department at toll-free 600566002, in addition to the regular number 993.

He explained that the administration has ratified more than 230,000 leases through 2012, including 60,000 family leases. In the year 2011, the department ratified 200,000 cases.

The department also tried to ease congestion at ratification centres by opening five new outlets last year to facilitate faster services.

There are 15 centres for ratification of leases alone, which led to the elimination of congestion, he added.

The centres ratify more than 1,200 leases on a daily basis. The municipality is constantly opening new outlets to make it easier for customers as well as the administration, which is working in two shifts from 7.30am until 7.30pm.

He urged all concerned parties not to fully rely on mediators in fixing rents and negotiating disputes.

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