International City residents welcome inspections on overcrowding

Dubai: Legal tenants, especially residents with families, living in International City have welcomed the inspection campaign to crack down on crowding in the community.

Officials from Trakhees, the regulatory agency for freehold properties and businesses in special development zones, continued door-to-door inspections at some of the residential districts of Nakheel’s property on Monday.

The routine inspection is to put a curb on the menace of overcrowding in the community with 22,000 residences, including studios and one-bedroom apartments.

Trakhees confirmed the inspections but did not send a statement till Tuesday evening.

Many residents from different clusters in the community have welcomed the move, hoping that it will address their long-term complaints about the parking crisis and safety concerns due to overcrowding in the community.

The maximum number of occupants allowed in a studio is three and five for one-bedroom apartments as per the rules of the Community and Compliance Department with Trakhees.

However, according to residents, flats are crowded with many with 10 to 15 people in a one-bedroom flat and up to eight people in a studio flat. A one-bedroom flat costs between Dh40,000 and Dh50,000 depending on the cluster, while rent for a studio flat ranges from Dh30,000 to Dh38,000. Crowding in flats happened due to subletting to low-income bachelors.

However, residents said they see a lot more people than that in some apartments. While many buildings have access cards to control the number of illegal occupants, some still don’t have that facility.

Crackdown on crowding in International City
“I saw the notices [issued by Trakhees to violators] yesterday. I personally welcome this because I really suffer due to the parking issues in our compound,” an expat woman residing in the Morocco cluster, who did not wish to be identified, said on Tuesday.

“I have to work on late shifts some days and I never find parking around our buildings. Like many others, I am usually forced to park in non-designated areas…Though I make sure I don’t obstruct the way, I have been fined many times. It is not that easy to keep paying fines,” she said.

Armi, a Filipina living in the Greece cluster, echoed the same concerns. “We have two cars, me and my husband. It’s very difficult to find parking here even if you get home by 6pm. It’s the worst thing in the area…I have been fined many times.”

“There are a lot of men living in this building. I hope inspectors actually go inside the flats to know if too many people are living in each apartment,” she said.

Bobby Mathew, an Indian living in the China cluster, said illegal tenants operating massage services is another public nuisance that the residents in the community face. “We are fed up of those cards they slip into homes and place on parked cars. They carry vulgar images and it’s an embarrassment for us, especially when kids are with us. I hope there will be more inspections to stop such illegal activities also.”

Jacob K.T., from the Russia cluster, said there had been many instances of delivery boys knocking on his door by mistake. “We have 24-hour security. But there are many strangers in the buildings. If they are non-tenants, they will order food and give wrong flat numbers. This is an indication that they are not legal tenants.”

He said the building has not been fitted with an access control system which can prevent illegal occupants to some extent. “We don’t have the access cards yet though the building is directly managed by Nakheel. My wife doesn’t feel secure when I go abroad.”

Krishna Kumar, from another building in the Russia cluster, said the community park is also always crowded. “Normally, we don’t get parking. We feel the area is always overcrowded…even the park is very crowded when we go out with family. Lorries and pick-up vehicles park on the wrong side and take up a lot of space on the roads. I hope they are looking into all these issues,” he said.

In fact, overcrowding even claimed two lives in the community in September 2015. The victims had jumped to their deaths to escape a fire in a one-bedroom flat that they shared with another 20 people. Crowded rooms with inflammable bedding material had helped the fire spread, prompting Civil Defence officials to raise concerns about the fire hazard in cramped buildings in the community.

Earlier in 2012, a landlord in International City was reportedly fined Dh100,000 after 20 people were found living in a one-bedroom apartment.

Mi Casa UAE