Tenant can file complaint against ‘unreasonable’ rent hike: Sharjah Municipality
“It's up to the landlord to increase the rent as he/she deems suitable,” Sharjah Municipality (@shjmun) tweeted when asked what were the rights of a tenant if a landlord increases rent after three-year contract is over.
The Municipality added: “But if you find the increase unreasonable, you can file complaint at the rent regulation department to decide the proper increase.”
In Sharjah, a tenant is protected from rent increases, as the landlord is not allowed to hike the rate for three years, which starts once the rent agreement is issued for the first time.
Emirates 24|7 readers have complained, saying their rent, in some cases have been increased by 50 per cent, with the landlord stating it “being below market rate”.
“My rent was fixed at Dh30,000 for three years. But on renewal my landlord increased my rent by Dh15,000. When I objected my landlord said the rent for the one-bed unit was still lower than the market rate,” said P Shekaran, a resident of Al Wadha.
Though other tenants have raised similar concerns, most do not wish to approach the rent committee for a solution rather favor striking a mutual settlement with their landlord.
“We never have thought of filing any complaint with the Municipality rather we tried to settle the matter with the landlord. Since I didn’t want to move out of my current place, I agreed to pay an increase of 40 per cent,” says Ismail Rana, who has rented a two-bed in the Corniche area.
“Frankly, the rent is still lower than the market rate,” he added.
But, in May, Cluttons, a real estate consultancy, said it did expect arbitrary rent hikes by landlords to lead to increase in tenants filing complaints with Sharjah Municipality's rent dispute committee.
"The demand pressures on the limited supply are translating into a rise in the number of complaints lodged with Sharjah Municipality over what tenants perceive to be unreasonable rent increases at renewal," the consultancy said in its Spring 2014 outlook.
Average apartment rents, Cluttons said, rose by 46 per cent during the three years to the end of Q1 2014. However, Asteco Property Management, a real estate consultancy, said rentals have gone up by 38 per cent in the past one year and seven per cent in the first quarter 2014 compared to the fourth quarter 2013, driven mostly by relocation of tenants from Dubai.