Old buildings full as Abu Dhabi tenants crave cheap rent – Gulf News

Poor maintenance, little security all part of the gamble for tenants in cap-free Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi: With the recent abolishment of the five per cent rent cap many old buildings in the capital with relatively cheap rents remain fully occupied despite maintenance and security issues.
S.T. a 48-year-old accountant who lives in a two-bedroom flat with his wife and two children, said his comparatively low annual rent of Dh50,000 came with its own price.
“For the past four or five years I have been paying for all maintenance work out of my own pocket because after the rent hike years ago I approached the Rental Disputes Committee and the landlord kept my rent the same but removed the maintenance services from the contract. We do have a watchman but he is not very good. The building does not have any security cameras and one of the two lifts hasn’t been working for a month,” he said.
Buildings that are more than 30 years old require more frequent repairs as the equipment is outdated and more easily damaged.
“It is very difficult to keep our flat neat and clean simply because of how often we require a plumber, electrician or carpenter. I want to move to another location but I cannot find a place with newer structures that has an equally low rent,” S.T. added.
Maintenance experts revealed that the finish on older buildings is of better quality but pipes and wiring are problematic.
“Landlords are not taking steps to conduct what is called preventive maintenance. This involves standard follow-ups that can extend a building’s life by up to 20 years. People are more interested in making money today rather than spending some now and saving themselves a larger sum in the future,” Waleed Latif, a 55-year-old Palestinian-American CEO at Team Maintenance, told Gulf News.
Low-quality work
Similarly, a business owner based in an old building on Abu Dhabi’s Hamdan Street said his landlord had signed a contract with a company that offered its services at a low rate.
“This deal came with low-quality work. The owner does not care about making his tenants happy and we are therefore left with elevators that jolt and decaying sinks that are not being replaced because they are not ‘broken’ or ‘damaged’ enough,” M.A. said.
“Security cameras are obsolete and although a watchman is present, his job description requires him to collect garbage bags from each household as the building lacks a waste disposal chute. Therefore, anyone can come and go as they please, including thieves and other dangerous individuals. Despite all these issues, the rent is definitely much lower than in other places, which is why I continue to conduct my business here,” he added.
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