Need for rental pacts at checkpoints too

MUSCAT: Tenancy agreement assumes importance with the denial of entry at checkpoints to people who failed to prove their place of residence amid coronavirus lockdown.

Several people who were eligible to travel to their workplaces were stranded at the checkpoints in the Wilayat of Muttrah as they did not have rental agreement. Along with other mandatory documents, a copy of the agreement is a must to prove the place of residence to cross the checkpoints.

Even though the authorities insisted on work from home, exemptions are given to employees in certain professions whose presence is required at the place of work.

“Despite having the necessary documents like letter from my company and resident card, I was not allowed to enter Ruwi as I did not have building contract with me,” said Muhassin Mohammed, a medical salesman who is living in Ruwi. He said he was able to go Seeb with his employer’s letter and other documents. And there was no query about the building contract. “On my return, I was asked to show copy of the rental agreement to cross the checkpoint.”

The checkpoints in the Wilayat of Muttrah following its isolation on April 1 are manned by the defence personnel in association with the Royal Oman Police.

Anil Kumar, who works in a food manufacturing unit in Rusayil, too, had the same tale to narrate. “I was denied entry into Darsait where I am living as I did not have the building contract”.

Despite repeated warnings from Muscat Municipality, some real estate owners and landlords in collusion with tenants continue to shun registration of the tenancy agreements.

Commenting on the issue, an official at the municipality said, “This is one among the many rights and facilities that tenants would lose if they do not sign the agreements with the landlords and register at the municipality”. According to him, some real estate owners and tenants refuse rental agreements to evade the five per cent of rent fees payable to the municipality.

Recently, ROP had made tenancy agreement mandatory for renewal of resident cards for expatriates.

In the event the landlord fails to register the lease agreement within a period of one month from the date of signing the lease agreement, the tenant may do so within the specified period, the municipality official said.