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Burdened with luggage as well as some personal items, Riza scrambled to find a place to stay within 24 hours after being evicted from her building.
She had one question in mind: ''Where do I go?''
Riza, 26, a receptionist living in a flat in Business Bay, sought refuge with friends to have a place to sleep for a night. The arrangement is temporary but she's unsure until when. All the tenants living in sharing in her building had to leave at short notice.
''We have no problem leaving. What we're after is for them to give us enough time to prepare and look for a place to move into,'' Riza, who had to take leave the next day, told Gulf News.
''The owner also refused to give our rent of around Dh1,400 and deposit of Dh2,200 back. We've paid until the end of the month and we have not used the full amount yet,'' she added.
It is illegal for bachelors or singletons, either married or unmarried so long as they're living alone, to share accommodation in family-friendly, non-freehold areas, a 1999 municipal rule dictates.
They, however, can stay in all residential buildings in Commercial Business District areas, as well as in residential buildings in designated residential areas such as Al Quoz 4, Al Ghusais 1, Hor Al Anz and Al Muteena, among others, according to an earlier Gulf News report citing a municipality official.
Male blue-collar workers can live in labour accommodation in Al Muhaisna, Al Quoz and Jebel Ali.
Accommodations legally marketed exclusively for low-income female residents are scant. In practice, they live in shared accommodation with families or couples.
Ivy, 31, a secretary, has been living in shared accommodation for the past eight years of her stay in Dubai. She said she tries her best to look for places exclusively for women but, given that finding one is a challenge, she compromises.
''I live in a partitioned room now for Dh1,000. The ones living next to me is a couple,'' Ivy said.
Ivy said one of the dangers of living in sharing is the lack of legal protection from sudden eviction. Unlike in normal rental schemes where one can evict a tenant after a 12-month notice, anything goes for those living in sharing.
''Once we were told to vacate the room within four days during a work week,'' she said.
Nympha Salvo agreed that the constant threat of being evicted is the biggest problem for them.
''I know it is illegal to live in sharing [in a villa] but this is the more practical choice. I live alone. I cannot afford to rent a whole flat all to myself. So I just have to deal with the challenges of living in shared accommodation as they come,'' Salvo, 24, said.
All of them agreed they do not know where to go if rent issues arise.
Gulf News repeatedly contacted Trakhees, the regulatory authority for freehold areas. But Trakhees could not reply by press deadline.
The Dubai Rent Dispute Settlement Centre accepts complaints from residents with ejari (registered rent contract). In the case of people living in sharing, they have no recourse.
An official from Dubai Municipality said they only regulate and monitor flats to prevent them being overcrowded. Money matters are strictly between the landlord and the tenant.
Source: Janice Ponce de Leon, Staff Reporter, gulfnews.com