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Youngsters and students struggle to find affordable housing in Muscat

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Muscat: The college and university students in the capital, Muscat, are facing difficulties in finding suitable and affordable accommodation. The matter is not limited to students but also unmarried single men and women who stay away from their home towns for work.

It has been noted that generally a student has to shell out RO 60 and above per person for a modest apartment on a sharing basis in places such as Al Khoudh and it may go up in more convenient and upmarket locations.

Most youngsters rent out a full flat and share the rent with their friends or flatmates.

"I have a friend who has a room with friends in a villa with limited kitchen facilities and he has to shell out around RO 50 from his side. Even this accommodation, he found it difficult to get as the owner had some reservations giving out to students," said one tenant.

Speaking to the Observer, an executive of a property brokerage firm admitted difficulties in renting out flats to youngsters as it generally drives away our clients with families. "Due to these factors, there is limited space available for students, especially near workplaces and educational institutions, which leads to an unjustified rate surge."

Saif al Kaabi, a student, spoke about the importance of having organisations or groups to protect the rights of students. He suggested that universities or local authorities should assist students in finding affordable housing by setting a maximum rent limit. This is because students often have limited income that cannot cover high housing costs.

"Such services would be beneficial for students. Another problem faced by students or single working youngsters is the unwillingness of the owners to rent it out to them for some obvious reasons," he said.

Salim, a building owner in Al Khuwair, said, "The youth have their own lifestyle such as bringing friends to homes, entertainment, and moving around in crowds, which sometimes can disturb or cause inconvenience to their neighbours. We cannot blame them, but we have to take into account the concerns of our clients."

According to industry sources, the most viable option will be to develop decent hostels, for students near their educational institutions.

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