While some property managers continue to collect rents, as well as other utility and other fees and charges from tenants, even in the current difficult situation, real estate expert Valid Al Zaruni urged homeowners and developers in the UAE to support the #LANDLORDS OF BENEVOLENCE initiative to help tenants overcome the dire effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The initiative aims to directly support tenants by granting them a rent-free period at least for three months, taking into account their disadvantages due to the consequences of the Covid-19 outbreak.
The initiative urges landlords to take a humane approach to tenants during the crisis, including commercial tenants, and free the latter from rent payment for commercial premises for a period of three to six months.
According to the initiator of the proposed changes, this approach reflects the measure of social responsibility of landlords through support of investors and the national economy. He also emphasized the importance of the full rental exemption, and not just deferral of rent payments at least for three months, which can be extended depending on further circumstances.
Moreover, the #LANDLORDS OF BENEVOLENCE initiative coincides in time with the Holy month of Ramadan, the traditional month of generosity, charity and solidarity, which makes the iniative even more resonant in the UAE.
In addition, many organizations and developers in Dubai have also offered help to support those affected by COVID-19-related slowdown. For example, the Arabic counterpart of the Red Cross, the Red Crescent, recently launched the “You are among your Family members” initiative, which also aims to support the UAE’s residents in difficult times through canceling rents for a period of 3 to 6 months. The initiative offers three options for this decision: to completely free tenants from paying rent for a specified period; to reduce the rent cost; or to grant tenants a deferral in paying rent.
The official package of incentives from the state that has been accepted recently, also includes reducing the cost of living for both private and commercial tenants in the emirate of Dubai for the next three months.
As for utility bills, the Dubai Electricity and Water Administration (DEWA) also provided a 10 per cent discount on their services for the March billing period. besides, DEWA reduced the amount of guarantee deposits by 50 per cent.
Empower, the central air conditioning company in the emirate of Dubai, followed suit and also provided a 10 per cent discount on centralized cooling accounts for all categories of consumers over the next three months. Interested tenants will also receive a deferral of payments for water and electricity for six months. These measures will especially help hotels, serviced hotel apartments, shopping centers, shops and industrial enterprises.
On their part, banks, such as Emirates NBD, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates Islamic Bank, Mashreq and the Commercial Bank of Dubai, have also joined forces to help their customers, but in this case, on the contrary, most often offering support to landlords. In particular, property owners, who can no longer fulfill their loan obligations on property mortgages, since they haven’t received, or only partially received, their lease payments, are offered “mortgage holidays”, adjusted loan repayment plans and lower interest rates.
Besides, the management of most free zones also exempts their tenants from various registration fees, provides discounts and other bonuses. Real estate developers are doing the same for their off-plan buyers. More installments, discounts and incentives are available today for almost all categories of real estate tenants and buyers in Dubai, affected by the crisis associated with the pandemic, restrictions and stopping the business.
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