Cant pay rent, sleep in a car!

Dubai, Sept 29 | Updated: Sep 30 2008, 05:50am hrs
Skyrocketting rents and rising cost of living are compelling residents of Dubais neighbouring emirates to live in cars, a local media report has said.

The report highlights the lack of affordable housing for thousands of low-income workers, mostly from the Indian subcontinent, living in the UAE, but also a growing divide between the rich and the poor.

The neighbouring emirates of Sharjah, Ajman and Ras al Khaimah have so far absorbed the ever-increasing exodus of house-hunters from Dubai where rents have become absolutely unaffordable for them.

But with affordability becoming an issue even in these far off places, these workers are having to resort to extraordinary measures such as spending the night in company cars, The National reported.

At first I thought I would find another house. I looked for one for about a week and all the deposits, real-estate commission and rent itself was too much for me and my colleagues. After staying in the car for a week I thought it was normal and I am pushing on with it, one such worker told the newspaper. There are now several areas in Sharjah where, late at night or early in the morning, people can be seen sleeping in cars. Although it provides no figures, the municipality says it has come across an increasing number of such people.

Guilty of a bylaw offence, for some of them a 500 dirhams fine has been added to the burden of homelessness, the newspaper said.

Most of the old cars we have here have no air-conditioning, and since its the hot season we allowed them to use the customers cars at night and clean them in the morning before the owner comes, a garage owner said.